Research is a Process!

As I have been completing the interviews for my project, the fact that research is a process has definitely become evident.  For one thing, my carefully labelled and categorized informed consent forms and interview questions do not fit every person that I interview.  One watermen that I interviewed no longer works on the water commercially, and he only did so part-time.  Another one not only works on the water, but has also had experience as a scientist and has taken part in the regulatory process.

As I learned while taking the  Williamsburg Documentary Project, people are not always predictable…they get busy, they forget to return phone calls, and things come up at the last minute.  However, I still wouldn’t trade my research for working in a laboratory.  While such research is important, there is no substitute for meeting with and learning from people.  I am fortunate that I have been able to talk to different people tied to the Chesapeake Bay, including a former workboat builder, a scientist, and watermen who, arguably, know the Bay best.