Katherine Olsson

SIS Olson Scholars

Research Portfolio Post #9: Mentor Meeting

I met with my mentor: Professor Anthony Fontes, again in order to discuss the progress of my research project. We met on Thursday, December 6th, 2018 for just over half an hour. Since our initial meeting at the beginning of the semester, my project has changed substantially. The general focus of my puzzle has shifted in order to focus solely on political stability, and my research questions has significantly changed. I am now focusing solely on a modern event as opposed to including the influences of historical events. I have also shifted from a small-n case study path, to interpretivist methodology and pursuing discourse analysis.

Moving forward, I need to plan in advance. I believe that I may need to go through the IRB process because I plan to use interviews as supplemental information. Additionally, I am hoping to be able to use contacts within the country in order to be able to assist in finding primary sources that are the most relevant to the current situation. Both of these aspects could potentially require me to complete the IRB process, and as such, I intend to begin that over winter break. Additionally, as I have suddenly shifted the focus of my research, I intend to continue with large quantities of supplemental research in order to have a stronger foundation of knowledge for my research next semester. This will primarily focus on 3 aspects: background information, the hero discourse, and the villain discourse. In order to contribute to my general background information I will read any and all relevant news sources and published articles that I can find. For the hero discourse, I plan to examine government propaganda and the primary sources that were influential in it’s creation. For the villain discourse, I will focus on media which presents those opinions and the reasons for the civil unrest from the perspective of the anti-Ortega groups. Beyond that, I will also do research on the official American anti-Ortega discourses which have been present since his election. This will contribute to my literature review as well because that is one component of it. Doing this reading, along with general reading, will help in further reviewing and rewriting my literature review.

Looking forward towards 306, my questions mostly have to do with the process of conducting the research. I have an understanding of my methodology: discourse analysis, however, in relation to the mechanics of 306, I look forward to understanding the way that the course will function. Additionally, my main concern is about the fact that the event on which I am focusing my research is still ongoing. This means that I will have to remain up-to-date on the information that is relevant to the situation and potentially change my research in response to what is going on. Finally, my concern is that I might have difficulty with finding enough sources in the counter discourse (the villain identity), because of the fact that it has been somewhat suppressed by the government.

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