Second attempt. My mother needed admin support and I exited without saving. Idiot.
Here we are approaching the end of 2015. Less than four weeks until we move. I’ve completed my data collection and almost completed transcription – thanks to Olympus not upgrading their software to match the latest Mac iOS I can’t do any of that right now. Nothing like forced transcription avoidance.
Recently I met with my second supervisor. For only the second time in two years. Despite the lack of contact when I do see her she zeros in on exactly my challenges. She says I’m wasting my time attempting to publish or attending conferences. I should concentrate on finishing the fucking thesis (she swears a lot) and not engage with the academic community until I know exactly what I’m talking about.
She has a point. Clearly I have wasted a solid portion of this year in a futile attempt to get something published. What for? I’m not aiming for an academic job. It’s PRIDE.
And also, I don’t really know what I’m talking about.
I know theory. I can, hand on heart, say I’m approaching expert status on leadership theories and potentially even development. That’s great. It helps make me a good teacher.
What I do not have, and I’ve known this all along, is a good enough grasp on methodological approaches and epistemologies. I always feel I’m fudging this. Consequently, as was made clear in France, I may indeed be writing a bloody consulting report. Unless I can really learn to talk the talk on my methodological approach and how I’m relating my data back to theory I will not get this done.
E2 also suggested that maybe academic publishing isn’t the way I want to go anyhow. I’m writing about practical issues, with a desire to help the industry I study. So why aim to publish in academic journals that are not read by the industry anyhow? Shouldn’t I be thinking about a book?
I am thinking about a book, and have been all along. The lessons from this study on how to develop leadership capability, how leadership may be different in the creative sector and how to build a career are really valuable (in my opinion anyhow.) So I would love turn this into a practical book. That said I also don’t want to set my self up for a whole other avenue of failure.
The last thought she left me with is about my data approach and themes. The big themes I wrote about in August may not actually be my big themes. She said to write a chapter on the rejection of leadership, possibly creating a continuum of rejection, would be a valuable addition to knowledge. With nine primary subjects, most of which who rejected the role of leader to some extent, I could see this working.
This has lead me to think about ‘leadership’ terminology in the sector. Thinking about the role of gatekeepers and powerful organisations. This is probably too much for this post – but it might be coming soon.
Additionally E2 said the career development approach is a good one. And the feedback I’ve received from the journal I submitted too also said it was a worthy study. So I may be cutting of my nose, academically, but avoiding this? But how do I bring it in without straying too far from my research question – that is the challenge.
For now this is on the back burner as it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of writing.
For the next few weeks I’m finishing 10,000 words on my context. Maybe it’s a chapter, maybe it will become part of another chapter, but it’s an important start.
Then, over December and January I am going to nut out this methodology stuff. Really. Once I have a practical process and an epistemological approach I’m going to set down and get into my data. Reading, rereading, coding, cutting up interviews and reading them randomly, categorising and trying to look at without blinkers.
Then from February I start rewriting my literature chapter and writing all the others.
This is the hard stuff.