Qualitative field research seems more complicated than I ever realized. Mainly it focuses on social aspects. I’m used to scientific studies so learning to study social processes will be interesting. I’ll need to change my whole way of looking at things.
In my study, I think I’ll need to be an observer. I’m not sure if being a participant will be helpful. I’m going to be asking people what they eat on a daily basis. I’m not sure how I could be a participant in this study. I suppose eating the food with my host family could put me in the participant position, but I won’t be as much a participant as someone helping to make food decisions.
My study will incorporate a lot of exploration. I plan to explore a lot in McLeod Ganj. I hope to interview a lot of the Tibetan people while I’m there. I also plan on exploring the restaurants and markets to see what kinds of food are available there. When I write up my study I will include a description of what I discovered when I did all my explorations.
I am still looking for my “so what?” factor that will incorporate my explanation. I need to find a reason that makes studying the Tibetan refugees’ diet important. Perhaps they are eating more vegetables now that they are in India. Maybe eating more vegetables is making them less sick and improving their well being. I’m still working on this part of my study.
As for my methods of analysis, I hope to be doing a lot of interviews. In these interviews I plan to conduct a basic 24 hour recall (asking people what they ate on the previous day). I will formulate a list of other questions to ask in this interview as well.
My study still has a lot of work to do, but I’m looking forward to working on it.