July 9, 2014

Feeling AWESOME Today

Today is an amazingly wonderful day! I am so excited about my ethnography project, and I am feeling positive that my research is going to be well-received. I cannot tell you how worried I was about this study. I have never done a cultural study before, and while I am comfortable with writing narrative (personal history), I didn't think I would enjoy the process of personal interviews and observation. I am more comfortable writing analytical style papers, observing textual inference, and then drawing conclusions about what authors state in academic papers. This is my foray, this is where I love to work, and this is the kind of writing that suits me well.

So when my COM 703 class required a cultural study, I balked at the thought of it, thinking it was too far outside my comfort zone. Most of my colleagues are journalism professionals, and interviews and personal observation are what they do best. I felt out of my league, overwhelmed, and inadequate for the task. I also worried about my grade (again with the grades -- I know!) because I had heard that this Professor is difficult to please. He has very high standards for writing in this genre, and he expects us to follow the guidelines for this type of research to-the-tee!

Truthfully, I have put off starting this project until now. I mean, when I left Regent on June 13, I had already received approval on my project proposal. I was "ready to go." I did have two projects to complete, one an organizational report and the other a scholarly proposal, but it wasn't as if I was working full-time. I am off school (work) for the summer, so technically, I have a LOT of free time on my hands.

I completed those other projects first, and then I rested (really rested). It was good to have a break, I know, but at the same time, the weight of this project has been heavy on my shoulders. I have to have it finished by August 1, and here it is July 9, and I am just getting it started. OK, so I do work best in crunch mode, but that is when I control all the details, when I am in charge of the research process. In this project, I am meeting with individuals to discuss their experience of church in crisis mode. I have to schedule interviews, meet with people, take field notes, type up those notes, and THEN begin the research process.

The good thing is that I have officially started the interview phase of the project. I met with a couple from my church last night, and I had a great conversation with them. I am so glad that they consented to meet with me first because they are easy people to talk to and they are open, are honest, and are insightful when it comes to answering deep questions. I learned a lot through my time with them.

Today, I am going to a Mom's group that meets at one of our local McDonald's. I am hoping to interview two people, maybe three, this morning. I have another interview (phone) scheduled for this afternoon. Then tomorrow, I have one scheduled as well. Next week, I have my last interview, which should bring my total up to 10 people (Lord, willing). I have scheduled my parents in as a last resort, just in case I need an extra two people to bump my total up. My professor wants me to interview as many people as I can, but since our church is so small now, it is not like I have a large pool of candidates at my disposal.

I am thinking of creating a survey with follow up interviews for another date. I am thinking of doing a survey where I ask people from different churches about their experiences. I am thinking I could do a mixed methods study and really look at a wider demographic. I may do this study next summer, we will see.

Today is a good day. I am praising God for His blessing on my life. Not only has He provided Regent University to me and this doctoral program specifically, but He has given me His grace to do this level of work, and to do it well. I have grown through these courses, and I have learned so much that I feel will be practical, of good use, to the Church of God. I am excited to start each class, and while I struggle at times (and, yes, I do complain about the workload), I love to finish strong. I love to see my grades post, and to know that I have completed another requirement for my degree.

God is so good to me.

I was worried about this project, and I was worried about the process involved -- yet -- He calmed the storm of worry and doubt inside of me -- and He gave me His grace to do what needed to be done. I am blessed, royally blessed, and I give Him all the credit due His GOOD NAME this day. God is good, so very good. I praise His Name and I worship Him with my whole heart today. He is good, He is good, He is good.


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