Where to collect data from

In this short post I just want to quickly jot down what I’ve been told during the talk couple days ago in terms of where to get the data from for the dissertation while in Japan. Apart from the fact that the primary sources will have to be in Japanese, all the professors actually shared few tips on how to collect data and where to get it from. I will be working with my notes so whatever is written here might seem disjointed, but at the end of the day it is only meant to serve as a remainder.

So the first that I come across in the notes is recorded interviews (e.g. with NGOs, local organizations,…) and questionnaires. I remember there was a short discussion about qualitative versus quantitative, pros and cons of both methods, but in my case I have already decided to do recorded interview as part of data collection. I plan to do that during the pilgrimage and hopefully I will manage to talk to not only other henro but also priests at temples. Also, it reminds me about an article that the lecturer of Religion in Japan passed onto me when she found out that I would like to that. It’s called All Research is Fieldwork: A Practical Introduction to Studying in Japan as a Foreign Researcher by Levi McLaughlin. In fact, I am in the middle of reading so there is definitely a review coming up about it.

The next note mentions CiNii. It is a search tool, similar to Google Scholar, but with this one I’ll have to search in Japanese. I mean it does have the English version as well, but considering the fact that the primary sources have to be Japanese, it’s not like I am left much choice. The website sometimes allows pdf download, sometimes it shows the libraries (in Japan) where the text can be found and borrow. Quite useful, I think. I can’t want to test it out once in Japan.

For some reason I have double underlined 近代デジタルライブラリー, but after Google searching it, I either meant this one or I forgot to jot down the details thinking at that time that I will definitely remember it. Well, obviously not, but never mind. I guess it’s worth preserving this seemingly meaningless note.

Just quickly going back to the interview, I have a note on oral history with on arrow pointing to ‘interview people who might give you that info’. Hmm, I guess, I was thinking about talking to the priests and see if they know any legend tied to their temple. After all, that can be considered an oral history as well, even though I am most likely to find it written down in leaflets at the temple that I am more that obliged to take. Considering the note following this one, I shouldn’t expect to get answers straight away. What I wrote is ‘might take time to get someone willing to talk about their practice’. Probably referring to pilgrim rather than priests, but it’s good to know.

The last page of notes lists places specific for religious studies research and include RIRC which stands for Religious Information Research Centre based in Tokyo. I did note down that there is need to register which costs around 1000 yen but as far as I remember the lecturer said that once that is done, if I ever have a request for something specific they will find and deliver it to me. If I am not mistaken, they collect magazines, books and basically anything ever written on religion that is not an academic journal. Which brings me to the next note that says JJRS. This one stands for Japanese Journal of Religious Studies. I have used this website before and have to say that it is fabulous! Despite the fact that navigation around it might be rather confusing at times, and whenever I wanted to download some content, I was asked to log in into my university account, which is understandable as these guys certainly don’t want just anyone to download the whole content at risk of someone using it as their work or something along those lines. And the last one is actually a book called Nanzan Guide to Japanese Religion. I don’t own this book (yet) as it costs a bit of a fortune, but it was recommended to me many times. So if any of you guys actually have it, or have read it, feel free to let me know what you thought about it and reassure me that if I get it, I won’t regret it.

And that’s it, the end of my notes and nothing else to add. The rest in the notepad is just some gibberish about ideas, what I could do and stuff and that clearly does not belong in this post. Anyway, time for me to go and do some proper work.

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