The week gone has been characterised by paper: lots of it, everywhere. As mentioned last week, my focus has been on the discussion and theory development (DTD) chapter. This is the piece of the thesis whereby the various threads and ideas that have been mentioned elsewhere are brought together—hopefully in a cohesive and coherent manner. As a digital immigrant, this process involves a pen and a keyboard: yes, I rely on pen-and-paper to augment what I do with computers. While the word processor is my go-to tool when writing new material, my default approach to reviewing and editing material is to print copies and mark them up with my trusty Waterman Expert rollerball. Thus the paper. I also have three piles of dog-eared research articles—each about six inches high—that receive periodic attention as I build arguments and refer to prior research work.
The biggest challenge this week has been to assemble my thoughts and ideas into a logical structure and sequence, and then to write material into each section. The process is quite easy to describe. However, it is somewhat harder to implement. Ideas can flow at any time of the day or night, so I have taken to writing when the ideas flow rather than when my schedule says I should write. It will be interesting to see what effect the change has on my productivity. I'll let you know.
My hope had been to complete the DTD chapter—to a first draft form anyway—by the end of this weekend. However, I have adjusted the structure of the chapter three times in recent days, and have opened up the conclusions chapter as well: the result of which has meant quite some re-work. I'm hoping to break the back of this work and re-work cycle in the next few days because, when I do I can start on the assembly and integration process, of pulling all of the chapters together. While there is some short-term frustration that things are taking a little longer than expected, I'm convinced that the extra effort being put in now will make the thesis easier to read later. Fingers crossed.