Synthesizing the research

I have been working on the research component of this project for several weeks now, and I’m pretty much at the end of that phase. It’s time to figure out how to organize the vast quantities of information I’ve acquired. I have to admit, it was somewhat daunting to contemplate turning my various documents and spreadsheets full of notes and quotes into a comprehensive and properly organized research paper.

In order to create an outline, I had to return to the original research question: what makes a diva? Over the past few weeks of researching, certain themes had begun to emerge, and whenever I noticed one, I jotted it down (I know better than to trust my own memory for these things). So, first I went back through my notes to compile all of these assorted notes. From there, I was able to make a list of what my research has indicated makes a successful diva; then I sorted my list into categories. I came up with three main categories: 1) the voice, consisting of technique and natural ability, 2) technical skills, consisting of sight reading and piano, languages, and acting, and 3) personal qualities, including intelligence, charisma, musical communication, and business sense. With this outline in hand, I had a much better sense of where the paper was headed, and how to incorporate notes and quotes as well as my own original thoughts.

It was interesting for me to watch the paper’s structure take shape. Of course, some of these categories, like vocal technique, are fairly obvious, and had been part of my original plan. Others, like business sense and to a large extent charisma as well, grew organically from the research as multiple sources repeatedly described the same phenomena. Overall, I’m very excited about what this paper is shaping up to be, and I hope I can do justice to this complex and multi-faceted issue.


  1. enlottes says:

    I’m excited to see your final decision on what makes a diva. It must be difficult to try and quantify your findings on this topic since things like music and success are so hard to define in the first place! Can’t wait to see what you discover.

  2. Hi Anna! This looks like your final product will be pretty interesting, as enlottes said. From the sounds of this post, and your previous post, it seems like ‘diva’ is a term somewhat limited to high-brow opera singers, such as Pavaroitti and the likes of Rene Fleming–so is genre going to be one of your big distinguishing factors, or a box to check? Because, to play devil’s advocate, I doubt most people would call Chris Martin or Ed Sheeran or, heck, Jay-Z a ‘diva’, but these musical giants probably would check most of the criteria you mentioned. So I’m assuming that genre and maybe some kind of personality traits go into the diva-ism. Sounds like this could almost be an intersection of physiology, music, and psychology! I’m very keen to see what you conclude!

  3. Thanks, requinn! You make a very good point, one I had that I ran into pretty early on and so ended up addressing in my paper. The issue is that “diva” can have two definitions, with the first referring to great classical musicians, and the second describing vain, self-centered, egotistical…you know the stereotype. For the purposes of my paper, I decided it would be easier to use two separate words. I used “diva” for the artist, and “prima donna” for the bad attitude. Using these definitions, Jay-Z is definitely a prima donna, but I purposely restricted diva to opera. If I had tried to address the artistic giants in all genres of music, this project would never be done!