Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 8 Report

A BIG thank-you for a good work day goes out to J, K & M who joined me from SCT today at the downtown library. All four of us made terrific progress on the academic endeavors we have before us. Learning is a social process, after all, and we all kept each other on task for just about the entire day. We then enjoyed dinner out together along with Wife & Moose, which was great! I miss living closer to these friends, but I'm glad they're not so far away that we can't get together like this on occasion.

Today went well. And, since it's officially spring break at LMU, I hardly received any work-related e-mail with which to contend. This is good.

Today's goal was to do axial coding for the last half of the interviews. And, at this point, since I had created a decent list of codes, I attempted to code using only my list and NOT generate any new ones. It worked, and in fact, after coding just bits and pieces of two of the seven remaining interviews, I decided to stop this process entirely, believing that my list was comprehensive and representative enough. Analyzing to redundancy is a good way to go.

So now it's time to get organized to write. In order to do this, I will need to remember where quotes lie among 14 different interviews, lasting somewhere between 60 and 100 minutes each. So, I've decided to use qualitative data-analysis software called NVivo. I wasn't sure if I was going to spend time on this or not, so I allowed myself to try it for two hours. I made a pact with myself that I was struggling with it, or if it felt like a plumb waste of time, then I'd just stop and go with what I have in Excel.

The neat thing, though, is that I'm able to make further realizations about the themes in the data by way of yet another chance to revisit the details of each interview. This is very helpful. I am not concerned about coding every single line of every single interview at this point. Rather, I simply go to the spots in each interview that I know are salient to the theory I'm creating, and I code necessary bits using the extensive code grid (the bit in Excel) I created last weekend. The process went alright today, and I hope to pick up speed with it to be finished with this part no later than Wednesday. Then, that'll give me about a day-and-a-half to get things together for my peer reviewers by Noon Friday. The end result of using this software is that I will be able to type a query, like "self-efficacy," for example, and then the system will spit out a report with every quote across all 14 participants where they said something related to the topic. Very powerful. Very slick.

I have been wanting to get to this very point in the process for MONTHS. It's fantastic to finally be here now. I'm just about at the top of the hill at this point, so I can't wait for the downward slope known as the writing process.

I meant what I said about writing being a downward, easier slope. I've never had a problem with the actual writing process. I write pretty quickly. For me the difficulty comes beforehand. I struggle with the anticipation of doing the task itself, and the preparation work beforehand. Anxiety has ruled this process for me for some time, and I'm pleased to say I believe I've overcome most of it.


lemming said...

Don't let the halfway mark slow you down or make you complacent - this is a marathon, so keep moving forward.

go go gadget sneakers.

(OK, I have officially flogged that joke for far too long...)

Rob said...

I appreciate the encouragement - actually needed that yesterday (see the post I'm about to write).

And yeah, perhaps we could put the Inspector Gadget reference to rest. :-) It was effective, though!