A New Methodology

I took a hot moment to look for these photos. I looked through my photos, Facebook photos, then back to my photos again. I posted this image onto my Facebook page on February 20, 2020. I had this conversation right before the pandemic. Can you believe that? It’s been more than 4-years ago and this image and conversation had a huge impact on me. It’s almost like I just finished “my degree” in figuring out my research agenda and program. Does that sound pathetic or heroic? Doesn’t matter. I have arrived. It took immense change and unravelling.

As I blog on February 29, 2024, Leap Year, everything that has happened since that conversation I had four-years ago (and then some) led to this very moment. Much like the first image, that’s how life (and my research agenda) had been. Moments or pieces that did not seem to quite fit together. At the time, I was also too busy trying not be be myself. That’s another blog post (which has probably popped up here and there already in my blog, but I’m more awake to it today). I don’t want to discredit any of these individual moments and research/writing opportunities. They are all valid and in their own way valuable. It’s funny to hear my write that statement… “all valuable”… because I’ve been “so lost” with my work that I did not value my own dissertation. It’s silly to say that out loud, but I am more motivated than ever to return to that work and continue investigating my doctoral research at the university.

Wow. It feels so different when I don’t feel like I have to impress (or please anyone) but myself. I get that now. I had a conversation a couple of years ago about being “selfish” and I never understood what that actually meant in the context of academia until recently. I feel more calmer, more confident, and more certain with the direction I want to take. I guess this is where “boundaries” come into play. It’s super difficult to create boundaries, thus make decisions, if you do not know what you value, what’s important to you, and what direction you are heading in. Hmm… I’ve been finding a lot of solace lately with life and work events. I don’t mean to separate the two worlds. They are both interconnected. I will say, I’ve had some catalytic and transformative conversations lately and reached a “tipping point” to move forward and take action.

One of those conversations happened this week, which interrelates to the one I had 2-years ago and 4-years ago. It’s been on my mind for quite some time and I’ve been wanting to find some resolution or clarity to the matter. These glass beads were meant to represent my research program. I have all of these different and wonderful things that I’ve been working on and been interested in, but there was no apparent thread that seemed to tie them together. From time to time, I tried to piece the beads together. It’s like puzzle pieces. You can’t force pieces to fit together. Then I had a wonderful conversation with a new colleague and I was talking about my family, recent experiences, and “the perfect curling shot.” She said I should consider AUTOETHNOGRAPHY as a methodology for research. I was so drawn to this idea that I looked it up the next day and started doodling. The premise of this methodology aligns well with “the perfect curling shot” but also with everything else (separately).

Everything seemed to fall into place (see image below) and the “perfect curling shot” is a counterexample to everything else. It’s the north star, shall we say, and I found a connection with the rest of the beads (and my life) by creating a research question that ties it all together. I just made sense to me, all of a sudden. I’ve found some peace and feel a lot of joy and wonder. I did it. Although I’m not going to disclose my research question quite yet, I will learn more about this methodology and write about the “perfect curling shot.” I love the idea of learning and understanding more about culture through the lens of our own experiences. I can see a very fulsome research agenda and program and I am stoked to delve in. Some of this delving involves reading and writing everyday. I can do that!! #leapyear2024