3 - Snowdons Process of Discovery

3 - Snowdons Process of Discovery - The Nuns Study: Part II...

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The “Nuns Study”: Part II Snowdon’s Process of Discovery… The Research Process The process is data Making sense of the “process” in the research context The importance of serendipity in the “Nun Study” Generating and disseminating knowledge Process of Discovery Snowdon’s research methodology are part and parcel of his own series of discoveries o As he discovered things, these discoveries became a part of the methodology as he didn’t have a methodology mapped out Clear connection between narrative and the research process As the story of these nuns lives unfold before him, so too does his methodology A Botanist in a Tropical Rainforest “As I grew familiar with the convent routine, I felt as time like a botanist who wanders into a tropical rainforest and sees thousands of beautiful flowers worth studying but cannot decide where to start…” The Opportunities of Choice… The idea of be “spoilt for choice” was another important finding in the early stage Snowdon discovered the diversity of activity and experience that existed in the convent Diversity allowed him to pursue a variety of research angles Building an Hypothesis… “…One of the first movies I ever saw was Disney’s “The Living Desert,” which used a time-lapse photography to document changes there were in imperceptible to ordinary observation. Perhaps I could splice together enough “snapshots” to watch a life unfold as vividly as one of Disney’s desert flowers….” Serendipity? Definition: “faculty of making happy discoveries by accident. .” (Oxford English Dictionary) First “Happy” Discovery…. “Just as the three princes of Serendipity of fairy-tale lore stumbled into discoveries as they travelled the world, my luck came to me as I strolled down a Mankato convent hallway and noticed a door ajar. The door led to the Heritage Room, which had been closed on my previous visits, so I peered inside…” Finding Mankato Convent Archives… Bank vault housing several rows of old filing cabinets Included in these archives were vows, high school transcripts, photographs, autobiographies, death lists and detailed records describing the sisters’ lives from childhood to late adulthood “Undisturbed Tomb” “For an epidemiologist, this sort of find is equivalent to an archaeologist’s discovering an undisturbed tomb or a palaeontologist's unearthing a perfectly preserved skeleton. It was as though I had discovered a scientific study, started near the turn of the century, that closely followed a population over time, routinely collecting data and filing it away for later analysis.” Another “Happy” Discovery…
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3 - Snowdons Process of Discovery - The Nuns Study: Part II...

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