Week 73: Sorting data

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This week, I spent Monday to Friday working on my report: listening to audio data that I had collected in my fieldwork, filling in summary tables and writing detailed descriptions. This is not the proper transcribing process yet. It is still the pre-transcribing stage. I am trying to make precise summaries (of participants, nature and data content) so that I can discuss them with my supervisors before starting to translate and selecting the most relevant phases from the whole data. This will eventually allow me to work on translations efficiently, save lots of time and analyse important data in greater depth. But I must admit that this process is not very exciting. It is rather dreary because I have listened to data again and again and again…

I love reading books on qualitative research methods. They give me so many ideas and inspirations about how I should deal with my thoughts on data and how to organise it. They also offer motivations for translating and writing a research report with an eye on what my readers are looking for.

While reading, the following paragraph struck me. I had believed that finishing drafts of literature reviews early was crucial because they can be the starting point of what aspect of the data I want to look at. After reading this section, I realised how much time I had spent searching literature, reading and writing reviews while putting data aside, before coming to focus on the quality of my data report.

‘Your data chapters are crucial to your report and should usually be written first. Try to escape the comfort zone of starting with your literature review. This is for two reasons: 1) you cannot know what is the important literature till you have completed your data analysis; 2) unless you begin your data analysis early, the data will pile up and you may drown in it’. (Silverman, Interpreting Qualitative Data 5E, p.388)

I am aiming to complete my report by Friday next week, although progress is still about 50%. It has exceeded 10,000 words and is reaching 15,000.

My achievements in week 73:
– Started to sort audio data and wrote summary tables of 23 consultations.
– Really enjoyed London Comic Con over the weekend!

Goals for week 74:
– Finish writing my fieldwork report with summary tables of all data and submit it to my supervisors by 1 June, ideally!


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Friday pizza!