Hooked on a Feeling

If I could bottle and sell how I felt on Friday I’d probably make my fortune. The end of my White Rabbit week culminated in a day where everything just seemed to come together perfectly and it felt amazing. All the things I’d been planning for months came together and worked out as I’d wanted, better than I’d dared hope.

Earlier in the week I’d had an email from the journal where I’d submitted a paper for publication, with an invitation to revise and resubmit. This is exciting in itself, and the reviewer comments show that my writing was taken seriously. I inspired extended and thoughtful responses at an academic level, and that’s worth celebrating in itself. The journal uses a blind review process, so the reviewers have no information about the author/s to know the level of experience of the writer.

Most of the rest of the week was Teh Busy with fieldwork. I’ve designed what is probably a novel combination of methods for this – not solely ethnographic, not solely interviewing, and including a range of activities for participants. Thursday and Friday last week did involve some researcher-participant interviews from within the participants at one of my fieldwork sites, using theoretical sampling. On the suggestion of one of my supervisors, I included a focus on the research process and their experience of the different components. I … we, as in my supervisors and I … had thought and hoped that multiple data points would add to the robustness of the data. I had also hoped that it would enhance participants’ opportunities to say things they might want to on the topic, recognising that different people are more comfortable in different interactional settings (yes, I’m being vague – I have more writing to do on this yet!).

What I have now that I didn’t have before is data in these interviews to support and, yes, vindicate these design decisions. I arrived back at the office after doing the interviews Friday morning fair bouncing out of my skin and fired off a very excited email to my supervisors nattering about ideas for a next paper for publication around methods stuff. It’s additionally brilliant that the interviews came where they did in the process, as I have some good grounds for discussing why this is potentially more effective than other interview approaches for the population with whom I am researching. All the planning and the extra time I took in tweaking my research design is coming to fruition in the most gratifying of ways.

Writing this now I’m getting some of that feeling back. If this is a point in training my PhD dragon, I’m sitting astride it, soaring into the clouds! I did slide off the high point after Friday but at least it has been a gentle slide and not a crash.

Definitely a mass of XP and level up. I think I’ve also earned the White Rabbit Award for Surviving Fieldwork Frenzy and at least bronze, possibly silver, ‘Patience Is A Virtue’ and  ‘Planning Pays Off’ badges.

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