Masters Dissertation help

Hope you are doing well. (not sure if this is the correct section to post in)

Let me introduce myself. My Leonie, I’m a student at the University of Bath, and I’m currently doing an MA in Gender and politics.

To validate my degree, I need to write a dissertation paper, and my subject focuses on women within the military. The goal of my study will be to understand the differences and similarities of the experiences between women within the different parts of the military. This is the reason behind this post.

To complete my research, I will need to interview some people identifying themselves as female, at least 18years old, within any part or roles of the forces.

All the interviews will be anonymous, they will not touch subjects relative to work information, and will be protected by the signature of an approved consent form. The consent form will be prior approved by my supervisor, and yourself. If possible, any authorised interviews will be recorded, only if the interviewees agree upstream to the interview. These will be conducted in person outside the person’s workplace and will not disturb the good execution of their tasks.

If you are interested, please be in touch through this post.


MOD comment.

This appears to be a reasonable request for a reasonable topic. Treat it accordingly. The ban hammer awaits.

Any serving military considering participating will need to consider the implications and raising it with their chain of command.

Russ Abbot

As you are not doing a PhD but rather just a summer dissertation paper of a one year MA, I would not suggest that you incorporate an interview component into it at all. Your final result will be at best a collection of several diffuse anecdotal stories, which cannot themselves be part of the scope of your course (or paper).
If you intend to combine these with other statistical evidence that you may have gathered for your dissertation, the resulting recorded interviews could neither strengthen nor complement your dissertation case.
There must be a wealth of existing statistics relevant for your paper accrued over the last few decades and you would be best served in making appropriate reference to those. That would result in a much better paper for you. Go back and have a chat with your advisor.
Concur with @Russ Abbot above. At best, by limiting yourself to serving personnel, any research can only be valid at one moment in time, and I can say with absolute certainty that there is a gradient of change.

Although I am long retired, within my service (1986 through 2001), there were some notable differences between then and now.

  • The Women's Royal Army Corps often did not integrate with other units, and performed specific roles.
  • Women were paid less than male soldiers for the same roles.
  • Women who became pregnant were discharged.
  • Those who today identify as female but were born male would have been discharged for homosexuality.
  • Not too long before my service, such people would have been subject to detention before discharge.
  • WRAC was disbanded and women integrated into the wider Army, but disbarred from certain trades.

Given that changes occurred, and continued to occur after my service, it is a reasonable assumption that things will continue to change in the future. Therefore the experiences of currently-serving female personnel (or male ones, for that matter) are valid only at a point in time, and with no fixed point of reference, amount to commentary.
Not my bag or interest at all and something I might jokingly be derogatory about to colleagues (research using interviews), but perfectly normal for students to carry out qualitative research for MSc and BSc projects. Their supervisor will also no doubt be experienced enough to know what is an achievable project and that the markers are not after a paradigm shift.

As an aside to comments about qual, I lost out on two fairly decent jobs - one with Unilever as a sensory scientist and one with the RAF human factors team - the feedback in both instances was because I didn’t have any qualitative research experience. It’s a good skill to have and one that employers clearly want. It also provides a different slant, that you can’t capture with quant.

OP, good luck with your dissertation/data collection and well done on the maturity you have shown on this thread.
Have you looked at the MoD research ethics process/sought clearance to interview personnel as laid out in JSP536?

If yes, ignore the rest of this.

If no...

JSP536 - Defence Research involving human participants.

It may be that you don't need to pursue this clearance, but you must be certain that you don't need to - there are numerous MA, MSc and PhD students who've sought to interview serving personnel and who've found that they need to gain MODREC approval for their research as it involves human participants who are serving.

Part 2 of JSP 536 says (Annex 1A)

Is your project funded by the MOD, or does it involve MOD-employed staff or participants? Yes / No •

Review is required if any researchers or participants are funded (including paid) wholly or in part by the MOD, and the research is relevant to their MOD role or activities

It would appear that your research might involve MOD-employed participants (serving, CS, etc) and thus looking at the JSP and working out whether to apply or whether to interview veterans, etc.

As well as @The_Duke's sage point about serving personnel raising this with their chain of command, if someone in that chain of command has done the Advanced Command & Staff Course, after shuddering at the memory of the brief on MODREC which persuaded them to do their DRP on a historical topic instead, they will then lightly enquire whether the researcher has MODREC approval...
Good morning to you all,
Thank you so much for the constructive feedback and information you gave me on this thread. They are going to be really helpful for my dissertation.

I won't be stubborn, if my research reveals itself not to be possible, I'll have to change it, right now I still think that it has potential, and I have a weekly meeting with my supervisor, that has a lot of experience as a researcher.

I hope you all have a lovely day

Did they really conflate the two? (what you identify as, and who you're sexually attracted to (if anyone).)

It was a different outlook back then. I am sure we can both imagine the RSM’s response if Tpr Bloggs put in a request to have a sex change and wear skirts to work in 1980.

What I find interesting is that given the current situation where that is not particularly unusual, and that the demographic that join the Army hasn’t particularly changed, there must have been many repressed individuals who really did want to wear skirts to work. It was just not possible, and to even mention it would have been a career-ending moment.


What I find interesting is that given the current situation where that is not particularly unusual, and that the demographic that join the Army hasn’t particularly changed, there must have been many repressed individuals who really did want to wear skirts to work. It was just not possible, and to even mention it would have been a career-ending moment.
The non-repressed ones all joined the Royal Marines and did it on weekends for fun :D

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