Finding a working hypothesis

A hypothesis is probably one of the most basic sentences you can write in a research document. Yet, it took me months to arrive at mine. Here’s why.

My story somewhat began in December 2017. It was when a random idea started to take shape — producing a publication from the Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Mumbai. The process was tedious and slow but in the end, we were able to produce an edition for February 2018. Eventually, it came to a point where expansion became key and students from KPB Hinduja College of Commerce were roped in.

Eager to learn more about self-publishing and magazines, they came to the Department on each Saturday of May 2018. I was the person responsible for bringing it all together and it would be safe, I had absolutely no clue as to what I was doing. Assuming the role of a teacher has been the toughest gig I have found myself in, until today, at least. Anyhow, it happened. They were able to produce an edition for June 2018.

Both the magazines, The Revolver (Department) and The Rhetoric (Hinduja) shut down after seven (five in print) and three editions respectively. It was a learning process like no other, helped me understand the nuances of self-publishing. The failure was heart-breaking though. There were a number of reasons for it. It was a terrible phase. The idea to do my dissertation on how the magazines came about, was something I had in mind for a long time, but this glitch, mind-numbing failure, halted everything in tracks.

It was important to document the experience but equally difficult to put it into words. Had the publications blossomed, the writing would have come pouring out, happy words. But here I was, with two failed publications, letting down a number of people, trying to make sense of it all. It took months, a lot of non-sensical writing, a conference where I presented a half-baked paper and three colloquiums for me to arrive at a working hypothesis for my action research:

Title: The use of self-publishing as a pedagogical tool

Working hypothesis: Self-publishing can be used as a pedagogical tool to teach media students about the various aspects of print media and production.

The process to reach here was a tough one but also that gave me a tonne of stories. And, this is literally just the beginning of my dissertation thesis, which is due in a month’s time. I hope to document the process the best I can, here, for and with you all. So, buckle up, okay?

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