Testut–Research Task 1

I am still trying to figure out where exactly I am and where I’m going with my research.  My proposal last semester was on sex workers in Burma, specifically looking at what causes these women to turn to sex work and some physical and mental obstacles they have to deal with.  After completing the proposal, I felt as though the research had been exhausted on the topic and there wasn’t really anything left for me to add.  I began our travel with the intent to find something else I could do my research on instead.

After talking with Kutaiba- Kasem Alarab in Morocco, I decided that I wanted to look at his peace proposal.  I was going to study the proposal and critique.  I realize now that I significantly overestimated my abilities because I am not going to be able to solve the Syrian conflict in one semester; not to mention the proposal is in Arabic.  I had decided on this project in Morocco so I ended up not considering too many more options while we were traveling or doing any research.  I had a slight crisis last week when I realized I didn’t know what I was going to do but knew I didn’t have enough time to completely change my project.

I met with Shelby and am now back on track with only a slightly revised research question.  Rather than studying why individuals in Burma are pushed into sex work, I am instead going to begin focusing on the rhetoric they use to share their stories.  I am taking Rhetorical Tradition this semester and the professor has already agreed to help me analyze the narratives.  This revision of my original topic allows me to keep all of the background information that I have—including the literature review—and simply change the body of the paper.

My biggest obstacle right now is finding the narratives.  I have some excerpts that have been used by other researchers but no full narratives of the sex workers telling their stories.  I ordered a book from Amazon—probably the only book that the library doesn’t seem to have—called Nowhere to Be Home: Narratives From Survivors of Burma’s Military Regime (Voice of Witness).  I should have it by Friday (yay Amazon Prime), which will give me the weekend to look through it and hopefully find a few useful narratives, supplementing others with database searches.

I think that once I find these narratives I should be on a good track for the rest of the semester—especially with the help of my COMM professor.

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