I’ve spent a week writing the beginnings of my first data chapter. While the theme of it, reluctant leadership, is clear in my mind, the process for explaining it and really analysing it is not. This has been one of my main challenges in the whole research process. I don’t feel I have a grasp on the process of documenting my research, my methodology. Data collection, no worry, lots of fun, loved it and I think I have some really great material. Crafting that into a thesis….not so much.
So I’ve flailed around a little this week, which I am not really sorry about. I think there is a need for flailing in life (hey, I tap dance which for me is 90% flailing.) Even though I haven’t written my 4,000 quota (I’m at 3270 ) I decided today to revisit my narrative methodology books to think more about actual process. Because I keep waiting for a step by step guide that says how to do this.
One: I don’t think that is going to appear.
Two: I’m missing a big piece here.
Just now I went to yoga, I’m still averaging 3 times a week at yoga now, though I have really let up on myself about how ‘good’ I am at it or how far I progress week to week. (I could learn a few lessons from that right?) I now just go to clear my head, break a sweat and move my body.*
Lying in savasanna my mind wandered back to my PhD, the fact I wasn’t writing today but reading, and the thematic issues I’m grappling with.
And then I thought: what is the story I am trying to tell?
Here I am trying to shoe horn myself into narrative methodologies without thinking about the narrative I want to tell my readers, my examiners. What story is the data telling me. Forget (for a minute) how I extract and report that story, but what is the story to begin with.
So I’ve just written four points on post it notes and stuck them on my wall.
- What is the story I am trying to tell?
- The reluctant creative leader
- How can we see them?
- Why do we see them?
- How do we remove reluctance?
- Through social and situated learning in communities of practice
- Facilitated how? (Through legitimate peripheral participation driven proactively, organisationally or educationally.)
- Why is gender important? (Because it is – the three groups of non-reluctant leaders are all female driven.)
- What can we learn from this?
- How can we use it?
- Why is this important?
- What are the recommendations?
I’m still going to step back and thinking about narrative research for the rest of the day (while I’m slow cooking a lamb roast) but I’m not going to lose sight of the story I want to tell.
- My supervisor once told me that ‘work’ within your PhD takes many forms, it is not just the time spent at your desk. I find I get a lot of my big ideas on the yoga mat.