This document is a re-upload of my proposal, with a revised timeline and change to the data collection process. Over the first two weeks of my research I have learnt so much about qualitative research and all that it entails. This work no longer fits my original timeline or methodology, given the need for literature scoping, scaling and ethics approval.
My week long literature scoping exercise has been a great learning experience. I looked at past qualitative and quantitative studies from across the globe. Although the literature on this subject is minimal (why I chose this research subject), the existing literature was a great help in shaping my own study, learning from the researchers' mistakes and establishing gaps in previous research. One key learning was that the existing statistics/quantitative data on the impact of period poverty on participation in education in Ireland is not entirely representative of the issue - as many qualitative studies reported impacts other than absenteeism, a subject most statistics focus on. I look forward to adding to this literature in Ireland through my study.
My ethics approval will take a minimum of 4 weeks to process, resulting in a timeline change. The process was a lengthy and time consuming one, but rewarding in that I learnt a lot about ethics in research, terminology and took a GDPR training course, useful for both my research project and legal education. This has been such a learning process! I find myself getting stressed and sometimes frustrated that this ethical approval process has taken so long, as I was unaware of this before I started the research process. It has been a learning for me as a researcher and leader, beyond the academic process, on how I react to setbacks and changes that are both in my and out of my control. I have worked on being more open to these setbacks, welcoming them with patience, adapting my study (as my original gatekeeper pulled out and I have had to secure a new one) and communicating clearly with my supervisor, ethics approval board, data protection board and gatekeeper.
These two weeks (as well as another few days of prep and contacting new gatekeepers) have been such a learning experience, in terms of my research, ethics and my own leadership strengths and weaknesses. I am so grateful to the Laidlaw foundation, my supervisor and our Laidlaw leaders at Trinity for creating an environment that allows for this exploration !!