I was hired as a Graduate Research Assistant for my PhD the day the study started. Although I had some background experience with my Principal Investigator, this was a new study and I didn’t know what to expect. I had been immersed in one research based linguistic cognitive domain in the previous study, which focussed on mentoring teacher educators’ uses of ICT in their teaching practice.
In September, 2007, I was still working furiously to get a full draft of my masters thesis finished. It had taken almost a year for me to write up the Introduction because of the struggle to figure out what my thesis was about.
I started my PhD research with my consciousness deeply immersed in the previous two years of research. I had not designed the study that I would write up for my PhD dissertation. Now, here I am, two years after my PhD research program ended (June, 2010). I have wrestled with the research questions continuously as I attempted to make my own connections to this study. Each time I sit down to write it up, I learn more about what it might have been, just as I learn more about what we found.
Yesterday I was tackling the research questions again, refining their focus in light of what I have learned since I last wrote them up several months ago. I realized my PhD research was actually comprised of a three phase study. There are three distinct realms of activity. They are interconnected and they interleave, but they are also entities of themselves. I can now see them in light of articulations, and a concept of joining, or jointing.
I think the reason I have felt overwhelmed with the write up is that I was thinking of the study as a single entity, and I kept looking for the composite unity of that entity so that I could find a way to enact my own structural coupling to the mass of data we collected. Now I see it as a three phase study, each phase is articulated to the other. Not in a linear A + B + C linkage, but as an A + B, A + C, B + C, and A + B + C. These linkages, depending on their arrangement, comprise a different composite unity.
What is interesting to me is that my findings do not change, ie. the phenomena arising from these arrangements remains consistent across the phases. But the ways that I might understand those findings in relation to the research data changes, depending on who is participating, what they are doing, and what they are attempting to achieve.
This is a huge breakthrough for me. I’m no longer dealing with this goopy amorphous mass that continuously overflows whatever conceptual vessel I attempt to collect it in.