As school kicks off, it dawns on me that I actually have to stop doing this research. Seven weeks turned out to be more like ten, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It has been a unique and educational experience, and I am very thankful to the James Reilly Scholarship fund and to W&M for making it possible.
These past two weeks have yielded nothing if not insightful interviews, referrals for future research, and plenty of opportunities to put the topic of abortion access in perspective. Unfortunately – as I like to tell myself is the case with many other novice researchers – it is only now dawning on me that I have strayed too far from my original goals for this project, and in doing so, have compromised the value of the work I am producing. The James C. Reilly scholarship goes toward public policy research, and in my pursuit of knowledge regarding Virginia’s legislation and policymaking process, I found myself more interested in the social justice of the matter.
This past week has been an interesting opportunity for networking, as well as testing the waters; despite the fact that the seven week scope of this project is fast approaching, I hope to continue research as the summer goes on, so I am keeping a loose deadline and my options open. I have largely stuck with my original research objectives, but as I continue investigating abortion legislation and access, new areas of study present themselves, and I believe them to be worth exploring.
These last two weeks of research have led me down many paths, some of which were exciting and new, and others which were, admittedly, dead ends. I am learning that the pace of research ebbs and flows, but that all progress is good progress.
After a brief leave of absence from researching last week, this week proved to be a great opportunity to get back into the swing of things and to start investigating a side of abortion I have not yet gotten into: its epidemiology. Epidemiology refers to the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a medical matter, and those pertaining to abortion are a particularly diverse and complex set.