I started researching the eclipse experience in 2010, when I applied my expertise in phenomenological research to explore the total eclipse experience – an event that is very emotional, and often indescribable.
This research has helped to understand the unique totality experience. During lectures and when engaging in the media, I am able to speak not only from personal experience, but I draw upon the surveys and interviews I have undertaken with hundreds of people about their eclipse experience. I can then generalise this material and speak from the perspective of a psychologist.
I have since gone on to develop a full research program including the eclipse experience and community eclipse planning. My eclipse research program is used to inform and develop strategies for effective eclipse outreach and planning, rather than theoretical exploration. For example, my research has allowed for a greater clarity in communicating about the eclipse experience. I have identified communication barriers that hinder the awareness about the total eclipse experience. My eclipse research has fully informed the guidance on community eclipse planning.
Interested in supporting my research?
This may take the form of sponsoring a project, providing a time-limited bursary, facilitating a writing residential, or other creative ways of support that are mutually beneficial. Get in touch, or consider making a donation.
MY RESEARCH BACKGROUND
My eclipse research programme is grounded in the phenomenological approach, and as I am a highly qualified academic with specialist expertise in phenomenological methods. This means that this research is far more rigorous than any journalist simply interviewing people briefly about their experiences.
I am an expert in Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). I spent 10 years using this approach in health settings. I developed an extensive research network of postgraduate IPA researchers in Northern Ireland, hosting regular meetings for over 10 years. I also hosted a national conference in the UK in IPA in 2007. I have supervised around 15 postgraduate research projects using this approach, and have acted as thesis examiner. I peer review IPA research for a number of journals and also do private web consultations for those doing IPA regardless of location. I remain connected to using IPA, and am the IPA research contact for Australia, working to develop a network of researchers.
I do as much as I can to disseminate my eclipse research in order to reach a wide audience – through lectures, writing, and consulting.
The outputs for my independent research program include three books, published articles, conference presentations, and a White Paper. My future plans are to include video and documentary outputs.
As I do my research with no funding, no resources and at my own personal expense, I am limited to what I can do and how I can disseminate the findings. However, there is very strong interest in the research I undertake.