Tuesday, June 04, 2013

First data collection outing

Yesterday, I made my first thesis research-related visit to a university in the UAE. I conducted some interviews and administered some questionnaires. It was nerve-wracking and thrilling and a relief to get done, all at once. Now I feel more prepared for the visits I will make to other universities in the weeks to come, for further data collection.

Of course, all that data collection yesterday meant I spent the bulk of today transcribing and double-checking and entering numbers from the student questionnaires onto a spreadsheet. Do you know what is really challenging? Transcribing interviews with Scottish and Irish people, who made up the bulk of my instructor interviews yesterday. My 115 WPM, 99% accuracy mad typing skillz were no match for their accents. Their lovely, lovely accents that I adore under normal circumstances. But 16 pages and 10,000 words later, I think I got it all down, even if there are a few breaks in the text where "????" is the best guess I could come up with. (To be fair, I also came across a few moments where I think they didn't understand my accent.)

The best part of yesterday was getting out once again and visiting a new place that I wouldn't normally have cause to, and meeting neat people who I normally wouldn't know existed, like when I got to go to the central Sharjah police station or the Sharjah Police Academy, also for MA research. I met some really interesting people at the university yesterday, including three women who, among them, had over 60 years of teaching experience in the UAE. SIXTY YEARS. Almost during the interviews they persuaded me to change tack, abandon my actual interview questions, and beg, "just tell me about your life here in 1978, because, woah."

The student side of data collection is going well so far, too, though I hope to get them to open up a little more to me on future visits. However, I am looking forward to more WTH answers on questionnaires like the one I got yesterday:

Short-answer question on student questionnaire: "In your opinion, what does your teacher think about your culture?"
Student answer: "Sometimes."

OK, then!


Liz Johnson said...

Maybe they thought you asked "when does your teacher think about your culture?" I don't know. But I love the existential aspect of "sometimes." Hahahahahahaha.

Crys said...

I transcribed for a professor while Jason was in med school and I always charged him double for accents, outside, or resteraunts. Accents are lovely until you have 2 1/2 hours of transcribing to do :). Accents in a busy coffee house...I charged triple ;)


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