Author: Dick

Dick Powis is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, and is also pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His research interests include men and childbirth, prenatal screening technologies, and reproductive health in urban settings in Senegal. Read more at dickpowis.com.

Mobile Apps for Ethnographic Research – #RoR2018

Mobile Apps for Ethnographic Research – #RoR2018

Ethnographic research is difficult. It’s a challenge to find the right assistants, get access, recruit the right people, keep a schedule, make time for note-writing and transcription, and be self-motivated through it all. In Dakar, I depend on a number of mobile apps to help me keep the project together. Some of these apps may or may not be available on your phone or where you do research, but as I have done with these apps, I recommend finding something {+}

Hurry Up and Wait, Part 2: Arrival – #RoR2018

Hurry Up and Wait, Part 2: Arrival – #RoR2018

After focusing my last couple weeks spending quality time with my loved ones, this week I have arrived in Dakar. This is my sixth time here and unquestionably my smoothest entry – the shiny new airport was easy to navigate, despite having just opened to great criticism in the middle of December. Seems like the kinks got worked out, or they were just having a good day. Passport control was fast, customs was nearly undetectable, and my host met me {+}

The Fieldnotes Ecosystem of #RoR2018

The Fieldnotes Ecosystem of #RoR2018

Early on in college, I took a lot of inspiration from John Hawks’ article calling for researchers to be transparent and engaging with their research in combination with Tricia Wang’s article outlining “open ethnography.” To me, Wang’s methodology was an answer to Hawks’ call. Somehow, I would have to navigate ethics review boards which weren’t at all familiar with using social media to disseminate information – and I did (which is a blog post for another time). Later, Samuel Collins {+}

How I Write Interview Instruments – #RoR2018

How I Write Interview Instruments – #RoR2018

It would be interesting to sit down and look at the interview instruments from every year that I’ve been doing research in Senegal to see how they evolve. From 2012, my junior year in college, we would find leading questions or questions that otherwise confine respondents to certain answers. Some questions just didn’t make sense. There were probably no probes. In 2013, my advisor worked closely with me to make sure that I was phrasing things more clearly and in {+}

Strategies in Minimizing the Labor Intensive Process of Dissertation Research Proposal Writing and Some Tips on What to Keep in Mind – #RoR2018

Strategies in Minimizing the Labor Intensive Process of Dissertation Research Proposal Writing and Some Tips on What to Keep in Mind – #RoR2018

Before I get started, I want to point out that this article is aimed at pre-field graduate students and undergraduates, and that the context is working with American funding agencies. YMMV. As I mentioned in my previous blog, my dissertation research is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSFGRFP) and the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship (FHDDRA). The former provides three years of funding that must be used in five years of graduate school. I can use {+}

An Ethnographic Liminality: The Hurry Up and Wait of Dissertation Research Predeparture

An Ethnographic Liminality: The Hurry Up and Wait of Dissertation Research Predeparture

I am about to depart for Dakar, Senegal to begin twelve months of dissertation research. I’m not sure when I’ll be leaving – the slog of uncoordinated bureaucratic machines keeps me from knowing just yet. For now, I’m just in that all-too-familiar mode of “hurry up and wait”: I was packed and ready to leave November 1. I am packed and ready to leave December 1. And given a recent hiccup in the process, it looks like I’ll be packed {+}