Three weeks have passed since I returned to Tokyo to start my fieldwork. I have spent the weeks (and will spend the next few weeks) contacting and recruiting research participants, having face-to-face meetings with them, explaining the study and arranging dates for my observations and recording, and working on literature reviews as well.
This week, I found out that I need to get an ethics approval from an institutional ethics board to conduct my observations and focus groups in the institution. I filled in a form and submitted it to the committee.
I found that I need to take time to establish rapport with the participants and make sure of the ethical aspects before initiating data collection. I assume that the stage that I can actually start collecting data will be at the beginning of February, meaning that I will spend a month doing the preparation in the field. But it is much easier for me to do these processes here in Japan because I can have a face-to-face meeting with people immediately and get advice from them easily, which has allowed me to be active and motivated!
I would like to a mention a scholar who is taking part in my research and has helped me greatly to collect data. He is a very busy person as a medical scholar, physician and a chief of two organisations, but he is always willing to have a meeting and share resources (people and research ideas) with me. I really cannot thank him enough for his support; without his help, I would be struggling with the fieldwork. This is a very important aspect. In field research, you need to find a person who has a strong network of local people, and you first need to focus on the one connection and build a relationship and expand the research sites.
Apart from the rapport-building process, all the preparation is done. I have got two reliable recorders, a camera, field notes, printed consent forms and comfortable walking shoes.
I talk to Luca every day. I have a disciplined life here, but he seems to be struggling with living alone. But this period is very important for us to concentrate on our own things. Regarding living in Japan, I really enjoy cooking and eating many different foods and also shopping for many cheap cosmetics and stationery.
My achievements in Week 55
- Found two participants and confirmed that they are willing to participate in my research.
- Submitted my ethics application to an institutional committee in Japan.
Goals for Week 56
- Have some meetings with my research participants.
- Continue editing chapters.