This research project was launched in August 2016 with funding from the Qatar National Research Fund and it is planned to run until July 2019. The initial phase of the project in the first three months involved the project’s team members designing research methodologies that are compatible and adaptable to the Arab Gulf region both socially and culturally.
Having set up a solid foundation for this three-year research project, the research tasks are being implemented on schedule as follows:
- A process of reviewing the literature began from the start and is still ongoing. Thus far, four preliminary literature reviews have been produced on national identity and museums in the region.
- Team members have delivered training in qualitative research methods to eight student research assistants from University College London Qatar, Northwestern University Qatar, and Qatar University. As a result of this training, the student research assistants have been involved in conducting semi-structured interviews with Qatari nationals and expatriates about their perceptions and expectations of the new national museum and museums in Qatar more generally. This process has been ongoing from January 2017 till present.
- A telephone survey of 1000 Qatari nationals and 500 expatriates was conducted and is now complete with many interesting and relevant findings. This survey offers the research team and the wider public big data that can inform them of social trends in Qatari society, the museum experience in Qatar, and public expectations of museums in Qatar.
- A process of media content analysis to measure official and public opinions and attitudes had commenced in November 2017. Events such as the Qatar National Day, Dhow Festival, and Art for Tomorrow had been covered and reports on this have been produced. This involved motoring social and conventional media, or old and new media preceding, during, and after each event.
- A set of focus groups have been planned for and are ready to commence this May 2017.
Cumulatively, the above research methods allow for multiple layers of data analysis and for a rigorous validation of research findings.