I have a research problem that, improbably enough, is susceptible to empirical information. What I want to know is this: how perceptible are line-endings (and by extension the identity of lines themselves) in regular and somewhat irregular Spanish verse,, whether rhymed, assonantally rhymed, or unrhymed? How perceptible is rhyme herself and how does the presence, absence of rhyme affect this? Obviously, line endings are very perceptible when you look at them on the page. I mean when someone is hearing authentic performances without looking at a text.
So obviously I need the following: enough authentic performances of enough poets. By authentic I mean here nothing too profound. An authentic performance is one by the poet him or herself, or one arising out of the same cultural context of the poet. What I don't want to do, for example, is have the research subjects listen to me reading the texts out loud.
Secondly, research subjects, human beings willing to participate. i need at least two groups, one more expert than the other.
Thirdly, I need a protocol. What are these subjects going to do to demonstrate their perception or non-perception of line-endings? Take a test or questionnaire? How should this be designed to really answer the question I am posing?
I need a method of interpreting the data, making sense of what I have found so that it will be valid and meaningful. I need to know what to do if the data pull strongly in one direction or the other. I need to find a way of defeating my own biases.
I also need a rationale for why I am doing the study. What is the question behind the question? What are the implications, the consequences? So what?
The funny thing here is that, though I haven't ever done anything like this, and don't know how in technical terms, I at least know some of the elements that would go into a study like this. I would be suspicious of my own ability to make it scientifically valid.