All entries for Monday 06 June 2005

June 06, 2005

Research objectives

These are only rough working objectives and I will no doubt refine them later (I hope so!), but I have to start somewhere, besides blind panic which is all I've managed for the past… 24 years.

Aim: To examine the barriers to employment (perceived and actual) faced by unemployed, middle-aged men.


  1. To evaluate official surveys and literature about opportunities and barriers to work for males aged 50+.

  2. To review the sociological literature in the areas of masculinities, ageing and work.

  3. To examine the perceptions of barriers to employment of a small group of unemployed men aged 45+.

  4. To review how these findings compare to sociological theories of masculinities.

  5. To draw conclusions about perceived and actual barriers to employment for this gender and age group.


  1. Secondary analysis of official surveys and reports (Labour Force Survey, Census, DWP Reports). Part 1 of lit review (ch 2).

  2. Secondary analysis of articles, books and journals focussing on: masculinities and work (+ brief history of labour market and masculinities?), age(ism) and work, unemployment. Part 2 of lit review (ch 3).

  3. Primary data collected through participant observation (summer school), questionnaires and/or interviews. Methodology chapter (ch 4) and results (ch 5, 6).

  4. Analysis – a comparison of my findings (primary research) with the 'official' governmental literature. A further comparison between my findings and the state of sociological knowledge re: masculinities, ageing and unemployment. Suggestions for further research? (ch 7)

  5. Conclusions (ch 8)

Yes. So, um, right… I have to go and do some of those things now, don't I?

Panthers don't roar… sometimes they chirp or peep*

Have spent the day contending with a herd (collective noun?) of flirtatious panthers. What a set of charmers! So much for being the impartial ‘objective’ researcher… but then we don’t much like positivistic detachment much in Gender Studies anyway (besides which I didn’t flirt back so it’s probably ok).

Took a lot of notes and ran around making photocopies of teaching materials. Jon decided to completely rework the schedule 5 minutes before the session was due to start, which was nice of him, though not entirely unexpected.

We ended up doing an ice-breaker exercise with them in pairs, someone from the Skills Centre talked about utilising university facilities, and Jon did a ‘who am I?’ type skills exercise. In the afternoon Pat talked about the PDP and Larissa did a SWOT analysis with them in small groups, which brought out various issues concerning their position in relation to the current job market – to be explored further in the session tomorrow morning.

I stayed with the group for the whole day, including lunch time, and had a really good day. Felt useful and engaged and worthwhile for a change. Came away with that teaching buzz, something I haven’t felt for over a year, even though I hadn’t even been leading the sessions. Now thinking that maybe I should have applied for PGCE. Ho hum.

I’m not sure that any of the above can really be classified as ‘academic-related’. Furthermore, if this is the kind of rambling that will constitute my (EVIL BASTARD) dissertation, then I’m in serious trouble. Got to write up my notes anyway before I forget everything that sounded vaguely relevant.

*use ful less fact from

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