When your plans have to change

One thing we discussed in class today was the circumstances under which your plans for the project have to change. For me, this change of plans arose with a set of interviews I had intended to conduct as part of my research about people’s attitudes about gender and gender roles. However, after finishing my psychology and history research, I realized that these interviews would be redundant and unnecessary in this section of my project; the larger studies cover the information that these interviews would produce, but on a much larger and more reliable level. In addition, it was noted in workshop that the project focuses too much on me personally, and that some distance would make the project more interesting and engaging. As a result, I decided to cut the interviews out for now.

However, interviews can provide thingsĀ that research cannot, such as nuance and the ability to interact with or contradict the research. Hopefully the interviews will ultimately be able to provide this, but in a different section of the project. In Ray’s words, I’m hoping this change of plans has a transformative effect, rather than an eliminatory effect.

2 thoughts to “When your plans have to change”

  1. Maya,

    I too have had to make a few changes to my project in the last few weeks. As someone who is working on two different long-term writing projects simultaneously, coming to terms with change as being a critical factor in the success of my writing has been a challenge. Most of the work that I have completed in college prior to my capstone project and my honors history thesis have been short term writing exercises. I usually only three iterations: an outline, a rough draft, and a final draft. Yet with these writing projects, I have been forced to create a long-term skeleton and iterate much more frequently than I am used to with my writing. One would hope that constant iteration would lead to improvement during each iteration, and this has generally been the case. But there have been instances where the problems I have faced cannot be solved by iterating; rather, they must be addressed by changing my project scope or outlook. When it comes to making content choices, like the inclusion of interviews in your piece, the good news is that adding to writing is relatively easy. If you want, you could probably collect an interview or two last minute and use that material as an opening anecdote in your piece. It is making late-game subtractions and focus changes, however, that can prove to be disastrous with long-term writing projects. I hope that the exercises we are performing this week in class are steering everyone away from things like that!

  2. Maya –

    Thanks for sharing this about your project. It is a tough task to outline a project without knowing if these changes in direction will occur. While I agree with Ray that it is important to ensure this change you are making does not have an eliminatory effect, it seems that you’ve done a good job of thinking through this decision. If the information on people’s attitudes about gender and gender roles is readily available, you’ll still be able to provide your readers with this information. I think that by being decisive about this now, you’ll be able to adjust if more changes are needed.

    I think your biggest challenge is that you’re also trying to distance yourself after the workshops we’ve had. As you mentioned, interviews can provide the opportunity to interact with or contradict research. As a writer, I would argue that you can do this as well, but it is a much harder task the further you distance yourself. I look forward to seeing what you produce!

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