Saturday, November 24, 2012

Assumptions in research

I'm discovering the joys of research, particularly when it comes to assumptions getting crushed, leading to more research.

My example: I've been doing research on masks in North American arctic-Inuit culture. In my earlier research it's easy to see information that says about Inuit being around since 5000 BCE or more. Well, as I discovered, there were peoples earlier than that-but they weren't called Inuit. Enter the Dorset and Thule, two different cultures that chronologically predated the Inuit. Seems that the Dorset are founded back to around 2000 BCE or later. And even in their legends, they refer to another people who they said they pushed out the area-though apparently they are more legend, and not a lot of scientific basis yet.

So, what now? Well now I get to pretty much chew up my chonology of Inuit and work on the Thule and Dorset cultures as they pertain to their masks, and seeing what I can find out. At first I was understandably frustrated, but then I looked at it as a way of just having more information on the culture and timeline in question, which is turn will lead to more information-so really it's all good.

Hopefully the Dorset and Thule culture research gives me some good information to work with.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Research "Block"

Consider this my first "official" entry into my thoughts on research, and the ups and downs of it. I find myself hitting the "research block" as it were with my current mindset. In this case its a mental one-and it comes back to a question that sometimes comes up: why are you doing this?

This though comes up every so often, as I am doing the writing and research for my own interest; and because the area of interest-masks-may not be among the top research items that people do, particularly when it comes to its history, as I've said before-it's a akin to search for puzzle pieces in a field full of random puzzle pieces. There's a lot of searching and scouring to find stuff that I can use. And because it can get labor intensive, the "why am I doing this" will resurface, and it pulls me back into blockage.

So how does one get past this "research block"? This isn't like I've got a deadline to meet, or that I'm being paid to do this (I only wish!). It's purely for my own interest, and maybe I can get a book published about it down the road if I'm that fortunate. I am sure it doesn't help that while there are people with interests in masks out there, my interest, the anthropology both historic and modern, not a lot of people are into that part of it. I do keep searching though, for the history aspect and people who might follow it.

So how do I come out of these blockages? Often it's just time: taking a walk, or taking things in another direction, or just not thinking about it for a while. Sometimes however it can take a while to "get back to it" when taking a break-and that requires some serious mental discipline.

So here's to taking some time for now to see if I can unclog the blockage.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Clearing cobwebs (again)

It seems like the past couple of times I tried this, I lost track of the blog. Going to see I can stick with it this time. Going to expand a bit too-before the site was just an online scratch book for my research. Going to try and expand on talking about what research I'm doing at any given time, and just observations on the project as I go along, and what doing research on such a wide subject of masks entails. Hope it works out!