Happy new year everyone!
After all the fun and frivolities of the holiday season, I am left with not only the feeling that I probably shouldn’t have munched all those cookies and candies, but also the grave realization that crunch time for my dissertation has commenced. I’d like to have it completed by Spring and, just like Katie, I’ve hit the analysis phase of my research and am desperately trying not to fall into the pit of never-ending data. All those current and former graduate students out there, I’m sure you can relate to this – all those wonderful hours, weeks and months I have to look forward to of frantically trying to make sense of the vast pool of data I have spent the last year planning for and collecting.
But fear not! ’tis qualitative data sir! And seeing as I have really enjoyed working with my participants and collecting data so far, I am going to attempt to enjoy discovering the outcomes of all my hard work. To me, the beauty of working with qualitative data is developing the pictures of the answers to the questions that initiated the research in the first place. It’s a jigsaw puzzle with only knowing a rough idea of what the image might look like at the end – you slowly keep adding the pieces until that image comes clear. I’m looking forward to seeing that image.
So what do I have to analyze? Well, namely ~20 interviews with docents, ~75 docent observations, ~100 visitor surveys and 2 focus groups (which will hopefully take place in the next couple of weeks). I will be using the research analysis tool, Nvivo, which will aid me in cross-analyzing the different forms of data using a thematic coding approach – analyzing for reoccuring themes within each data set. What I’m particularly psyched about is getting into the video analysis of the participant observations, whereby I’m finally going to get the chance to unpack some of that docent practice I’ve been harping on about for the last two years. Here, I’ll be taking a little multimodal discourse analysis and a little activity theory to break down docent-visitor interaction and interpretative strategies observed.
Right now, the enthusiasm is high! Let’s see how long I can keep it up 🙂 It’s Kilimanjaro, but there’s no turning back now.