I love Excel… no seriously

This morning I am updating my makeshift database of contacts.  At the moment I am in (ir)regular contact with almost 60 possible interviewees with various pseudonyms, skype aliases, and e-mail names – who live all around the world.  I’m organising face to face interviews, skype interviews with time differences, e-mail conversations, and sending out surveys.  And then on top of that I have 33 online sources I want to refer to (oops, still need to add a list of online blogs… add that to the to do list!).

Without an excel spreadsheet I simply wouldnt be able to keep up to date! I did wonder how ethnographers did this before programmes and even digital notebooks existed.  But then I realised that mosts ethnographers lived in their villages.  I am trying to live ‘in’ a global village that is really a network of often anonymous individuals ideologically bound beyond time and space.  I’ve really given myself a difficult job but I wouldnt have it any other way 🙂

Although, studying a village somewhere sunny does have its appeal when the Cambridge rains keep on pouring!

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Looking back… Fieldwork Interviews and Noisy Neighbours

While the tiny Tazmanian Devil I live with sleeps I’ve just been quickly uploading the last interview I did to a safer location than my dictaphone.

One theme I notice with my interviews so far (a massive 5 done already! ummm… only another 35 to do according to my supervisor) is location.  Noisy coffee shops with inquisitive neighbours might not be all that ideal.

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However, its interesting to me that in considering the location for the Skype interviews I am scheduling I am very concerned about who will be able to overhear us… my husband at home, other grads at my college, should I book a private room at college, at my faculty? And yet I have a much more laissez-faire attitude to members of the public sharing our air-space.

I think its in part that I am feeding off of my interviewees’ attitudes.  They really dont mind if Joe Bloggs hears them discussing the 5th Dimensional protection that they recently received from Archangel Michael.  Because for many of them, they want others to know about the world changes, or the Ascension as some of them call it, that is taking place as we ALL start to operate at a higher vibrational frequency.  So while I might plan my Skype interviews ahead of time and dictate the space I am in, when its face to face, the space that they are in is mostly influenced by their message.  Something I need to bear in mind in my paper responding to the idea that being spiritual is to be overly individual and non-social in some way.  Everything they do is about spreading out their message, even if their original journey is inwards, inwards to find the authentic self.

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Inspired by Social Media Knowledge Exchange

After attending a two day conference held at CRASSH by the Social Media Knowledge Exchange  on issues and themes around the use of social media by institutions and individual academics, I’ve been inspired to use a blog to write up my PhD diary and to plan out some of things I am working on.  Partly backward looking, partly forward looking, this blog will be of interest (hopefully!) to:

  • Anyone doing a humanities PhD and using digital humanities methods
  • Anyone using social-anthropology/religious studies methods in their research project
  • And anyone who is interested in New Religious Movements, especially those online and using social media to form communities.

For the forward looking parts of the blog, I intend to write at least a post a day with my goals for that day, and another once a week covering what I hope to get done that week.  For the backward looking, I want to write up some of my fieldwork and research notes as I go in order to pull together a PhD diary that might help me when it comes to writing up my thesis.  Fingers Crossed!

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