A new direction - 15 March 2008

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While I was trying to collect information on how prevalent the portable music data player was in Campus for Christ and how these devices influenced how they viewed music, much of the results that I have collected speak not specifically on portable music data players and their interaction with this group, but rather how this group views music in general and its suitability based on said influence. The questions that they gave much information on are how music influences them as a whole; how they determine the suitability of a piece of music for various purposes; and the role of music in their club activities.

The portable music data player will still be a significant part of the research, but it will no longer be at the centre, considering that information concerning the PMDP is constantly changing, and the definition of such is also constantly changing. For instance, how portable must a PMDP be? Laptops are certainly portable, but would they count or should it be restricted to iPod-like devices? What types of data storage are acceptable? Solid-state, certainly, and hard drives, for sure, but what about MP3 CDs and the like? Does music have to be the central use of the device? Most phones feature music as a capability, but the storage for such can also easily be used for saving messages, photos, and videos. The more that the problem is looked into, the bigger the problem becomes, and it does not help matters any that each person has a different idea for what qualifies in each of these categories.

The new purpose, therefore, shall be to determine how C4C views music and how it shapes their society by looking at inclusion/exclusion based on certain categories (such as Christian or non-Christian), roles that are acceptable for each of these categories, and the issue of genre as a potential divider. For instance the genres they include is an emic trait that is defined by the people comprising the group as a means of communication between them. What is used in their worship is different from other churches in terms of both space and time.

It is not uncommon for a focus to change when data starts to accumulate. Sometimes, as in Nigel Barley's The Innocent Anthropologist, a direction cannot be found at all until a great amount of time is spent among the culture. Recognizing this change is as important as answering one's initial questions and those that follow.