Here is a very rough and incomplete draft of my project proposal:
Diet changes among Tibetan refugees in McLeod Ganj, India and its perceived effect on culture preservation
A Field Study Proposal
Statement of Intent:
I want to study how the diet of Tibetan refugees has changed since their translocation to India and how they perceive this change has affected their culture.
I hope that through this field study experience I can gain a further understanding of a culture that is not my own. I have had a very small experience with a culture that is not my own when I moved to Utah from Alabama to attend Brigham Young University. I came from a very small town with an almost nonexistent Mormon population and moved to dorm full of people I didn’t know from all over the country and they were all Mormon. They all seemed more experienced than I was and from bigger places. I had to learn to understand the culture of college, particularly an immensely Mormon college. This understanding came by meeting these people and learning about them. I took classes with them and hung out with them and went to church with them and even lived with a few of them. All these experiences helped me understand them and accept them. I’m hoping that this field study can help me better appreciate the tactics I used to understand the Mormon college culture. I also hope that it can help me to continue to understand and accept it as I finish college.
I believe that I will gain many benefits from a field study centered on cultural immersion. To begin with, I will learn to understand different people and learn how to interact/live with them. I want to learn all about their culture
This is not going to be a scientific study. It very easily could be, but I won’t have to proper tools to conduct it as one. Instead I’m going to be asking more cultural questions. I want to ask questions about how their diet seems to be affecting their culture.
I plan on entering the community by living with a host family. This host family will be set up for me by our field facilitator and they are who I will be living with over the 90 days I’m in India.
I want to represent the Tibetan refugees who live in McLeod Ganj, India. I specifically want to focus in Tibetans who were born and lived in Tibet for a period of time before relocating to India. I think they will better be able to tell me the kinds of food that are native to Tibet. They will also know how easy or hard it is to find native Tibetan foods in McLeod Ganj.
I’m not very sure how I’m going to recruit people to work with me. Maybe my host family will introduce me to people. Maybe I’ll volunteer somewhere and I can meet people that way.
I want to conduct a lot of casual interviews. In these interviews I hope to ask people what kinds of food they ate while they lived in Tibet. I will have them free list as many foods as they can think of while giving descriptions for more complicated foods. Then I will ask them where they got their food in Tibet and what foods were every day foods versus ceremonial foods. I may ask them what foods were their favorites. Next, I will ask them what foods they eat now that they live in India and how they get these foods. I will ask them what foods they eat every day versus ceremonial foods. I will ask them if they like Indian foods. If they have children I will ask them what kinds of food their children like and if their children’s likes influence what foods they eat as a family.
Ethics and Approval
While I’m conducting these interviews I will take notes. In these notes I will keep all my information confidential and private. I will try to find a way to keep my notes in a safe place so no one else will be able to take advantage of them.
I will create a consent form for people to read and sign so that I can ask their permission and prevent coercion.
Preliminary Plans for Post-field Application
At the moment I plan on taking a post-field writing class so I can write project in a professional manner. I don’t plan on publishing anything, but I may change my mind if the opportunity presents itself.
Qualifications and Limitations
I am a dietetics student at Brigham Young University. I have taken many classes on nutrition and have a firm knowledge of what people need to eat in order to stay healthy. I’ve also learned how to conduct a 24-hr recall and analyze it to see if people are meeting nutrient requirements. If they are not meeting these requirements, I know how to plan meals for them so that they can meet them. I know I won’t be analyzing anyone’s nutrient intake while I’m in the field, but this skill for analyzing can help me a lot. I know how to talk with someone about what they’ve eaten in one day in order to find out everything. I can describe food in correct portion sizes so I can know a good estimate of how much food they ate. I’m very good at talking about food. I can follow along easily if someone is describing how to make a certain food. I know what related questions to ask in order to get needed information about a recipe or food product.