Wednesday, April 18, 2007

dissertation prospectus, baby!

ahh … a first draft of my prospectus is off! i’m not going to make it out like it was a grueling ordeal b/c, really, i’ve been composing this project for a while. in terms of hours at the keyboard – i’d say that altogether it wasn’t anything more than four dedicated hours. in fact, one of the things i’ve noticed about writing for my dissertation is that the text comes relatively easily. in part this is b/c of how much this research is “mine” and in part b/c i have quite a few notes that i’ve been taking from/about various texts for a year or two now. io, depending on how you calculate “hours at the board,” i’ve either been composing for four hours or two+ years…

below is a first draft of the abstract. the research question, the question that will guide data collection is: “How do student-athletes think about and enact literacy?”

next: onto IRBing

My dissertation will explore the reading and composing of a select group of male student-athletes at a Division II liberal arts university in the South via ethnography with the intent of gaining insights into the role of the body in acts and practices of literacy in both mind-dominant and body-dominant domains of learning/performing. The research question guiding my observations, interviews and other data collection is: How do student-athletes think about and enact literacy?

Chapter 1 of the dissertation will establish a framework for the larger study by providing a review of relevant Comp/Rhet and Literacy Studies research. While there exists an extensive amount of literature on the relationship between reading/composing and the effects of experiences based on embodiment and embodied identities, there is comparatively little on the role of the moving, “motor” body in reading/composing. This chapter will explicate this sliver of literature.

Chapter 2 will be an explication of the qualitative research methods of the study and will provide details of the (anonymous) subjects and settings from which the data will be collected.

Chapter 3 will “write up” the edited and synthesized data that will have been collected and coded. In short, this chapter will report the processed data.

Chapter 4 will be an analysis of the data.

The final chapter will consist primarily of a discussion of the data analysis and the implications. This chapter will situate the study and the findings in relationship to research and ongoing discussions in Comp/Rhet and Literacy studies literature.

cross-posted at Wind Farm


Meagan said...

It must feel good to have that draft handed in. Your project looks cool-- and I think the fact that you're already so specific about what you looking at will only benefit you as you go. It took me a long time to get my focus narrow enough.

Billie said...

Congrats, Chris! You have worked hard (I've been following the progress at WF), and the hard work has paid off. You have what seems to be a sufficiently narrowed idea. Will your committee keep you to the prospectus? Or, will you be able to veer off from it as you begin to write? In other words, how much leeway do you have after you get started?

chris said...

megan - though i'm just now getting an official prospectus together, i've been working on this project in various forms (i.e. via readings, a pilot study, and in my mind) for over 2 years now. the fact that i've already been playing with ideas and concepts has certainly helped. and, yes, it does feel good to hand over something concrete to my chair. now if i could just finish off the damn IRB forms!

will my committee keep me to my prospectus? eh. hard to say. though i'm pretty sure they won't. my chair has done this type of fieldwork a number of times himself (he has two books based on it), so he knows that though i have a specific question, ideas, hypotheses, etc the data collection process will, ultimately, drive the project.

so, in terms of leeway, i feel safe in assuming that i have all the room i need to play with. to be honest, though, it's hard for me to imagine veering away from my focus on reading and composing. of course, there's a dozen different ways to imagine writing up the data (depending on who i focus on and why). but. but first i have to get the data!

unfortunately, still no feedback. when it comes, i'll let you know.