Last month I flew out to Philadelphia to present some of my research from my Ph.D. dissertation to my community of practice. It was the first time back after getting hooded last May. I was a “real” Ph.D. this time, presenting original research that didn’t quite make it into the diss for a variety of uninteresting (but apparently quite common) reasons: too much data, too little time, too many intriguing inquiries, and too little energy. But none of these reasons have made me any less fascinated with those ethnographic field notes. So, I wrote a proposal. The juried paper was accepted, I caught a plane East. And I presented. Here was a chance to return to what I call “my shadow dissertation”: a chance to revisit the raw and render.
Was it perfect? That’s the less interesting question. Did it generate conversation? Yes.
ALISE 2014 YA Info Behavior of Entrepreneurship Comstock
It’s like returning to a childhood toy box: favorite toys delight and thrill. As I review field notes, images, and transcripts, I grow more excited. What is emerging is a distinct, living picture of young adult entrepreneurial information behavior: a deep ethnography of even deeper meaning than I had intended. What began as detailing everyday life information seeking (ELIS) of a teen’s online business, is also a critique of ethnography: a meta-reflection, an auto-ethnography of ethnography.
Furthermore: the daily life of a teen in a world immersed in building an online world around Lego is even more tempting to me because of this core belief in the power of play, narrative, story.
When I presented in late January, a scholar who’s work I cited–someone whose opinion and thoughtful probing meant to me that I have found something “worth” reflection–discussed the possibilities of what a book on Lego, teen entrepreneurship, critical literacies, ethnography, and ELIS might mean to the larger LIS community. She had no idea that her response was all the permission I needed to let my imagination linger in Lego-ethnographic possibility.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
So, I think it’s time to move forward on this.
It’s time to write.
Do a data deep dive.