Monday, April 9, 2012

Academic Epiphany--Thesis Edition

I've been struggling all semester with figuring out my thesis topic and narrowing it down.  The more I talk to my advisor and my committee members, the more they tell me that it is still too broad.  They're worried that without focusing it down, I won't do an adequate job and/or will never finish my Masters.  I agree with them, but I keep hitting walls.  Do I look at purely municipal data?  No, because I'm an anthropologist and I want the humanistic aspect to my research.  I can't ask a water table or a reservoir how they're personally coping with the drought.  The municipal data is important and it will be included but it's not going to be the focus.  I'm not looking at purely how the towns I've chosen have coped as a whole; it'll only be part of it.

Today, I've been looking at one of the towns' local newspapers for articles on the drought and related topics, and I realized that I need to find some part of the town to focus on.  Ok, it's a realization I keep having, but I finally had information in front of me to figure it out.  (I usually have grand realizations when I have no paper, pen, or computer, and I'm usually about to fall asleep and promptly forget everything.)  I kept noticing ads on the side panel of the newspaper website for hunting stuff.  Then it hit me.  Hunting is HUGE in Texas.  Not so much for me, but I couldn't believe I hadn't thought about it before.  The animals have been severely impacted by the drought, so I'm going to guess the hunting industry has too.

I'm not a hunter.  My family doesn't hunt.  I don't even particularly like guns, but the more I'm thinking about this idea, the more I think it can work.  It's more focused.  I can look at the hunting businesses in the towns and talk to local citizens who are hunters.  I can find out their perceptions on the drought and how they have coped with it.  I can see how hunting season was affected last year before it started raining in 2012.  Just by doing a two-second Google search, I've found that some people were happy about the drought affecting feral pig populations because they're so rampant in Texas.

Y'all, am I crazy to try and tackle this particular route?  Does anyone have suggestions?  Anything is appreciated.