Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shaping a Field Study

As I'm adjusting to life in East London and my project is becoming clearer, I'm seeing three major pieces to make up my research experience. Here they are:

1. Cultural studies and immersion. This one is constantly present, shaping and being shaped by all my experiences. This is the part where I'm coming to understand and live within South African culture, and is what makes this a truly unique and rich research opportunity.
2. Background and experience. My study is focused around ecotourism, so it's important that I experience this myself while I'm here in South Africa, and also do my best to find out about the current state of nature tourism, environmental ecucation, and conservation in South Africa. I'll achieve the first piece through visits to parks and reserves such as the Nahoon Point Nature Reserve, and the second by talking to experts such as Kevin Cole (mentioned earlier) and volunteering with a park or organization (which I'm still working to set up).
3. My project. My actual project is to find out local young adult (18-30) perceptions of ecotourism, which I will do through semi-structured interviews. So far I'm finding contacts through Fort Hare University, and will snowball from there. Yesterday I was able to introduce my project to two lecture classes, and about 15 students said they'd be willing to participate in the interviews. I'll continue to go to Fort Hare to get more students, and will be seeking out young adults from other places as well, including my church and perhaps the internet cafe where I am now.


  1. Kathrine,

    Hey I'm Rachel. You made a comment on a poem from my blog that I just barely found! Sorry about that! I think you're project sounds great, and I'm so excited for you.

    To answer some of your questions, transition is transition, and I think I'm doing well. You will too. I didn't forget how to use a microwave or anything crazy like that.... As far as advice, just make the most of it. You have probably heard that before, but really be there. Don't live on the Internet or facebook, don't call home more than necessary, and really force yourself to make the most of your short time there. Before you know it you too will be sitting in the HBLL, commenting on someone in Africa's blog post.

  2. Thanks Rachel! Already time is passing way too quickly... it's been almost three weeks and I feel like I barely got here. But I'm definitely loving it.