I’ve embarked on stage three of my data generation process and I found myself the other day feeling invigorated about my research, which is a strange thing to say given that the underlying assumption of PhD students is that they’re overly passionate about their research all the time. The truth is, or rather in my case, I remain passionate about my area of research and at the same time I do get tired of keeping a constant focus.
And so, distractions in the form of administrative mountains, teaching duties and other things have crept into the picture that, for a while, my focus was away from my PhD data and on other things. Sure, there is always the reading pile to chip away at, but the actual down-and-dirty work of managing my data was absent for a while. I needed the space away from generating data, considering that’s all I did for three months in 2011. Everyday. Literally…planning, writing, emailing, interviewing, recording, thanking, follow up-ing. That’s near on 90 days of generating data.
That was before Christmas and I was feeling rather panicky about moving onto stage 3 because, frankly, I didn’t feel confident about restorying my participants narratives from the different data sets that were generated. Theoretically I understood the concept of restorying and how it’s applicable to this particular piece of research but for the most part, I just wasn’t mentally ready to give the narratives the attention it needed. So, I put it to one side for a bit.
That time away has helped to re-orientate my thinking and I’m feeling a bit clearer about what this this stage involves. With that mindset I began work using the data from my first participant and, as I re-read their story I was reminded that there are actual people involved in my research and that this story on paper and on the recording belongs to a living, breathing individual who had something to say. It reminded me that there are other people who have a vested interest in this research, perhaps not directly, but the implications are there. As I got more involved in preparing the data for this stage,I felt more enthusiastic about moving forward, slowly, one case at a time.