Ghosh, Rao, Parameswaran describe collaborative research process
Doctoral student Pragya Ghosh, doctoral candidate Pallavi Rao and professor Radhika Parameswaran gave a behind-the-scenes look at their collaborative research project on the YouTube show “Ladies Room” at Friday’s Media Arts & Sciences Colloquium.
“We’re not presenting our polished research,” Parameswaran said. “We’re presenting the process that goes into our research. We’re presenting the messy process that happens behind the scenes.”
They described four steps to their research process: the starting point, the organization of research, the process of doing and writing the research and the submission process.
The paper stemmed from a project Ghosh was working on for one of Parameswaran’s classes, but once the collaboration took off, it became clear that “we wanted to do a feminist reading of the show,” Rao said.
Once they solidified their starting point, the next step was creating a system to manage their research, and Box became their central organization.
“We tried to keep a constant archive about what we were doing,” Parameswaran said.
For example, they created a document detailing key moments and summaries of each individual episode of the show that they could refer back to during the writing process. Similarly, there were folders for academic readings and press coverage that they thought would be useful for their paper.
Throughout the process, the three divided some of the work to do individually, but they also found that some aspects of the project were most beneficial if all three worked on them together in the same room at the same time.
In particular, they discovered that they needed to watch all six episodes of the show together, so they could focus on important moments and pause the show to talk about the significance of certain scenes.
“It was in that deep immersion together that we began to discover what we were doing,” Parameswaran said.
On the other hand, the group decided dividing the writing up was the most effective way to complete the paper.
The final paper has three sections: Parameswaran analyzed women’s public lives in the show, Ghosh wrote about women’s private lives in the show, and Rao concentrated on the political economy and media environment of the show itself.
“The toughest part was really reaching consensus about each section,” Rao said.
After the project was complete, they began to look for a journal that they thought their paper would fit into well.
The authors are waiting to hear if it’s been accepted.