Weekly reflections: Narrative

Last week I got a lot of feedback on my work that highlighted points that were completely clear in my head but apparently not there yet on paper. It has been painful but very helpful critique that forced me to rethink the narrative of my PhD and highlight items currently buried within the information.

Hearing people talking about the ‘narrative’ of the PhD is quite common and it is something that seems to be quite an elusive thing. I am starting to understand how the thing that holds the different strands together and link and weave them together is the narrative element of the PhD. As you can see from my metaphors I consider this the craft element of the PhD – the point where skill and a certain sensitivity come together to make a compeling argument of facts and figures.

I put the wrong emphasis on the structure in parts and while there points were not made as clear as they could have. Hopefully I gain the skill and sensitivity to ‘weave’ a more compelling argument.

Weekly reflection: Same old

I had the best intentions to get into weekly writing again but I always put it off. This week I learned of its importance again as I did a lot of reading, but no writing, so I confused myself rather than helping myself. Writing for me is a process of forcing the whirlwind in my head into clear thoughts. I have yet to find other ways on how to do this … or just get back into the habit of writing regularly again.

The problem I am stuck with is the same old question of: what do I want my focus to be and how will I evaluate it in the end. I find that design research gives little tools of evaluation – and focus mainly on the object. I do not care much about the objects itself. I think they will be interesting and relevant, but as they are speculative in nature there is little need for and options to evaluate their functionality. I am more interested in the process of developing them – and what comes after. Reflections on the process and the object itself, through observation and interviews will be the main method of data collection. But I am not sure yet how to analyse the data. For earlier projects I have used thematic analysis, but this might lose to much of the richness in transferring them to the written account. IPA might overcome this, but the methodological focus seems too strong on the individual at the moment. Maybe a combination of thematic analyis for the workshop and IPA for individual interviews after? Discourse analysis is another method I look into as it might give me a focus on the process and means with which participants made sense of the data.

With new idea coming in I feel the focus shift a little, never stirring me away from my topic of interest, only reframing the question. I find it hard not to question too much of the plan, but rather refine rather than redefine it.