Data collection


in Daily updates, PhD thesis

This is my first intense batch of academic interviews, and I feel like they have been going remarkably smoothly. It has been pretty straightforward to start getting in touch with people, scheduling times, doing preparatory research, and then having conversations people about their experiences with divestment at Canadian universities. I don’t think it constitutes the inappropriate disclosure of any sensitive or privileged information to say that everybody who I have spoken to — during the preparatory work of consulting on the research design and ethics protocol as well as during these formal interviews — has been generous with their time and enthusiastic about helping to come up with a solid and wide-ranging academic analysis of the divestment movement, incorporating its numerous dimensions including those of activist organizations using social movement strategies to pursue policy goals not offered by existing political parties (in terms of aggressive decarbonization) and those of power structures, forms of decision making, and the individual experiences of all those who have been involved. Not that I am doing all that myself! Through the process of researching campaigns I am also coming into contact with scholarly work that emphasizes dimensions of the campus fossil fuel divestment (CFFD) movement that my research doesn’t seek to investigate.

I’m really glad to have applied a lesson learned from my somewhat soupy theoretical project of an MPhil thesis. Coming at some subject which very smart people have thought about for decades and hoping to make a contribution just by reading the work and thinking is perhaps a bit over-ambitious, at least for me. And there is undeniable value in a research object which involves some direct empirical effort: the generation or recording of some unique data set that would not otherwise have existed, and which has some value for better understanding how the world functions politically.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon August 28, 2018 at 9:20 pm

full text’s online for anyone who wants to taste the soup:

anon August 29, 2018 at 12:12 am

wow that’s an amazingly privacy threatening Url!

Milan August 29, 2018 at 3:54 pm


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