06 March, 2009

Beliefs: A Research Project

The best way, perhaps, to get out of writer's block, is to go back through your archives and find the stories you never wrote. Revisit the passions that fell by the wayside. Or, if that fails, to recycle old material. Fortunately, I don't need to resort to the latter, because I had a fairly ripe project just waiting to be truly attended.

Back in the summer - August, to be precise - I had become inspired to start a research project. The project involved the following: Trying to understand something about what people believe, and why, and what holds them to those beliefs. It was a big undertaking, and I really had no idea how to pursue it. The questions that I had in my mind had a lot to do with asking people about the "what", but I think I was really more interested in the "why". I had a million ideas, and enlisted a blogger friend to talk about it with me. The grand scheme would be to interview total strangers, and ask them questions. But that would take effort, and planning. Much cheaper, in the research world, is the good, old-fashioned survey. So I decided to just send a big fishing line out to anyone I knew who was willing to answer.

I didn't do a very good job. But I learned something anyway. It just wasn't what I was trying to learn, or even expecting to learn.

Before I tell you anything that I learned, I want to tell you something up front: I will not, in any way, divulge anything personal that anyone told me. No names, or even details specific enough to be pinned to any person will be stated whatsoever. What I want to do is give "flavors" and that does not require any, or many verbatims, unless they're so obscure as to be completely anonymous.

With that, I am going to move on to the next chapter of this story, which will be titled: "Beliefs: Why Am I Even Thinking About This?"

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