What got me interested in the Changing The Hole Mind Living & Working in Solitary Confinement During Reform project, was the project’s goal. I have always been intrigued by prison reform and the organizational functions of the prison system. I heard about the project from a friend who had participated in a similar project the year prior; this prompted me to apply immediately.
When I think about my long-term goals, I believe the Changing The Hole Mind project plays a big part in what direction I want to go in. While working on this project, I have found out I am rather passionate about field research relating to prisons. Collecting the data was a new experience and one I enjoyed quite a bit. Once the data was collected and we started the process of coding the qualitative data (I thought I would suck at it), it was fascinating to watch the data reflect what we were or were not looking for. On a weekly basis, it varies what I do. In the weeks prior to a trip to an institution, time was spent attending training. After visiting an institution, I spent my time working on preparing the data to be coded. Finally, I spent my time coding the prepared data. After coding, I then was able to query the data and analyze my findings; the results helped answer my initial research question.
What I discovered this term…is a lot. If I had to narrow down what I discovered, it would be…I didn’t expect to find something I wasn’t looking for. After constructing my research question with my partner, I knew there was a strong chance we would find data to answer our question. However, while I was coding, I discovered there was separate information, also appearing in the data at a high frequency; I queried for this. I thought this was exciting, I spoke to my mentor about it, and there might be a chance I can switch over to work on this new data set. Which, I think is completely thrilling and am ready to do. Overall, this has been a great growing experience and an excellent opportunity to “get my hands dirty” within my future field.