Something I wish I had done at the start of my EE process is conducted more in-depth research about the broader topic before trying to narrow my research question. I originally started with a specific mental illness I wanted to investigate in relation to the Theatre of the Oppressed but when I started my further research, I realised there were no studies relating the two narrow topics and so I had to broaden my research question again. This helped me as I was able to gain a wider understanding of the whole topic and choose the area within that which I was most interested in. In this way, being open about changing my research question really helped me to choose topics which I would both enjoy researching and find sufficient information on without the pressure of having to stay within the confines of a narrow topic.
Archive of ‘Extended Essay Reflection Space’ category
Through broader research about Theatre of the Oppressed, I concluded that focusing on internal oppressions instead of mental illnesses fits more with the applications of Boal’s theory. My supervisor suggested I find empirical research to support my essay; however, I realised that due to the abstract nature of theatre and its psychological impact, the most evidence I would be able to find is anecdotal. I contacted Theatre of the Oppressed companies to ask for accounts of their progress although very few responded. I was able to find testimonies from workshops and learn a bit more about determining whether or not a workshop was successful or not and looked into other approaches to overcoming internal oppressions such as using TO in Medical Humanities courses which I think adds an important element to my research. My supervisor advised that I should outline more clearly what types of internal oppressions I am exploring and what made individuals vulnerable to these oppressions.
So far, I have learned much about the EE process. What I have especially realised today was that although I may not have fully consolidated my research question, it is important for me to be able to adapt my approach to the task. This is because as I learn new information about my topic through my research, I am able to understand more about the direction that I want my Extended Essay to have.
Today, I’m proud that I was able to accumulate information from many different sources as opposed to simply using one source.
To continue my process, I will continue to try and narrow my research question using information that I have learned so that I can explore a certain aspect further and in more detail.
I initially wanted to do a world studies EE with psychology and drama because these are the subjects in which I find the concepts are interesting and highly applicable. One link I found was dramatherapy for mental illnesses however, I found it would be possible to analyse this topic from only a theatre angle, perhaps in more depth. My research started with broader thinking about different types and variations of dramatherapy historically. I tried to narrow my research question by researching mental illnesses. I briefly learned about borderline personality disorder which intrigued me as it wasn’t a very commonly known mental illness. Therefore, research into this would expand my knowledge. However, I wasn’t able to find many different sources of information on dramatherapy for borderline personality disorder and I realised I couldn’t explore this topic from multiple views with varied, verifiable sources. I have since decided to try and redirect my thinking by going back to broad research about dramatherapy.