Project Proposal

What can different cultures and my own personal experiences abroad teach me about marriage?

Here is a video of me talking through the nuts and bolts of my initial proposed field study project around the world with my new husband as I research the above question. This video explains what I am doing, how I plan to do it, and why.

Purpose of the Project:

The intent of my project is do to a parallel study of my first year of marriage while doing a loose ethnography of marriage around the world to create a book-length, creative nonfiction product.

Between life experiences, pop culture, and scholarly sources, there is a lot written on what makes good marriage. Did any of them get it right? I have more research to do, particularly from scholarly sources, but a gap I am noticing is that it almost entirely focuses on Western marriages. Could international perspectives help? I think so. Some preliminary research is listed to the right.


How I plan to enter the community and gather information is in the slides to the right. Staying with host families will help me find adult participants and friends to help with the project. I plan to use a variety of methods, mainly relying on informal to semi-formal interviews with questions such as "What are three things that make a good marriage? Why?" and "What are three things that make a bad marriage? Can people fix it? How?" and other questions on the slide.

This slide shows an outline of my project starting from my marriage (August 15, 2014) to the estimated time I plan to stay in the field (visiting South America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe) for around 9 months depending on funding, as well as the timeline for my final product to be complete (around spring 2016).

Marriage is a very sensitive subject which poses a lot of risk to research. I have a proactive plan to help minimize some of the risks by doing my cultural research, being sensitive, preserving confidentiality, building rapport, and ensuring that the people who I talk to know this is 100% voluntary. Other concerns like funding, timelines, and research challenges are also noted in the slide with plans to work with whatever comes up.

Final Product:
To write a book-length, creative nonfiction project that is either a collection of travel essays (mainly from my personal experiences) or a piece organized by stories and "advice" I encounter.

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