Let's focus back on the dissertation. When I look at some of the 'hard data' (not that qualitative data are really considered 'hard', but that's another discussion), then I can visualize the accomplishment of finishing the data-collection process a bit better. It is good to celebrate milestones during this process, no matter how small. So, since this blog serves as my doctoral program diary, I share this descriptive information, hither. Did I just write "hither"?
First interview: April 27, 2007Hmm. That's exactly six months, isn't it? Weird. I didn't plan that. Granted, there was a three-month hiatus starting around May 29 and ending August 23. That's to be expected during the summer months. Oh yes, and then I moved and started a new job during that hiatus. Interesting. OK, moving on.
Last interview: October 26, 2007
# of interviews completed: 16Some of the earlier interviews ended up being lllonnnngggg because this is an exploratory study. I didn't want to cut off anyone. I am not out to prove or disprove a theory; instead I am creating a new theory because I actually do hate myself that much. Later on in the interview process, I probably became more adept at conducting the interview, and I could guide the participant toward information in which I was interested. But looking at the above numbers, this means I pretty much conducted about 16 hours of interviews, or perhaps more. Jesus. Lots of transcriptions ahead of me. I can only use 14 of the 16 interviews, since I learned part-way into a couple of these that they didn't meet my two main criteria for participating in the study. Oh well. Both interviews could contribute to a future research ideas I have, so I decided to conduct those interviews anyhow and just leave their data out of my dissertation.
# of interviews I can use: 14
Average interview time: about 1 hour (OK, that's just a SWAG: some wild-ass guess)
# of women: 6This was surprising to me. It was far more difficult to find female participants for this study. What's surprising is that there simply are more women in college than men. Since August, I have been seeking only women participants for this study because I had too many men. Too many men?? This never happens in higher education research. I wonder if there's a participant gender bias based on the fact that I'm a man. Could potential female participants see my first name as "Robert," and not want to participate? Definitely possible. Vice-versa, perhaps a potential male participant is more interested in participating in this study because I am a man? I've no idea. The funny thing is that this study does not look at gender or racial issues...but those things are of course always present nevertheless.
# of men: 8
Descriptors of participants' majors:Sort of cool to see the variety of majors and such. Not such a bad distribution for a large research university. I'm rather pleased.
Note: 6 of the 14 participants were double majors, two of which crossed between different "types" of majors. Thus the total of 16 represented fields by only 14 participants.
major type # fine arts 4 liberal arts 5 sciences 7 TOTAL 16
OK, it does feel like I've come a long way with this study, now that I see all this laid out here. I am looking forward to when I can concisely respond to the question of, "So Rob, what are you finding as you conduct these interviews?" My thoughts aren't organized enough just yet to share those findings. And I probably won't share the findings on this blog (if you know me, and if you're actually interested in this stuff, then feel free to ask...or not!). That's the point of the data-analysis process. Gotta get through these transcriptions, first. Two and two-halves of the interviews have been transcribed thus far, so only 10 and two halves more to go.
Pardon me while I go type.