On That One Phrase, or Missing the Hunt of Research

I miss research. I miss writing up research. I miss getting a topic and combing through boxes and files and thousands upon thousands of lines of text to find that one phrase bringing everything together. I miss pouring through records to create an image of a time and place. I miss the search. I miss the hunt. I miss the rush I’d get when reading and writing, and the way the world seemed to stop while I put pen to paper and finger to key.

I miss it.

Even while researching topics I had little to no personal interest in (as was often the case), the process of research was an entertaining, enlightening, and engaging endeavor.

I miss it so very much.

There’s only so much mommy research I can do without going nuts: field trips, pediatricians, reading lists, science experiment topics. They’re all worthy endeavors, but the search — the hunt — doesn’t give me the same oomph. I can find a Yelp review that convinces me to make an appointment with Dentist B over Dentist A, and I’ll be happy that I have a good dentist. But it won’t give me the same satisfaction I’d get when gathering data from rarely seen records and locating that one phrase hidden among a dozen folders that supports — or outright confirms! — a given thesis; that one bit of evidence that brings everything together, or tears it all down. I loved tearing down myths, by the way. Using archival records to shred a patron’s fictive view of things…. It just made this cold-hearted bitch internally squee.

Mostly, I miss the research that seemed just so… open. “What do you have on the history of this?” “Tell me about the planning of that.” “Is there anything on the materials read by so-and-so when this thing happened?” I miss not knowing what to expect.

So, I’m making my own research project. I intend to submit a request to review material in the Hank Kaplan Boxing Archive, housed at Brooklyn College. The subject is on sports promotion, more specifically the intersection of boxing and wrestling promotion (if you have a sturdy ring and a venue, why not promote both, right?), in the early- to mid-twentieth century at Madison Square Garden. I’m sure that others have studied and published on this topic, but this Kaplan collection is still rather fresh to the world of research and I’m interested in what it might have on the matter. Plus, I’m a boxing fan and, holy shit, this is the largest boxing archive AND it’s nearby.

What’s the end product? Blog posts. A few. And I hope you’ll enjoy them.


3 thoughts on “On That One Phrase, or Missing the Hunt of Research

  1. OH! I could have written this. (Well, except for the Mommy research, because that’s not “research” as you aptly note.) But THIS: “Using archival records to shred a patron’s fictive view of things…. It just made this cold-hearted bitch internally squee.” YES!!

    The one thing no one told me about changing jobs was how little time I’d have to do any research (the obsessive dog on the hunt kind) again.


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