Wow I have done a fair bit on my dissertation since my last update. The last time I posted about my dissertation I had finished writing the first 3 chapters (the introduction, literature review and methodology). When I say ‘finished’ they are by no means completely finished because I am constantly adding things to them as I progress with my dissertation. The thing about qualitative research is that you never really know what your research question is. I have changed mine several times during the course of my research project because as I read existing studies I got new ideas as well as having to discard some ideas. This is also the case when collecting data. Many researchers find new, interesting things once they begin speaking to people, things that they hadn’t necessarily thought of before. Of course you do have certain questions to answer, otherwise the data collection and analysis stage would be very complex, but your main question, or title of your project, is never completely set in stone until the whole thing is written.
But anyway, where am I up to now with my dissertation? Well I have started my interviews. Last time I wrote I was thinking about planning my interview questions. I have now created my interview schedule and conducted a pilot interview. Following this pilot interview I did have to change some of questions round a bit to make them flow better and now the real interviews are in full swing. So far the interviews have gone very well and I have already found out some very interesting things. And I have enjoyed them! I was quite nervous before starting them because it was something that was completely new to me. But they have been really good (helped of course by the numerous cups of tea and the cuddles from pets that I receive when interviewing my neighbours!).
The next steps are to continue with the interviews (I need roughly 20) and to begin transcribing them (that basically means typing them up word for word). As I transcribe I will analyse the data by splitting it into themes in order to identify any patterns. I know that this will be quite a long and complex progress but hopefully it will involve finding out some pretty interesting stuff.
Keep an eye out on my blog page for more updates on how I am getting on with my dissertation.