Although this week should mark my first week of actual Monroe research, I have already performed half of the interviews for my project. In April I visited Professor Golden at the Universitet i Oslo (University of Oslo) in Norway to conduct interviews of native Norwegian speakers. I had originally contacted Professor Golden about doing my interviews with her students not expecting a response, as had been my luck with Spanish professors. I was extremely fortunate that she responded almost immediately and was a great help in recruiting and arranging meetings with participants.
The day after I arrived in Oslo, I took the T-bane (metro) to the UiO Blindern campus early in the morning. There, Professor Golden met me and introduced me to two students of hers that had agreed to participate in my study. I interviewed them individually and collected my data, and then went to meet Professor Golden to discuss my project.
She was very helpful in discussing the possible angles from which I could approach my analysis, and briefed me on the background and usage of the particular dialect which I was researching (West Oslo Bokmål) as well as the prominence of English in Oslo/Norway. She gave me the names of several prominent Scandinavian phonological researchers that I might be interested in, and invited me to stay on the campus to solicit more participants.
Thus began the most difficult and frustrating portion of the interview process. I walked around a common area of the campus, asking students if they would be willing to participate in my study. Time and time again, the answer was always a polite but definitive ¨no.¨ Eventually one student graciously agreed to answer my questions, rounding out my third interview.
Having the opportunity to conduct my research in person- the interviews, the travel, the human interaction- is so much more rewarding than poring over books in a library. There is a kind of instant gratification that comes with being able to speak to someone about their first-person experiences living as a Norwegian in West Oslo that simply does not exist in hardback. I run a greater risk of encountering roadblocks by depending on what I like to call ¨the human element¨ to a certain extent, but I have found that so far it is greatly outweighed by the reward.