Friday, January 09, 2009

Approaching the Hilltop

I seem to be approaching the top of the hill. Am probably still in a lower gear, though, which means I'm moving slowly, deliberately, and with a lot of power. At least I that's how my brain feels at the moment.

On Wednesday I completed the last full description of my fourteenth participant. Whew. All of these summary descriptions will feed directly into the text for the results chapter. This is good.

Next up: I will wrestle the gazillion open codes across all the interviews into a far shorter code list. Part of this is necessary, and another part is, frankly, bullshit. The necessary part involves ensuring that I am able to list the common threads and cite examples of these commonalities in the interviews. That will be crucial to have when writing and discussing the results, and let's face it it's really the crux of this entire endeavor. The bullshit part: if needed, I could rattle off the commonalities off the top of my head. I don't NEED to do these next steps in order to see how things will come together. However, I know I will be much more organized and better able to communicate these ideas if I just slog through the data one more time and work through the tedium into something more tangible.

I always get to this stage when writing any paper. Always have. I conduct the research and make the conclusions I want to make. Mentally, I'm finished. And then, I still have to write it up and share it with others. Someday I'm going to make a flash drive that just fits into my ear, reads my brain, and finds my conclusions automatically so I don't have to go to the trouble of organizing them and writing them down. But alas, this is not the case.

I still have several tasks ahead of me in this process. However, the car is chugging up toward the hilltop, still in a lower gear, but making good, slow, strong, progress. Once I reach the hilltop, I can shift into a higher, smoother gear, get back into the writing process, and hopefully gain some speed and momentum downhill. Can't wait. Let's hope the ice has melted by then so I don't slip off the road!

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