Thursday, February 24, 2011

recapping the phd process

What i began with and where i have gotten to are different spaces.
I shouldnt be surprized, but the 'argument of a thesis' seems to suggest one starts here (problem) and gets here (recommendations).

And mine didnt do this.
Im studying change and what i notice is it only ever looks like a clean trajectory retrospectively.

What i began with was how to teach issues of heart and soul using IT.
By the time i got to colloquium I was advised just one of these would be enough, and by the time i had got to ethics application it had morphed and mushroom clouded into three separate studies, comparing professional with lay studies of how care is communicated through IT applications.

Getting real following this attempt to fly too close to the sun, and the process of writing the multiple ethics applications, had me falling out of the sky as my wings melted...

So after a serious and somewhat long talk with my very generous supervisor, i came down to earth; just one of these studies was enough. I remember we talked of which one would go the distance, would be 'sexy', would be the cure for cancer...

So i have an umbrella of studying change, and inside of this the use of emergent technologies in a community helpline, and this has of itself narrowed itself down to what evolved as most popular by the users of the service, being txt messaging for counselling.

Studying change as it occurs is like studying the blur...

I am now close to finishing...but have been at this stage for a year..i am rewriting the front end...and rewriting the back end...and rewriting.
My metaphor for this stage is a flatpack bicycle where every time i get the front end right, the back end no longer aligns and vice versa...but its getting closer, i think its beginning to look like if i 'rode it' it would no longer fall apart, the speed wobbles are less severe.

Interesting some of my most useful reading is what i have read after data is collected- reading i didnt even recognize as useful until i hit the wall, and then on rereading it made sense- and reading that i couldnt make sense of 5 years ago which is now comprehendable- and readings i didnt know i would need until the data analysis led me there- and some reading that wasnt even written when i began :)

And in writing when i hit a blind spot, sudden surprizes that blind me, i rewrite earlier bits while i let the current dazzle settle... had yet another fret about how to write of the research process and the sensitive ethics ...
The bits that are fast to write and the bits that are slow are utterly unpredictable.

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