Wow I'm REALY liking this notion of finally conducting some of my own research for a change instead of fulfilling a professor's notion of what I should study. I've now completed six of about 11 interviews (still need to schedule one of those), and I was hoping I would have 8 for this study. I'm pretty darn excited.
In fact, I got so excited that I accidentally taped over half of one of the interviews I did yesterday during one of today's interviews. ARGH!!! Ah, the perils of conducting qualitative research. Damn little microcassettes. I was SO pissed, to say the least. But the person I was interviewing at the time has a very calm attitude about the entire doctoral experience. When I realized that the interview I was conducting with her was erasing that of one of our colleagues, she just said something along the lines of, "Let go, and let God." Now, I'm not the most religious person around, but there are many times when I know it's just better to let go of "it" and see what happens. I had already taped over our other colleague's interview...no sense in dwelling on it. At least not too much. :-)
With this particular project, I'm interviewing my colleagues in the higher education program and am asking them questions related to how they are developing their sense of academic identity. It's a pilot study for my dissertation (don't tell my wise, wonderful program advisor I used the term "pilot study," please. "All studies are STUDIES, and none of them are pilots for anything else!" he said).
Anyhow, this pilot study I'm conducting will help me define some of the constructs for the theory I'm developing that I'll probably flush out much more with undergraduate students during the dissertation process. Needless to say, it's fun to finally be getting into some of my own research for a change.