A little bit about the dissertation…

17 Feb

The Kumbha Mela pilgrimage interrupted my fieldwork by a week, and as usual, that meant I had to re-gather my guts to pick up the phone and make calls to fix more fieldwork appointments. I spent the last week procrastinating, vegetating (and Agatha Christie reading) and gut picking. This finally resulted in me putting on my big girl pants today, calling and scheduling appointments through the next week.

I love my fieldwork. But I lack confidence and calling strangers on the phone has never been one of my favourite things to do. So right through the research period I’ve had to push myself to sit with the list and make a bunch of calls in the beginning of the week.

Once that is done, the rest is good fun. I have loved the experience of the interviews (most of them) and the more the people I spoke to, the more I started to get a hang of these semi-structured interviews/conversations. But if there is a break in this cycle of call-fix interviews-carry out interviews-rinse and repeat, as has occurred atleast thrice in the past half year, then it’s a challenge to pick up the phone again.

When I originally thought out my fieldwork, I had made what I thought was a fantastic, achievable schedule. I had about 36 unions to interview, and I thought I could easily manage that in a month. HAHAHA! is my reaction to that now. Even if I wouldn’t have had phone issues and the issues of battling my mind and confidence, even if I would have been a robotic interviewing machine, this schedule would have been impossible. I didn’t realise that sometimes people would give me appointments far away from the date of the call, that they might need to cancel more than once for unexpected situations and that I would need time to mentally and physically process the conversations myself and need to pace myself out. So no, it’s been not a month, more like six months (with writing and stressing periods thrown in :P) and I’ve had to edit the original scope of fieldwork.

Today’s calls bring to an end the edited list of people I wanted to speak to. That leaves me strangely disappointed. It feels like the end of something (which it is!) and I feel sad that I do not have more unions to speak to. But this is an MPhil dissertation, not a PhD one. I WILL need to stop fieldwork at some point and decide to go with what I have. And it seems, that point is very, very near.

This brings an aura of finality over the entire project somehow. I have to convert the conversations I have into a dissertation! For the first time since I began I finally feel that I can do this. That is progress! But I am nervous nonetheless: this is the last stretch of the 2 year programme!

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2 Responses to “A little bit about the dissertation…”

  1. countingducks February 18, 2013 at 11:10 pm #

    I know its a bit sad to finish part of the process, but starting work on the dissertation will be very rewarding I’m sure

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