Keep going… moving to Chapter 1 and remaining data collection

Keep going… Keith reminds me of this regularly and  he is right. I need to keep going!!!

Almost three years now since I started this part-time PhD in January 2013 and it has been a very bumpy ride so far (… I don’t think I am a unique case though…). I think I am going through a smoother stretch at the moment (don’t think it will last…) and feel that I am actually making some progress. This fuels my batteries with fresh energy and the desire to keep working on this.

After recently submitting Chapter 3, the scariest of them all so far, to my supervisors, I started putting the puzzle pieces for Chapter 1 together. I know it looks more like Easter eggs, in the sketch below…

Sandra commented on one of my earlier doodles linked to Chapter 2 that was black with sharp edges that it did capture my frustration. She was of course right. I think this chapter progressed much smoother (so far…) despite its challenges and maybe therefore the sketch is much smoother…  but I didn’t think about this when I created it. Again, I decided to share the very first drafts with critical readers and I would like to thank Peter, Charles and Stephen for their critical questions.

I understand that Chapter 1 which is my introduction is something that should perhaps be done much later, but I think there is still value to create the backbone of this. It helps me make these broader links across the thesis and I have found it useful for this reason.

In parallel, over the last eight weeks, the open course #creativeHE was running and I am collecting data at the moment as I am using this as case 2 for my PhD research. Just a few more interviews to do and I will finally have all my data. All secondary survey data from both cases has been collected already and I will start looking at these and adding some related information to the relevant cases as well. I am thinking to include case specific data in the related appendices but bring all data together from both cases, similar as I will be doing for the interview data. Is this correct? I will ask my supervisors this question when I speak with them in December.
I will need to code the whole lot of transcribed text from all interviews! I estimate that I will have around or over 80,000 words of data from the interviews… same length as the thesis will be in the end. In order to get a feel of this data Everest, I plan to print all checked transcripts and read these as a manuscript, a story, a story in stories.

I will be back for further updates here about Chapter 1 and will add my reflections about the interviews together with survey data to a separate post and link back to Chapter 3.


I have questions around a Glossary of terms and where I should position this but also a more personal bit, my story and the connection to this research. Will these go into appendices?

If you are reading this and have any useful tips regarding Chapter 1, what to do and what to avoid, I would love to hear from you. 


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