Its that time of the year again the last month before December comes along, everyone goes away on holiday and I fall in love with my big city life because for a while, just a short while we have sanity on our roads. Let me not get ahead of myself before we get to peaceful December we have Academic Writing Month. This time last year I had this wishful thinking that come this time I would be writing up my thesis churning out chapters and AcWriMo would be a month of writing and writing and writing. I shouldn’t just dismiss it to be wishful thinking only it also was naïve thinking that my work would progress very easily in a linear way. Fieldwork would produce this nicely ordered data that I would easily draw from and write my groundbreaking research.
Turns out fieldwork and data are not as neatly structured and straightforward like that. I imagined neat streams of data nicely following thematic areas and coming together to form a rainbow coloured river. Instead I received mixed up showers that formed a muddy flooded river in which I am currently wading through and trying to make sense of. My strategies for wading through the rainbow river are not suited for the tangled messy data I have. This brings me to my AcWriMo plan it is clear that I will not be writing, not the kind of writing I imagine AcWriMo involves, you know goals to finish a literature review chapter, goals to have a first draft of the methods chapter or discussion or journal article. Instead my AcWriMo will be focused on reducing my data for easier analysis.
I intend to do narrative and discourse analysis and so have decided to follow the method Frost (2009) Outlines in her article “`Do you know what I mean?’: the use of a pluralistic narrative analysis approach in the interpretation of an interview”. As a first step in analysis and data reduction into identifiable narratives I will look at the narrative structure of my data and reduce it using the following questions:
- Abstract : What was this about?
- Orientation: Who? What? Where? When? Where?
- Complicating Action: Then what happened?
- Resolution: So what?
- Coda: Return to present/ end of Story
I found this post by @EmmaBurnettex on her data analysis plan very useful in helping me think about my data and how to move on from there to the analysis. @ellenspaeth’s post Types of targets for AcWriMo 2013 is another good post to help you think about your goals in the writing month.
One of the main lessons I learnt from last year’s AcWriMo is to have a plan, secondly to also be flexible, thirdly to cut my work into daily chunks and lastly review my progress at the end of each day and week. I intend to dedicate four hours each day to my AcWriMo goal. By the end of November I should have all my data in the above format and move onto to the next level of analysis.
Happy writing everyone and look forward to the twitter chats for motivation and well needed breaks, and maybe pity parties when things don’t go well but hope it will mostly be for celebrating accomplishing our goals.