a) What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?
The first major obstacle I faced when attempting to put together a research project was determining a topic to focus on. I had decided to focus on an area surrounding the history of Native North Americans as I find this area of history extremely interesting. As I study Heritage and Tourism it felt very fitting to apply this interest in Native North American history to Museology. Upon the decision to put together a research project which focuses on the repatriation of Native North American indigenous objects from Scottish museums, I found the broad area of scholarship intimidating. This is due to the need to read scholarship on a wide range of areas such as the history of museums, perceptions of the traditional museum and developments occurring to actively decolonise the traditional museum, the collection and exhibition of ethnographic collections, repatriation policy and procedure in the United States and United Kingdom, specific case study examples of such repatriation from Scottish museums and the history and origins of such repatriated objects. As these broad areas of scholarship have required such in-depth reading to fully familiarise myself with the current debates and developments, this topic choice has proven to be a real challenge. It has however been a very rewarding and interesting process.
b) What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?
To overcome these obstacles, I have been in regular contact with my supervisor who has recommended useful sources on my topic. I have also begun to compile and put together my bibliography as well as a word document of information from these sources in order to cover these scholarly areas fully. For the first time I have started to regularly click and collect books from the library which has helped me to compile my bibliography and information on specific scholarly areas. By doing this so early in the dissertation process it has alleviated much of the pressures and stress I was previously experiencing when intimidated by such a broad area of scholarship. Additionally, by doing this I now feel on track and confident to begin delving into my dissertation over the summer.
c) What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?
This has taught me that preparation and organisation is key. With having a tendency to rely on the pressures of impending deadlines for motivation, I have learned the importance of being proactive. This has also taught me the necessity of being interested in your chosen dissertation topic as at times with so many sources to read it can become a very daunting process.
d) Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?
It would be difficult to determine aspects of the 9X6 module which have not been useful in helping to get my dissertation project ready to start. In my opinion all aspects of this module have been significantly useful in starting this project. However, since contacting my supervisor I have been able to narrow and develop my dissertation topic and gain extremely useful advice on such matters. Furthermore, seminars have been very useful by being able to speak to other students in breakout rooms and discuss different aspects of the dissertation project each week. The mini lectures have also aided my understanding of the dissertation writing process and have made me consider the importance of methodology which I had not considered prior to this module.