For the first several months of this project, I have been meeting people, taking walks, having meetings, and doing anything I can to expand my contacts past the most obvious connections I had known before the project started. I have been keeping notes on my interactions with everyone I meet. These notes have been my memories of things that have happened, or things people have told me. As I read write them, I have been trying to hard to stay as ‘objective’ as possible; that is, I’m trying to avoid evaluative language or write things that veer off into my own interpretations. But of course, simply remembering is a kind of implicit analysis. You can’t remember everything and what you remember is inevitably a complex mix of your own identity, the identity of the person you’re talking to, and the context of the conversation.
I have not decided yet what role these notes will play in my analysis, if they will simply act as a reference for me, or if I will try to do some more formal analysis of them. For now, I am moving into the more formal interviews for the project, with recordings and transcripts to analyse. The informal conversations, however, will play an important role in how I think about the interviews that I will now do and the things that these interviews will inevitably focus on. I’m confident that these conversations have been essential for the next step and for building the necessary background for showing me where the project should focus and where the analysis is needed.