“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” — Francis Bacon
This quote, from Sir Francis Bacon’s The Essays, speaks so much to the past week for me. I got some bad news about graduation–namely that it will occur in August instead of May, but there’s a silver lining in this little set-back. I also received the news that I had to re-conduct the surveys that form the backbone of my thesis. This came as a horrible shock, but a little chat with my father and my advisors and friends, and I’m seeing the good in all of this. I had wanted to re-vamp my survey instrument, and survey another church anyways, but had resisted making that amendment to my Institutional Review Board form. Now that I’m re-conducting the surveys in their entirety, I can make those changes, and further improve my research. As I always say, “it’s going to work out because it has to work out.”
I think I’ve completed the basics of my thesis. I still need to work on the introductory chapter, and the vita, but the body of my thesis is completed in its entirety. Not bad, considering I started writing it in October.
I must have created this over ten times by now. I finally decided to print it out Portrait orientation, in the hopes that it won’t get lost in a stack of Landscape orientation survey questionnaires.
My coding of the responses to my survey questionnaire is in progress. It’s not a particularly tedious process, but I do tend to misplace the codebook, which makes for a fun time.
I’ve finally decided on a title for my thesis. And Be Not Conformed to This World: the Impact of Religious Participation on the Political Participation of Black Americans in the Non-Metropolitan South, a Case Study of Hunt County, Texas. Pretty long and wordy, but it explains exactly what the research is about.
In my studies, I consistently find information about how religion functions among black Americans to encourage political participation, both electorally and non-electorally. However, everything that I read discussed how this phenomenon occurs exclusively in the metropolitan areas, and I was interested by that. Commerce, Texas, would never be called metropolitan, yet local history shows evidence of the black churches in the historically segregated Norris community coming together to elect a black man to the City Council and later to the Mayor’s office, and also with students at the local university to address the continued mistreatment of blacks by the wider community. Thinking about the 2008 and 2012 elections, I was curious about whether these same churches provided encouragement to their congregants to participate in the presidential elections, either through the polls or through other means. As a result, I constructed a survey that is in the process of being administered to black congregants of the local black churches, and hope to publish my findings in a thesis by May 2014.