not quite undergrad, not quite grad, but feeling a research binge
December 21, 2011 8:44 PM Subscribe
How do I turn my current (quite positive) experience with community work into (a) anthropological research pre-grad or (b) non-fiction writing? Or, how do you conduct research outside of the academy?
I've spent the last couple months in the throes of the anthropology grad school application process. It's over, and now I'm returning to focus on my great community service gig. As a compulsive contingency plan designer, however, I'm hard at work figuring out what will happen if I don't get accepted this year.
One thing I've realized, with some reflection, is that there's a great story to tell with the issue on which I'm working. Specifically, the current literature on the issue could benefit from sustained analysis of local communities, interviews with recent immigrants and families, and a closer historical case-study. I could conceivably partner with my program to set up a long-term research project.
I see two possible ways I could design this: (1) as a research project that I could craft into a research paper, ideally for a publication attempt before I try to apply for my phd program again, and (2) as a project that I could attempt to write about as a journalist, or even in book form. This might be getting ahead of myself, but I think there's something there, perhaps. I spoke to my program director and he indicated he would be receptive of some kind of research project.
How might I go about proposing and designing this kind of research project? I know, for example, that I could find an independent IRB. I have close contacts from my school's anthropology department that would at least review my materials, if not flat-out advise an alum. I could apply for grant funding, or simply do some project design and wait until I'm accepted? This brand of research is a little bit of a departure from what I just applied to schools with (not wholly dissimilar but a different focus for sure) -- however, I like the idea of letting some new energy carry me through a project like this, and just kind of going with whatever results from it.
Any thoughts about this project would be wonderful! Thank you