Final Fall Mentor Meeting
Dean Gallaher and I met on December 5th for over an hour to ‘finalize’ the proposed research design methodology that I had settled on: a large-n approach with a focus on explaining variation in the uneven spatial patterns of eviction rates in Washington D.C.
Specifically, we spent time discussing the gentrification index that I will have to develop over the course of 306. Here she made two specific recommendations: first that the index be interval-ratio, as opposed to the possible to gentrify/gentrifying/gentrified labels other authors have created and, second, that the index be specific to the district. This second recommendation is particularly important when determining the inputs that go into creating the index. For instance, a similar index for San Francisco, because of the unique nature of gentrification in that city, might not include the percent decrease in the black population as part of an index while that factor will definitely be part of a D.C. specific interval.
Dean Gallaher also helped me plan out the next steps for moving forward into 306. One of my first tasks is attempting to get the full context for the data I have from the Office of the Tenant Advocate. What does the case number listed in my data mean? Is an internal filing system or does it refer to court cases where I might be able to find other records? Are all scheduled evictions carried out? And if not is there a record of that? All those questions are necessary to know what data I really have so far, and what conclusions I could draw from an explanation of them.
Finally, a question we talked about, but one that I also wanted to bring up in a broader context, has to do with of the scope of my project and the body of scholarship to which my research would belong. Am I entering a conversation with other scholars studying urban phenomena in Washington D.C.? Or am I entering a conversation with scholars who study eviction specifically (in cities/regions around the world)? I understand that those two conversations are not mutually exclusive, but it’s a question I do not have a good answer for, and I think having an answer for it would help me narrow my focus.