In an attempt to cure my academic writer’s block, I have been reading books about how to structure a research project. I thought that if I understood the process better then I would be able free my mind from the self made prison and get some work done. When reading the chapter on design frames, I came across a section called “Scientist or Spy?” The section makes the claim that there are two camps for social scientists: the traditional scientist that runs experiments, quantifies data, and works in a lab (or basically, indoors). The other camp is the spy: the researcher who hides in bushes and observes people in their natural habitat. The spy is the one who blends in with crowd, talking to them, learning from them, and studying them as they are. The spy is out in the field, observing, listening, and learning.
Basically, the spy is the one who gets to have all of the fun.
That made me think, am I the scientist or the spy?
Right now, I am not feeling like very much of either. I am not the mad scientist type (crazy cat lady, that’s a different story), and right now I am no Harriet the Spy, with no cases to crack or mysteries to solve (plus hiding in bushes makes me itchy). Part of what is holding me up in the writing process lately is that I don’t have the answer to that question. My research for this project is keeping me at my desk, but the research I have been doing for the last couple years with the writing class has me in the field watching my students in their somewhat native habitat. There are aspects of both that I like. My desk based research is interesting because it allows me to form my own opinions about what I am reading, and the research that I am doing on the writing class allows me the freedom to try out different techniques and teaching styles to see what works and what doesn’t. I also get a chance to interact with my students and let them have a hand in helping shape curriculum that will ultimately affect them and their writing careers.
I’m staled in my writing about my methods and methodology because I haven’t figured out which one I am and why. I can’t write that I chose the structure of my project because it is easy and because I am in two grad programs at once, and I don’t want to make up some bullshit that isn’t true just to get to my word count. I got to 500 word today, but my goal is another 1000 by Sunday.
I have a feeling it is going to be a long weekend.
In the meantime, I will just look at these pictures over and over. They make me feel better about life.