Being Peaceful in Research Methodology

Before I started my research work and support group at the DV organization in September, I wrote a class proposal. One section included monitoring and evaluation, which is another way of saying “research methodology”.

“Nature Yoga at XXX will be consistently and constantly monitored by internal and external groups.

The teacher/ researcher (Sowmya Ayyar) will ensure that women’s needs are being met through participant observation, including casual conversation and unstructured interviews, with participants about how the class is proceeding and its usefulness. Sowmya Ayyar will provide the data analysis under the advice of Lester Kurtz (my advisor).”

If field work is about the participants’ needs, and yoga plays into that very nicely, catering to individual needs. If I reassure students, during each yoga support group session, that each person is unique and we should not try to be like others, then shouldn’t my research methodology reflect the same?

While I began thinking that unstructured interviews would be the best way to elicit information from participants in this situation, I soon realized that I would need something more structured. I developed an intensive, 4-page survey, questioning responders about relationships with self, others, nature, and so forth. I intended to use a pre- and post- survey combination. The support services coordinator accepted this methodology, stating that interviews might be harder anyhow.

But with the lack of large and consistent student base, I soon realized this would not work. I had a lot of stress! I decided to look at things from another view, and relaxed in down-dog with my head resting on a block. My view changed completely!

I considered a focus group/ group interview instead. The coordinator was fine with that, but wanted to ensure the security and consideration of the youth that joined the class, including a 9-year old girl.

How could I create something appropriate for all?

I needed to do a 180 in my thought process, see things from new perspectives–understand ALL the participants and their diverse needs, likes, and dislikes. A Power Vinyasa Flow class I went to had us go into several inversions. Doing this was a big step for me, after I had stopped doing power classes for several years after experiencing the joy of restorative that aided me in reducing trauma and stress. I also began doing “Super brain yoga”, a squatting exercise while crossing arms and holding earlobes.

The blood started flowing into my brain with my head and mind below my heart. Maybe this helped me a lot more than I thought! I realized something I had learned in a project design class: people can bring their ideas to the table in different ways. We allow this all the time in local government. Some people email/ write their thoughts on certain issues to city hall, while others speak out during council meetings. Others write letters to editors of local papers. Still others use pictures and videos on other media outlets, including music and poetry videos on social media such as You Tube and Facebook.

With my brain super powered, I opened my eyes and my mind to the possibilities. Each person could choose their own way of telling me how yoga had affected them, their relationships with others, their relationship with nature, and their characteristics including (but not limited to) honesty, compassion, forgiveness, and strength.

So I created a post-quantitative survey and post-qualitative questionnaire. I passed them out as homework, to allow people to complete them on their own time, so that they could relax in class with restorative poses and not have cut the class short to fill out the papers, or rush to finish while worrying about getting home quickly.

I also included a section of pictorial representations for those that were artistically inclined or too young to write (we do have some 4-year olds). In addition, I encouraged everyone to provide me with data in other forms– photographs, voice recordings, videos, poetry or music, or interviews (group or individual).

While I can only hope this gives me enough data to support my theory, I can rest without stress knowing that I have reflected the core principle of integrity from my yoga class in my research work.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. M. Srinivasan
    Jul 03, 2011 @ 05:42:24

    useful informations.

    kindly provide me the questions asked for this purpose.


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