Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Anyway, mine can't be. Which (as usual!) turns out to be just fine as I now have settled on phenomenology as a framework, using case studies to gather my data. This is actually a whole lot better and I have since heard from other people, whose opinions I trust, that case studies can be a method, but are best left as a data gathering technique. I had looked a phenomenology a bit before, thinking that it would fit quite well, but the philosophy and all those dead German men that wrote about it put me right off. I was being intellectually lazy too. Some of the writing about it is totally impenetrable twaddle designed to show off the author's brain power rather than to communicate anything useful. But, having delved deeper, some of the writing about it is quite plain and practical and it is these writings that have made me feel comfortable with the framework and its concepts.
So, phenomenology it is! I can almost spell it too, now. In the interests of staying positive:
People stress about 'getting ethics', but I have found the process fascinating, rewarding and thoroughly enjoyable. I got to go to an Ethics Workshop run by the university. There was an academic there who asked the presenter, who is a lovely man from the University Ethics C'tee, for a "cost/benefit analysis" of getting through the ethics process. Seriously. I kid you not. The lovely presenter said the benefits are you get to keep your job, dickhead. The dickhead was implied. The academic said that he told his research students not to bother 'getting ethics' as it was too slow a process and they never do any harm when they are researching anyway. He actually said that to the ethics guy. Sheesh. Personally, I don't want to do ANYTHING without ethics approval. If anything did go wrong, it would fall directly on my head and my supervisors' heads. Not fair to them and not something I want to be in the thick of, thankyou very much.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Here is the document that I sent my SUPERvisors with my thoughts on undertaking a case study research framework. I addressed the issue against a description of case studies in a research methods text book that I had been reading and tried to match what the book said to my project:
Research Framework Thoughts
My SUPERvisors liked it and felt that it was a good fit!!! Hooray. So, case study is the methodology for me.
I think this is more than an inch along the corridor. I think this is a big step.
Monday, March 3, 2014
I had to submit a two page summary of my topic to give them all background to my interests and plans. This is what I wrote:
Prison Libraries – Jane Garner
The questions came from the convenor. Since writing this, I have been over it with my supervisors and can see many of its weaknesses. I have been working on finding data to back up the assumptions that I have made in the summary.
I am feeling a little nervous about the session, but it is a wonderful opportunity to pick the brains of some really clever and experienced people.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
We worked out that I should focus on three strands of library use:
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Lyn has asked me to present my topic for the next meeting in March as a design example for the group to work through and give me advice. What a fantastic opportunity. I can't believe my luck to have such input from some really cluey and experienced people so early in my work. I am feeling slightly uncomfortable with it though as I feel like I am going behind the backs of my supervisors. I really have no idea if this is a valid impression or not, so I am going to ask them if it is OK with them if I proceed with the activity. I hope so, but am fully willing to forgo the opportunity if PM or SR want me to. They have to be happy with everything I am doing. This is important to me.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Well, she did! Very nicely too. Maybe one day I will visit her! That would be fun.
Spend to day reading on the topic to help refine my ideas of what I want to focus on.
I have a meeting with PM on Wednesday and I feel anxious that I won't have done enough.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
This is a book that I have ordered on ILL:
And this is a review/summary of the book that I found interesting: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=30357
In reading today, I have been attracted to the ideas of how reading for recreation can benefit prisoners, in ways beyond the obvious time filling factor. There is something transformative about reading, fiction and auto/biographies in particular that can benefit prisoners. This is a line of discovery I could follow. My concern with this is that this topic may be about books and reading, and not about libraries.
An alternate idea that came up today in my reading that could be interesting is the idea of the value placed on the library by the prisoners. Several things I read to day talked about how the library in a prison was seen by the inmates as a sanctuary and neutral space, a safe place and the only place in the prison that provided an 'escape', comfort and the opportunity for some autonomous activity - reading and choosing the direction of the reading. This is interesting too and could have a topic in it somewhere.
I think a question I need to ask my supervisor relates to whether a thesis about the value placed on reading outside of education and legal needs can be a 'library thesis'? I think this is the line of enquiry that interests me most at the moment.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Today I have done the following:
- Chosen a referencing software: Endnote
- Downloaded Endnote
- Downloaded a citation style from my institution library for my department
- Read two articles
- Found references to 7 more articles that I would like to read
- Entered each of the ones I want to read and those that I have into Endnote
- Marked each reference as 'read' or 'unread' so I can sort the library and make a reading list for myself
- Done some database searching to see if anyone is working on my topic - nothing so far (good thing)
- Checked out the Thesis Whisperer blog
- Had a nap
- Walked the dog
- Returned an overdue library book
- Wrote up this blog.
- Explore the experiences of prisoners reading fiction - the role that reading of fiction plays in their lives.
- Explore the responses to libraries by prisoners
- What value do they place on them
- To what extent are they used
- How are they used
- What role do they play in the life of prisoners
- The transformative experience of reading fiction (see Sweeney's article 2008, Peschers 2011 in particular). If I was to follow this line, which seems to interest me the most, how do I make this a 'library' thesis, not a thesis about reading?
- Do our prison libraries restrict access to any reading materials?
- Are there examples of censorship?
- Maybe not just recreational reading. Sweeney's "The Story Within Us" mentions a prisoner who says she values self-esteem books and parenting books to help her when she is released to be a better parent and to help with her views of herself.
- Has access to a library, either within an institution or via a public library extension program, had a positive impact on the lives of prisoners/ex prisoners
- Has access to a library, either within an institution or via a public library extension program, assisted in offenders achieving their goals?
- Read the books PM gave me
- Check that no one else is working on, or has researched my topic
- Read some other PhD theses to get a good idea of what is involved
- Read around my topic to help me refine my research questions
- Read about 'action research' and see if I think it would be an appropriate research theory to work with.
- Decide what referencing software to use. Either Mandelay or Endnote, I think.
- Organise a desk/student card/ access and photocopy card.
Monday, January 27, 2014
If you are reading, thanks for keeping an eye on me!
If Eddie can do it, I can too. I might have to work a bit harder than he did though!