I really HAVE been working on my PhD – pinkie promise!

This week I’ve managed to do most of what I set out to do, and work on my PhD analysis every day bar Wednesday.

However, naughty me: instead of doing new PhD analysis on Tuesday when I was at my friend’s house for study group, I put together yet another poster presentation. This time it was for the ISME conference in Greece. Posters are a bitch for qualitative researchers, as they are better for graphs and pictorial representation, rather than the findings from something like my study, which is ALL WORDS. Anyhoo, I’ve finished the poster (well before time) which is entirely unusual. Normally, my hubby claims, I dash around like a mad thing trying to get my poster organised the day before we fly out (sometimes while I’m overseas, too, which is even worse, in his opinion).

The poster was taken from findings in my PhD, so it’s not really so bad – I’ve revisited findings I can’t use in the PhD itself, and the data is lovely, rich stuff. I’m taking over some pre-printed information sheets too, which contain all the references and some extra information. Unusually for me, I’m all organised. But that’s because I wrote the paper late last year, and so all I’ve had to do is rearrange my diminishing word count into a meaningful poster that people can read from afar. It’s just that the findings are so wordy!

Now it’s back to that thing I’ve been doing all week: analysis of my narrative chapters into individual tables containing their dot-pointed values, beliefs, and practices. This is slightly boring but very useful, because it becomes big picture stuff simultaneously with the intricate stuff. How do I do it? Weeelllllll, I’ve used an iterative process. I basically read my narratives until I’m going mad. I find all the beliefs, values and practices and put them into the correct position in the tables. I read them through again. I find more values and beliefs I’d missed from the first time around. I put them in. I read my narratives AGAIN and do the same thing AGAIN. I check my tables for inconsistencies and repetition and remove the repetition and laugh at the inconsistencies. It’s perfectly ok to have inconsistencies from my participants. People are human and often change their minds. I’ve gone through all but one of my participant’s narratives now, and I’m nearly finished. This “distillation” of my data then is analysed for meta-themes and even though I’m not doing cross-case comparison (intrinsic case-studies tend not to), there are a few features that are similar in each case. These then become my findings in my discussion chapter, and help to redefine my literature review. It’s all starting to make some sort of sense now.

Problem is, it’s hard to sit down and do the work. It’s boring and time consuming, yet ridiculously satisfying. I tend to punish myself by not going for a walk or moving about or some such, so I stay glued to the computer raging at myself for checking FB yet again when I know I’ve only got one case to analyse. And I know I should go for a walk instead of checking my email, but I’M PUNISHING MYSELF. Blergh. I should just go to a yoga class already, but then I feel more guilty. So I stay, yet again, glued to my chair, frustrated, knotty and unfit. Oh well. I promise to go for a walk today. It’s Saturday, after all.



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