In no particular order:
- When I advertised my project on Two Peas with my screen name “scrapping4aphd”, I felt like I was unicorn hunting. I was at the point in my recruiting process where I was looking for more men scrapbookers, gay or lesbian scrapbookers, LDS scrapbookers, and scrapbookers of color. The responses I got made me feel like I was hunting for unicorns…along the lines of “good luck with that.” I am happy to report that I did find scrapbookers that fit these demographics, though I still would have liked to have interviewed more scrapbookers from these demographics. Maybe one day I will.
- I can’t share the layouts I photographed and studied because obtaining permission from everyone would have meant I never would have finished my dissertation. Not only would I need permission from the scrapbooker, but I would also need permission from every person photographed on the scrapbook page. This becomes even more problematic when you consider that sometimes strangers are in the photos on the layouts.
- I decided to study scrapbooking because of the encouragement I received from Ralph LaRossa, who eventually chaired my dissertation. One of my most memorable moments in graduate school was my first day of Qualitative Methods in Sociology when I shared that I had started working in a scrapbook store. I could almost see the light bulb over Ralph’s head light up with all the research potential. I was still working on my Master’s Degree and was already working on my thesis on a different topic. I graduated and a year later enrolled in the doctoral program with the intent on writing my dissertation on scrapbooking.
- If you had told me back in 2003 when I started working in a scrapbook store that I would now be blogging about scrapbooking, I would have told you that is crazy. I don’t take scrapbooking that seriously. I’m not one of “those” scrapbookers. Evidently, I am one of “those” scrapbookers. If you had told me a year ago that this blog would be about scrapbooking beyond my dissertation research, I would have thought that equally ridiculous.
- I can’t tell you the name of the scrapbook store I used to work in because it would violate my promise of confidentiality for my respondents (some of whom worked in that store). If you figure it out, I’ll deny it.
- There are a lot of scrapbookers who are really active in the industry. They work as direct consultants, write and read scrapbooking blogs, are active in scrapbooking forums, create scrapbooks for hire, coordinate crops for their religious groups, and volunteer at scrapbooking events.
- There are also a lot of scrapbookers that are fairly isolated. They do not have any friends that scrapbook. They know very few people who scrapbook.
- What gets published in scrapbooking magazines and what people are actually doing are two very different things. The scrapbooking magazines publish a very narrow version of scrapbooking. And I’m not just talking about a digital v. conventional or 8.5×11 v. 12×12 divide. The variety is much bigger than these false dichotomies. And what gets self-published online is much more in line with what the magazines publish than what people who scrapbook as a whole are actually doing.
- I didn’t tell my respondents that I had ever worked in the industry. I wanted them to treat me as someone who had no idea what they were talking about. Some of my respondents did know. Some learned that I worked in the industry during our interview. Deceptive? Perhaps, but absolutely invaluable.
- My biggest challenge right now is making sure my research benefits both the scrapbooking and sociology community. I hope I am accomplishing this to some extent on this blog. I am somewhat sure that scrapbookers are finding at least some of my content useful. I need to do better with sharing my results with my sociology peers. To tell you the truth I am incredibly burned out on academic publishing and I am not rewarded for it by my current employer. I made the choice to work at a community college for this reason, but part of me still wants to better share my results with sociologists who are less likely to stumble upon this blog.
What else would you like to know about my study? Comment below or join the conversation on facebook or twitter.
This post is not only part of my dissertation series, but was completed in order to participate in Shimelle Laine’s 10 Things. I realize I’m a few days late. Oh well.
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