Research Portfolio Post 9: End of Term Mentor Meeting

I met Professor Lauren Carruth in her office on the 3rd of December at 10 am for 20 minutes. During this meeting, Professor Carruth and I discussed the development of my research project since the beginning of the semester and discussed potential steps forward.

My puzzle and research question have completely changed since the beginning of the semester. Despite original intentions to look into the provision of care for victims of wartime sexual assault, I am now researching female political participation in Pakistan, both as candidates and voters, and am attempting to understand why, despite receiving political enfranchisement in 1956, Pakistani women continue to have lower turnouts year after year. I am considering using a small-n case study methodology as I believe it is the best way for me to understand both the general impact of suffrage on political participation and further look at if Pakistan deviates from the general model. 

As I am not dealing with human subjects, I do not believe that I have any advance planning other than strengthening my model and research question. In order to keep myself engaged, I want to continue reading about political suffrage and its impact, as well as read more sources, not only in English, but in Urdu as well. This will allow me to access a broader range of sources and information, which will aid my research significantly.

The questions that I have moving forward, for SISU-306, are:  

  1. i) I am still conflicted about whether I want to carry out small-n; what if I get to 306 and change my mind?
  2. ii) Would it be of value for me to reach out to people who have conducted research on this topic before and speak to them in order to better understanding of how they collect their data?

Research Portfolio Post 2: Mentor Meeting

I met with my mentor, Professor Lauren Carruth, on the 27th of August from 1240 to 1300. Over the course of our discussion, we spoke about a multitude of topics. We discussed the different potential routes my research could take and also discussed the existing literature in the field. 

We began with discussing the sub-topic areas within my large research area, which is wartime sexual assault. I mentioned that I wanted to present a comparative analysis of case studies. Professor Carruth suggested that I also consider concepts like the connection between low intensity conflict and political insecurity, the use of rape as a weapon of war, and further sexual violence and rape as public health issues. Other possible ideas include looking at sexual violence as an occupational hazard and focusing on the vulnerability of men in times of war, with a focus on Yemen and Afghanistan. Towards the end of our conversation, Professor Carruth recommended some other examples I could look at, like the Dadaab Refugee Complex in Kenya and the use of sexual violence in Darfur. Additionally, she suggested that I look at the work of Dyan Mazurana, a researcher who focuses on gender-based violence in conflict. 

My meeting with Professor Carruth provided significant clarity to my research process, which I am very grateful for. With her recommendations and ideas, I have continued to read more about my topic subject and have come across even more ways that my research could take. However, I still do have many concerns. While I am very interested in my research topic, I do worry that my lack of previous contextual knowledge will prove to be a problem, as I have discussed with Professor Carruth. My major concern with this is being able to truly narrow down on a research topic. Despite this, I am optimistic that I will figure this out as time passes this semester.

In the short term future, I hope to continue to read about the subject of my research and learn more about the topic. Additionally, I hope to gain some clarity about what direction I personally want to take with my research. I am also beginning to think about research methodology and do believe that my research paper could be a small-n research paper. Nonetheless, I think that I will be able to have more concrete plans and goals for my work as I continue to learn in SISU 206 and 306.