Before launching into my dissertation research, I have attempted to start an exploratory research to determine if there is any interest among the different schools if they are interested in my work, and to make connections with different people who might be interested. So far, I have had quite a bit of interest from individual teachers, educators, and tribal officials but there have been schools that have expressed interest in my work after contacting them.
One of the biggest hurdles to my research has been contacting the necessary people. People, particularly schools board officers, superintendents, and principles, are quite busy and it has been a challenge to get a hold of people. However, I have been able to successfully recruit three schools that service three different communities into the project. I still have a few more individual people to contact, but I am certain that I can engage in exploratory research in 2020.
Plans Going forward:
Exploratory Research: Ideally, I would like to recruit one or two more schools, but potentially I could start my research with the three schools that have agreed to my research. Following finalizing my research project with the participating schools I plan to spend two to three months in Anishinaabe territory in the United States (Great lakes and Midwest area) spending two to three weeks at each school interviewing teachers, staff and active parents (parents who volunteer but do not receive a paycheck) and observing classrooms.
Following my return from the field, I will transcribe my notes and interviews, and code them for themes and discourses that are present. Following a discourse and theme analysis I plan to write up a report of my findings and pass them on to both my doctoral committee and the schools that are participating in my research. The report that will be sent to the schools will also include some practical applications from the research which the school might find useful, and I plan to have an individual discussion with each of the school boards on my findings for the sake of reciprocity and transparency.
Due to not having my dissertation approved by my committee my actual plans for my dissertation are tentative. My plan, as I imagine, will have me returning to the schools following approval to continue my research and irb approval. I will then continue my ethnographic research, having extended interviews with teachers, staff, interested parents and children both in special education classes and outside. I will also continue to do limited participant observation, but I plan to expand my research observation time to one month per school. During this time, I also plan to sit down with the school boards and talk to them about what they would like me to do with the research gathered for my dissertation.
Following completion of field research, I plan to once again return to Michigan to transcribe my notes and interviews, and code and analyze them for themes and discourses. From that point I will write my dissertation and following the approval of my dissertation I will send copies of it to the schools that participated in the project, and disseminate my research to them in a way that they requested.