Posted by: okathleen | January 9, 2009

Back on Track

So far this blog has acted mainly as a tool to hone my writing practice – well, more recently anyway. I have tried to write a few words everyday. This has been a useful exercise in that it is forcing me to think about words, I can look back and check for style and changes, progress or lack of. I can see what I liked and what I loathed.I am hoping the creative aspect of my Indy Study will benefit from this regular scribbling. Who knows.

Yet, the blog has not so far helped me focus down on my research. I am having a crisis of doing/direction/thought. My original idea, which was to observe the observer observing art/painting/photography, seems to have wandered off course to be replaced by a more self centred study to do with objects and collecting objects. My supervisor is aware of this, and has suggested writing about these items.

Why did I choose them, what are they about, what do they reflect in me?

Pearce (Interpreting Objects 1994) suggests collecting has meaning in relation to the following:

The self

Other people

Preservation, restoration, history and a sense of continuity

Financial investment


This addiction in the form of passion may, according to Pearce, resemble sexual excitement in the sublimation of anal-erotic impulses.

Read Ruth Formanek on ‘Why they collect: collectors reveal their motivations.’ She moves on from Freud to humans, not driven by sexual impulses, but immersed in a matrix of relationships with other people. She cites Wolf (1980):

“The motivation to collect may thus be viewed as partly arising out of the impulse to explore and seek contact with others, as well as representing a later development of early needs for close relationships with others.”


“For your own purposes, the ‘diary’ will also be an essential tool when you come to write up your report. Using a diary means that you have a comprehensive record of what research you did, how you did it, and the ways in which you have developed and learned during the research process. It will also make you aware of how your research findings may be affected by your starting position, what happened to you during the research (intellectually, emotionally, psychologically – both in- and outside the research project), and the impact that these things have had on your data collection and interpretation. It will also give you (and any external reader) an insight into the impact you had on the subject of the research (e.g. how things were altered by your (mere) presence in the research setting; what were the (un)reciprocal dynamics involved in your research process). A diary helps you avoid the kind of fabrication, or post-hoc rationalization of how things happened and the order in which they happened during the research.

If you are doing a study which is ethnographic in nature, a diary is considered an essential research tool; it is a direct record of your raw data. You may be required to present this raw data to support any of the arguments/conclusions that you make in the report. In addition, using a diary or notes in this case allows you to clearly locate yourself in the study and its context.”


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