This week my bete noir is the discussion chapter. I think I’ve found a way through by revisiting those pesky research questions, but the super structure has been eluding me. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a simple little journal article! A few themes! Findings that sit happily under headers! Less than 7000 words in total!
Now I’m sure you’re thinking, hang on, didn’t she have themes emerging from the data, like, weeks ago? Weeeellll, yes she did. And jolly good they were too. However, they didn’t fit very well with the superstructure and I hadn’t really signposted them very well in the literature. So in my discussion I’ve gone back to my research questions and not tried to be clever, merely clear. My findings are separated by case, then participant, then values and beliefs, then practices. So there. Plus there’s a bit at the end where I show that there are themes across cases emerging from the data.
And now that I’ve been returning to the literature some more I’m drawing the threads together between theory and findings. It’s adding words I don’t have, though.
I’m ignoring for a moment the still overblown and repetitive literature review, but already the thesis is calming down and beginning to take shape.
Most of the references are in the reference list, most of the in text citations are cited. I’m starting to look for transitional paragraphs that take the reader from one section to the next, signposting and clarifying the structure.
The discussion chapter is still hideous but I’m now a third of the way through. Looking good. Of course, the most horrible part of doing this is when I read something by someone else that is just perfectly written, and I want to weep a little because the work I’m doing is so gauche by comparison. Gulp. Sigh, pick self back up and remind myself it’s ok not to be perfect.