During my research for my thesis, I really struggled listening to the tapes, and re-reading the transcripts, trying to turn deeply moving stories, generously shared, into something analytic. I railed against it, I refused to detach myself, and became more immersed, and felt that what had been shared was quite special, and I wanted what the people who had entrusted things they may never have told another person to come through as raw and unfiltered as possible. I don’t think I succeeded, and even though what I tried to do was drawn from people like Schutz, Heiddegger, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, DeBeavoir, Garfinkle, etc., I don’t think I managed to communicate why I tried to do what I did, nor what it was I was trying to do. I had to make it up as I went along, which I had learned to do from my Masters in IT & career in computing, but that doesn’t go down too well in academia I guess (even if you call it ‘grounded theory’).
At times I just wanted to throw in the towel (in fact I did, but my supervisors kept making me pick it up again). In the end, it was only what had been entrusted to me that kept me going. I felt that I didn’t want to let those people down. Even before I handed my thesis in, I wanted nothing to do with at least one of the communities I had been immersed in, nor the academy, and still cannot engage with much of the discussion around the topic I was researching. It is nearly two years since my Viva, and nearly six months since I re-submitted, and I still have no idea whether I am to be awarded my PhD or not. I don’t really care that much (although a gender neutral ‘Dr.’ does appeal). I would like to know though, so that I can move on with my life.
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