Knowing when I need to deviate from my schedule has proven to be one of the most important tools to understand in order to maintain my research momentum in the future. For the summer, my project was broken down into two stages. During the first, I read through The Tempest and Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. During the second, I read Othello by Shakespeare and The Knight of the Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont, following a similar approach to the texts as I did during the first half of my project: read and collect quotes, analyze the quotes, and, finally, look for similar themes concerning female spectatorship between the plays.
However, when transitioning between the plays, I was unsure of when to begin incorporating secondary research into my work. I decided that I would consult some sources between plays, so I paused before moving on to my analysis of The Knight of the Burning Pestle and Othello. One point of interest that I wanted to explore in secondary research was the meaning behind the name “Miranda,” the name of one of the main characters within The Tempest. Miranda is the main focus of my readings and analysis within the play, and I felt that finding scholarly sources that provided background information on her character formation, such as Shakespeare’s work concerning her name, would be helpful for my overall analysis of her character in the play. To begin this work, I needed to find dictionaries that either centered around the origin of names in general during the early modern period or names specifically in Shakespearean texts. Although, finding reliable texts, especially those that documented the Latin roots of her name that I was concerned with, ended up more challenging than I thought it would. I found that I needed to look at print sources instead of online sources, but to access those, I would need to wait for them to be shipped either to our campus library or ordered online. This altered my plan for my schedule, as I faced either waiting until I could get the secondary sources or moving to a different part of the project until I could get the dictionaries. However, discussions in my cohort about facing obstacles in our research and how to delegate time for different work when facing those obstacles such as not being able to access a reading helped me to know my next steps: beginning my preliminary reading for part two while waiting for the sources. This way I was able to use the time I had to not lose my momentum.
As the Brackenridge comes to a close, I appreciate the experience I was able to gain such as learning to sustain my workflow. As I move forward, I am getting ready to apply to graduate school this fall for doctoral programs in English Literature, and I hope to apply the time management skills for more independent style work such as research that I have worked on this summer to sustain my energy while preparing my applications.