Catching Up: Research Methods

After returning from the early October break, our media class took on the study of Research Methods.  Dios mio it was boring.

We began our voyage into the wide, wonderful world of citations, quantitative analysis and variable operationalization with one Yanet Martinez, who unfortunately lacked much proficiency in English but made up for it with an overabundance of confidence in her misinterpretations.  So we had a coup d’etat, and the very generous Amer Abdalla and Alvaro Sierra took over, lecturing and marking, respectively.

This made the class itself much more bearable, but it was still research methods, so yeah.  Terrible.

Our final project for the class, though it is long since over, is due at the end of November; a proposal for our final graduation project, in my case a thesis.

The proposal itself is to be 15-25 pages long, which is actually pretty brutal for what it is.  My thesis is going to be a work of field study and qualitative analysis in Honduras, examining the relationship between government, media and population following the coup by Michelleti and the Supreme Court and the deposement of Zelaya.

Originally, I was planning on concentrating on the issue of legitimacy and how the media either undermined or supported the legitimacy of state government through its actions, but after being quite accurately advised of the overly-ambitious scope of such an undertaking, in that I would need to do thousands if not tens of thousands of surveys and interviews to get an accurate analysis, I have decided to change it up a bit.

Now I’ll be getting into newspaper archives, and perhaps also those of radio and television stations, and analyzing the front page stories following each flashpoint, crisis and major event from June 28th to present.  I’ll be making the assumptions that these media focal points both represent and encourage like-minded thinking amongst the populace, especially urban elites, and drawing conclusions based on my findings and those assumptions.  I’ll also be interviewing a number of journalists, politicians and elites to add some extra perspective.

Apart from being much simpler and more manageable, this change in scope also carries the added benefits of alleviating time constraints, as I no longer need to be there during the crisis points, and I’m also going to be getting press accreditation.  More to come.

Pura vida.

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Published in: on 23 November 2009 at 3:40 pm  Comments (1)  

Catching Up: Samara and Rincon de la Vieja

Buenes Tardes, It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, thought I would give some updates from my travels and experiences.

At the end of October’s first week, after the end of our Introduction to Media, Peace and Conflict Studies, I jumped onto a bus with three friends to the centre of the Nicoya Penninsula, to see where the wind would take us.

The bus ride was relaxing due to a healthy dose of red wine and melatonin, until we reached the town of Nicoya and the driver decided to tear up the side of the bus on the side of a garbage truck.  Then he told us it would be about an hour and a half to sort out, so, we went to a nearby diner about a block away to get something to eat.  Fortunately, we brought our bags with us because about 25 minutes after that we saw the bus speeding past the window.  So that was basically the beginning of the adventure.

We jumped on the prettiest bus we saw, which was dark green, and it happened to be going to a town on the pacific coast called Samara.  Fast forward to us getting there, we clodded along the dusty streets and found a delightful and economic hostel right on the beach, called Casa de Valeria (Valerie’s House, mas o menos).  We had been planning to stay only one night, but it was such a relaxing place we ended up staying two.  Most of the time we beach bummed, drank and laid in hammocks.  The second day, we were looking at a lonely island a bit onto the horizon, and decided that we would swim to it.

Well, that sucked rather a lot.  The tide was against us, the sun was out and hot, we weren’t wearing sunblock and it turned out to be quite further than we first thought.  It took about 90 minutes to swim there.  Jesus fuck.

Once we got there though, wow.  Did you see the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie?  Do you remember the limbo-dimension where the ground was made of crabs?  It was exactly like that.  But with hermit crabs.  And it was amazing. The swim back was significantly easier, but we started to encounter some serious dehydration issues from the heat, salt, and apparently rum doesn’t hydrate you as well as water.  Lesson learned.

We knew we wanted to depart the following morning, but we didn’t know where we wanted to go.  So we did the equivilent of throwing a dart at a map, and asked the hostel hostess where she would recommend, that was more or less on the way back to San Jose/Ciudad Colon.

Rincon de la Vieja!  Or “Corner of the Old”.  We didn’t find any viagra though.

This place was magnificent.  Half the fun was getting there, we had to take a bus, then a chicken bus, then a jeep.  On the way back, we rode in the back of a truck, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

This place was fucking excellent.  Beautiful pastoral scenery in the middle of a vast forest, totally apart, by many kilometres, from any sign of civilization.  We hiked for about 45 minutes from our… I guess you could call it a Bed and Breakfast type deal… along a dirt road, looking for hot springs and waterfalls and stuff.  We did a nice river trek up and down a few cliff sides, and eventually made it to a killer cascada, where we swam in the delightfully ice-cold water for a while.  I gave Fab, Stelle and Wen a goodish scare as I approached the waterside, slipped on a rock, fell to my back and slipstreamed 9 or 10 feet to the rocky water below (I instantly shot up a thumbs-up to prevent them from diving in after me).   The mosquitoes there were bananas.

The trip back seemed longer, at least after the truck ride, but we made it back safe and went out for pizza.  More updates to come.

Pura vida.

Published in: on 23 November 2009 at 3:01 pm  Leave a Comment