Hi everyone! I’ll be posting three blogs for your edification this week, to tell you what I’ve been doing with my research, and how it’s been going. To start off, I thought I’d go into a bit of detail on the first steps of the research process: basically, how you take a research proposal, and translate it into an actual, workable thesis, and then into a polished, perfected final product.
This journey, from thesis to completed project, is not an easy one. It takes a lot of work, and sometimes I feel a bit like Sisyphus from Greek mythology-pushing a boulder up a hill, only to have it tumble back down after days of effort. However, I will say that research, for those who are interested, remains a worthwhile endeavor, and the act of completing a research project teaches you a lot about organization, editing, and other skills necessary to succeed in any academic field. (plus its fun!).
Therefore, without further ado, here are some of the basic steps you need to follow when completing your project, and how I am utilizing these steps to complete my own project.
Step 1: From proposal to thesis: This is likely one of the more difficult steps in the research process. Usually, when an individual comes up with a research proposal, it tends to set up the parameters of the research, but does not actually specify what you wish to prove in the research project. For example, when I began my project, I knew I wanted to research the role of women in teen vampire culture, and how teen vampire culture reflected and mediated female desires. I also knew I wanted to cover both Buffy and Twilight. But until I became involved in the research, and had looked through a set of research material, I was not exactly sure how long each section would be, and what information I would include in each section. Until you’ve done some actual research, and outlined the info. you want to cover, it’s impossible to know exactly what you will include in each section of the project. My original outline, which put most of the emphasis on Twilight, underwent extensive reconfiguration, when I decided to condense several of the Twilight parts: the emphasis on male objectification, and the cultural implication of Twilight were condensed into one section. I also decided to add a part on “new”
teen vampire fiction, which includes series such as Vampire Academy and Blue Bloods.
My final thesis ended up proposing the existence of three subtypes of teen vampire cultures, which correspond to certain time periods, and explaining how each individual subset both represented women and reflected female desire: so in a sense they each had their own thesis, really. I’ll go a bit more into that later.
Step 2: Step 2 is the period you spend on more outlining. By this point, I already had the basic structure of the project down, I just needed to flesh out some of my outline. Therefore, I went bit by bit and added most of the info for each section (subject to change of course), with quotes. For example, for the bit on Twilight, I outlined how I would cover Bella as the Gothic heroine, with many of the female side characters playing the “exotic other woman role,” the promiscuous or beautiful female who would serve to cut the heroine down.
Step 3: Write and edit. This is also a really difficult step, and one I’m pretty involved in now. The writing and editing part is when you actually start to write the project, and realize not everything you outlined will fit into the appropriate spot. It means adding things, cutting things, shifting things around. I’m finishing the Twilight part now, and I’ll tell you a bit more about this as I go along.
Alright, that’s it for my first blog entry. My next two will be posted later today hopefully, so I can tell you exactly what each of my sections covers.