Monday, September 17, 2012

Methodology Musings!

So all of my data (for both a day class and a night class) has been entered into tables that I created in Microsoft Word and now ... I start writing up my methodology chapter.  I have to admit that I feel a little disappointed that I don't already have this chapter DONE (I was hoping to have this finished at Dartmouth last month) but I hadn't realizing going into Dartmouth that I was going to be spending so much of my time ironing out my data categories and then figuring out how to make them work with the data that I had (copies of student essays).  So, I figured the smart thing to do would be to finish the data identification process that I made up during the seminar and see what "story" the data might tell me.  This, of course, will end up being the "Results" and "Analysis" chapters of my dissertation but I think this process also helped me fine-tune my thinking about the "Methodology" chapter -- how my whole darn research is actually designed in the first place.

This week I will focus 100% on the Methodology chapter -- I have a meeting with Dr M on Friday in Carbondale and I would love to bring her what I have so far (e.g. a completed chapter).  I know a big part of it is just sitting down and doing it -- I have tons of notes and scrapes of paper and I spent this evening pulling all of those together and reviewing what I need to do for this chapter:

The video above helped actually in just gathering my thoughts before I plunge into a marathon writing session!  I love the quotation that it starts with in terms of defining exactly what a methodology is -- "a philosophical stance of worldview that underlies and informs a style of research" (Sapsford, 2006, page 175).  I know that on one level I know what it is that I want to say (I have the notes to prove it!) but there is this bug sitting in my shoulder telling me that I can't do it.  Anyone have any bug spray?

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