Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back (and forth) in Prague

I had a marathon-session of interviewing today. Figuratively and also sort of literally, since I had to go from one end of central Prague to the other and back to meet with people this afternoon/evening. All of my contacts fell into place today and the appointments were back to back in various (and not always adjacent) parts of the city. I met mainly with students from Charles University here in Prague, plus one other Czech guy from the website (I found him in the section for language exchanges or tandems; you see, I recorded an interview with him, then he got to practice his English with me for an hour).

I originally intended to pay the students from Charles University. That’s how I thought I had recruited five students – by enticing them with cash. The contacts were through my summer school teacher, who I had been e-mailing back and forth with about my research for a few weeks. In the end, I thought she had gotten volunteers for me by telling them I would pay 100 crowns (about $5) for an interview. However, after the first two people refused the money in a slightly shocked manner, I stopped trying to pay. So… I used the money to buy Christmas presents for my nieces instead.

My grand total is 26 interviews. This may not seem like much, but it’s a beautiful, precious, glorious number to me… that is, considering both my low expectations for the research and my low estimation of my fieldwork skills. And I’m pleased that I was able to record Czechs of widely varying ages and levels of education, in addition to finding people from opposite ends of the Czech Republic. And now I have a much better idea of how to recruit research participants, as well as how I would go about organizing this kind of research in the future. In short, a successful pilot research trip.

Since all of these interviews were scheduled for today, I was able to do things aside from “work” yesterday. I’m proud to report that I finally made it to the opera. It was the very same opera - Don Giovanni - that premiered in Prague in 1787. It was even in the very same theater - the Estates Theater - where it premiered. I was not disappointed with Mozart's work. My entertainment was largely facilitated by the subtitles (or rather, supertitles, since they were above the stage) in English and Czech (since it was sung in the original Italian).

This is the outside of the Stavovské Divadlo, the Estates Theater:

Here’s my view of the stage when I was leaning back in my seat:

When I leaned forward, I could see the orchestra pit:


A said...

i thought you were coming home on the 18th? are you still there?

congrats on all the interviews!

iwanagain said...

I think 26 sounds awesome. This is the most I've ever heard you "talk" about "work." Maybe field work is your forte. Although I think you might need an assistant next time for scheduling. And this really is a hint, hint!

You're sweet to think of the girls. Talk soon!

Julia M. said...

Oh, I desperately need an assistant. It's too bad you have to pay them.