Oyster Update – Feb 2018

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So you thought the oysters went dormant? Never you fear, this busy grad student is here to update you.

The crowdfunding campaign we ran was successful and helped add $700 to my research budget! I have to sheepishly admit I didn’t as of yet get around to recording my oyster “ted talk” as a busy semester got the best of me, but with the help of my friend and collaberator, Natelle of Natelledrawsstuff.com, we sent out some very cool stickers and postcards.

Though it did come with some challenge, I’ve also been able to accrue a small collection of interviews and am starting to analyze my results. Here’s a little detail on both these aspects:

I’ve collected:

  • 5-6 informal interviews to give me context while developing interview questions
  • 11 formal interviews, one of which had 3 interviewees for a total of 13 participants

Some of these were with local fishermen and fishing guides, some were with commercial oystermen, and some were with other individuals who occasionally harvested oysters in a non-commercial setting.

So what happens next you ask? Now I start to pull out themes and central ideas I see occurring within my interview transcripts and notes. We call this kind of approach qualitative content analysis, and the process of identifying and categorizing themes is referred to as “coding”. I will develop a codebook starting with the ideas I might expect to see based on prior studies, not surprisingly referred to as “expected codes”, and add the concepts that emerge during closer analysis of the interviews or “emergent codes”. Transcripts will be examined several times in order to refine the codebook. I can then start to develop ideas about how these groups may differ or be similar in their perspectives on oysters in the regions.

I will be presenting some preliminary results at upcoming meetings and conferences, but full analysis may take a little time. I may also try to add another interview or two to round out the ideas I’m seeing and to make sure I’m capturing most of the key people within this community. Stay Tuned for additional updates as I get further into this process!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8/3/17 Oyster Update – Word of Mouth

 

Robert de Gast Chesapeake Bay photos
Oysterman on the Chesapeake – Photo Credit: Robert De Gast

Thanks in part to the generosity of donors to my crowdfunding campaign, I’ve started the process of listening to fishermen and oystermen in St. Augustine and nearby!

In order to capture different ideas and access multiple types of people, I am using a technique commonly called snowball sampling. Every time I interview someone, either formally or informally, I ask them who else I should be talking to. The idea is that eventually there will be enough overlap in the answers you’re getting that you know you are starting to capture the population you’re interested in.  This approach is known to have some drawbacks in that it can be challenging to not talk exclusively to people who think similarly to one another. However, when your target populations are small, this method may be the most effective way of accessing them.

While not giving too much away, I’ll also say that I’m already noticing some common themes in the answers I’m hearing to my questions which is exciting. I’m learning interesting details about what fishermen and oystermen look for in reefs. One of the most enjoyable aspects however, is the extra details that are being shared, the personal history and anecdotes people are peppering in with their responses. The experience of local oyster roasts has been mentioned, with each telling rich in explanation about methods of cooking and cultural significance. Stories about growing up on the local waterways abound as well. This kind of research is affording me a chance to really root around and understand the complexity of ways these groups are identifying with this resource, and I’m excited to have the opportunity.

Keep an eye on my blog for continued updates on all things oyster!

Depth of Field #3: She’s a Mysterious Kind of Ship

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Photo Credit: Carrie Schuman

The Venezellos is propped up and displayed down a lonely side street in the Florida Panhandle town of Apalachicola. Online searches reveal little about its past lives, and it’s likely one would have to make a note to ask the local residents to find out much at all.

However, perhaps she has general significance of the fishing legacy Apalachicola and many other coastal Floridian towns share.

While the boat has never been completely repaired/restored, perhaps in order to retain original planking and materials, it’s clearly received a fresh coat or two of paint since 2011 when Grant Blakeney posted the following photo on his blog:

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A google search of the name “Venezellos” suggests a spelling correction of Venizelos which is characterized as a Greek surname, one that has been associated with several well known Greek politicians. This finding only seems to deepen the mystery and enigmatic nature of this remarkable nod to the past.