Monday, September 24, 2007

Just Four More...or so

I completed my tenth interview last Friday, and it went really well. I'm getting a good variety of information from these interviews, which is good. Variety is helpful. Sure, some of the comments go entirely against the direction I see this study going, but a grounded theory is grounded in the data themselves and not in my crazy mind.

I'm hoping for only about four more interviews before I start hearing similar answers again. These all need to be women due to the fact that I've had far too many men in the sample. That sort of made me laugh...normally I'd think I'd have the opposite problem of trying to find male participants, but that's not the case here.

Oh yeah, I may have found a more affordable way to get help with transcribing interviews. When I told a friend about the cost of the estimate I received last week, she suggested another mutual friend we both know who would be perfect. I think she'll be interested in the study as well...were she still in college, she could be one of the participants. We shall see. While in theory I want to do the transcriptions myself to get into the data some more, realistically if I want to finish anytime soon, I really should ask for some help.

This weekend I started writing out descriptions of each participant along with my own reactions to the interviews. These descriptions/reactions should be helpful in the long run for the data-collection process. I figure I can share them with the transcription person, too, so she'll have an idea of what to listen for when typing out the interviews.

I'm looking forward to putting on my swim trunks and getting completely saturated in the data, sorta like jumping into a big lake. Let's hope the lake itself has clear water and not too much seaweed obscuring my view.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm back

I've been away from Active Dissertationland for a while. I suppose my visit to Passive Dissertationland was still within the country of Scholar Wannabe, but it's probably on a slower moving creek instead of a faster-flowing river toward Destination Completion...Ah, enough with the BS and colorful descriptions.

After spending some time working, and (frankly) spinning my wheels on, some of the other articles I still need to incorporate into my literature review, I have finally started recruiting participants again for my study. And it's going OK. A few of them were referred to me by a senior colleague who was not certain of their eligibility for the study. About half of them are not eligible, but the other three are. Two of those three have responded as "yes, I'd like to participate," so I'll interview one tomorrow and the other a week from tomorrow. All interviews will take place in SCT, so I need to make sure I have enough fuel in the Jetta tonight. When I'm done writing this post, I'll gather together more tapes, batteries, study information sheets, questionnaires, and interview protocols to get my ass in gear again. After I complete these next two interviews, then I only have about two more left. I still have a few more leads here & there to more participants, so hopefully (fingers crossed while knocking on wood) I'll finish up the data collecting, and trips to SCT, very soon.

Yesterday I spoke with a company that specializes in doing transcriptions of qualitative research interviews. I just may pay them to do some of these transcriptions for me. It'll cost some money, but oh the time that will be saved. We'll see. They're located in SCT, but I hear mail is delivered down there :-) , so perhaps I won't need to travel back and forth too much if I indeed employ their services.

I'm really, REALLY, looking forward to the data analysis of this research. For me, that's the best part about the entire process. It's been frustrating not having much control over when I can conduct the interviews. But once they are completed, then it'll all be about me getting the analysis done on my own. The balance between this work and "work" work will be tough, but the crunch time is temporary. I honestly don't know if I'm more excited about doing the data analysis or the prospect of finishing the dissertation. Perhaps I'm equally excited for both. Seems pretty healthy to me.

Oh yeah, I want to share a funny tidbit. I almost forgot to send an amendment to The Office of The Protection of Human Subjects. Because of our move to Large State Capital, I have to update my address and phone number on the Study Information Sheet and the standardized e-mails I use to recruit participants. Seems silly that I need to complete paperwork, get DC's signature, and send stuff to Human Subjects just to update these sheets that people will hardly read, but I am a rule follower with these things. Study # 07- 11947 will be compliant. Note the mandatory space between the hyphen and the 1. I wouldn't want something as major as a new address and phone number, or a missing space character, to have a negative effect on "the risk:benefit ratio for subjects." I'm not making this up, you know: I truly had to say whether or not the change to my address & phone number would impact this ratio.

Enough. Bottom line, I'm glad to be back to my scholarly journey. Now it's time, once again, to clean the office/prison and to get materials ready for tomorrow's interview.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Wife took Chester to the vet today for routine updating of vaccines and the like. We also needed to get refills on his heartworm and anti-flea meds. This is obviously a new vet clinic for us, since we're living in a new town. They did a nice job. Chester is in perfect health and weighs what he should weigh. This was all good news.

It's his age that I found surprising. According to the report we received from the vet, Chester is now a "senior" patient. Excuse me? Senior? Wha'? He's 8. He's not a day over being middle aged!

Senior, my ass.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Settling in

Oh yeah, my blog. I forgot about this thing. Hi. Getting settled in here in terms of a few different areas:

First, the house. We live here now. It's really our place. We actually spent much of the holiday weekend finishing up the unpacking process, at long last. We got the garage to a state where we can fit both cars inside, which is fantastic. We drove the cars inside, which was very exciting, but then the garage door opener decided to malfunction...again. Fuck. Fortunately it turned out to be that one of us (probably me) had knocked the sensor loose (but the sensor lights were ON and functioning, I tell you!), and it was fixed up pretty quickly this morning.

And then we looked closely at the walls: Prior Owners painted the walls BLUE. Blue?? Yes, blue like highlighter blue. And there's also wood paneling up about four feet from the floor. Wha'? Not my choice in a GARAGE, but to each his or her own.

After some discussion, we decided that we needed to spend the time now to get rid of the blue. I'm in the process of painting it white (not the paneling, just the drywall). I know, I know: in an earlier post I said I was hanging up my paint brush for a while. I had painted four bedrooms in a row and had enough. However, Wife and I both knew that if we didn't paint out the blue now, then we'd get our stuff settled into the garage and the painting would never get done. And neither of us really want to live with a blue garage. I mean, it GLOWS! Also, I will need to paint the ceiling, because it, too, is blue. Ugh. It's going OK...I'm just about done trimming in the primer coat. Hopefully it won't spatter too much as I paint the ceiling. I keep's JUST the garage. Doesn't need to be perfect...just done.

Speaking of just needing to be done...dissertation data collection is moving along OK. I conducted another interview last week. Not sure it's going to be usable data, but we shall see. Just four more to go. I need to recruit the last four people as soon as I can so I can ramp up my data analysis efforts. I think once the interviews are completed and transcribed, then the light in the tunnel will brighten up significantly and it'll kick my ass to get the study completed. Hard to believe I'm moving right along OK after all this time.

The new job is good, and I really like working with my colleagues a great deal. I'm slowly getting back into the full-time working routine. I do think it suits me well...I find the structure of The Work Day to be helpful on many levels.

Moose seems to be enjoying kindergarten. It's not like he's running home and telling me what he learned each day. Perhaps those conversations will happen someday, and I'll look forward to that. Till then, we're just thankful we're able to live where there are decent schools. One thing is for certain: the special education situation here is FAR better than what we had in SCT. So glad we're here now.

Wife's sorting out her career stuff. The likelihood of finding voice students here is much better than in SCT, so we'll hope for the best.

Bedtime. Bye.