RPP #9: End of Term Mentor Meeting

I met with Prof. Matlon on Friday,  Dec 6th at 10 am via Skype. The meeting was about 40 minutes long as we discussed next steps, my chosen methodology rationale and reflecting on the past semester.

First, we discussed some of the apprehensions I’ve been having with drafting and organizing my Final Narrative in terms of making ‘final’ decisions especially in regards to choosing a small-n methodology. Prof. Matlon was able to reassure me, yet again, that the research and topic I am pursing will likely change and that these decisions are laying grounds for next semester but should in no way seem ‘final’ or have to be perfect.

Then we discussed my literature review and methodology. Prof. Matlon was able to provide additional/ supplemental literature that may be helpful in rounding out my conceptual buckets but also making sure that the literature and theory continues to connect to methodology.  Then we were able to delve deeper into my rationale and work out the logic and justification that I want to emphasize in my choice for small n in explaining women’s constraints in political context and state’s policy toward son preference. Touching upon what is necessary in a designing but also in a methodological mindset creating this “black box” for my choices.

In the concluding part of our meeting, I mentioned next steps and that for next semester I was considering conducting research of my own such as survey questionnaires that would require human subjects. Prof. Matlon had agreed that this type of research could be interesting but emphasized caution.  She mentioned that given the tool box and knowledge we are given as  undergraduate researchers  that there are inherent limitations and that in becoming involved with subjects there could possibility of enacting forms of harm and injustice if not conducted properly so these will be things that I will have to heavily weigh and consider moving forward.

Prof.Matlon mentioned her own hesitation in being able to conduct with human subjects and to do so in a manner that may be damaging or harmful to the subject themselves because of my own lack of experience and the sensitivity of son preference. This will require preparation and something to again heavily consider and discuss in the future with bot Dr. Boesenecker and Dr. Esser as well as more research into IRB and the very procedures that would be necessary.

In conclusion, this meeting was a good evalution of next steps and a reflection on this past semester, in regards to my own evolution during this semester as a researcher and starting to take ownership in my research an continue to be flexible. Although this past semester has been challenging, the work with my mentor and the evolution of my research has made this year worthwhile and I look forward to see how I continue to grow and push myself in producing work that I will be proud of.