Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Direction

Okay, so I really need to recreate my blog. I have completely reconfigured my thesis into something that still intrigues me, yet is potentially more feasible. I am planning to get IRB approval and then interview a small group of women within either the UN or associated NGOs about their development of an activist identity. In doing so, I plan to examine the differences and commonalities that have led each woman to become intrinsically involved in her area of activism. This is perfect for me because it wont force me to privilege one social issue over another, but instead allow me to examine how individuals in general become engaged in various issues and movements. I would like to make my research relevant to UVU,  and so I am considering surveying a group of UVU students before I leave for Geneva in order to assess their varying propensities to become activists. By so doing, I will be able to reference them in my research and the ways in which UVU might be able to further encourage them to become socially aware and active. I will be able to do this through comparing their views and experiences to those of the women I interview in Geneva. Additionally, I plan to present my research on UVU campus once I return from Geneva. 
I found an incredibly helpful article on JSTOR today titled "Individual Orientation Toward Engagement in Social Action" which lays out a measure called the Activism Orientation Scale (AOS) which is meant to assess "activist propensity across a wide continuum of social action behaviors, ideological positions, and movement issues" (Corning, Myers, 1). My research could potentially form around this measure. The article also references me to many other potentially informative authors. I plan to continue reading through this article and review any other relevant literature I can find. 
If I can get IRB approval then I can apply for a SCOP grant which could add another $1,500 to my funding. I am also planning to meet with the counselor for the Philosophy department this week to set up my internship credit for the summer, and thereafter I plan to apply for an internship scholarship through the school. I was informed a few weeks ago that the money being donated to my internship/senior thesis from various UVU departments might have to come in the form of a reimbursement rather than an up front contribution. This would be a hassle for many reasons, including I would have to take out a loan, save all of my receipts, and figure out how to pay off the loan with the reimbursement once I return from Geneva. I received and invoice from WOW and am turning that in along with the rest of my travel authorization paperwork with the hope that having the invoice will allow them to reimburse me before I leave for Geneva rather than after. 
I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I am really excited about this new direction, I feel confident it is within my realm of ability and I believe we need to be studying the development of activists in order to encourage activism locally, nationally, and internationally. 


  1. WOW! (not to be confused with your WOW)

    This is a major change. it also feels good. By good, I mean it feels both realistic and interesting.

    I had been just a little nervous about how you would get information, other than from other people's studies, about sex trafficking and education. I'm not nervous about this at all, since you'll be working with activists who should be excellent subjects of study.

    If you need further help with any of the grants, be sure to work with me and with Mark Olson.

  2. Jessica,

    This is all excellent news. The red-tape and intricacies of funding will test your patience, but your commitment to the project should see you through.

    The refocus of your thesis is doubly clever, as it both makes your thesis more focused and tractable but also actually opens it out to a bigger, more broadly applicable set of questions about women and activism.

    You're also absolutely doing the right thing to survey UVU students _before_ you go to Geneva, not only because it will help you make the project additionally relevant to UVU, but because it is _always_ a smart idea to test out your research instruments in your home setting before taking them into the field!

    Further, it's promising that you seem to have already found an established assessment instrument in the form of the Activism Orientation Scale.

    The hassles with funding aside, this should prove to be not only a great personal and intellectual adventure for you, but a meaningful project that will open out the possibilities for all your future endeavors.

    Like Scott, I'm excited by these developments.