Presenting qualitative data and writing

Over the few weeks I have been working how to best write-up my qualitative chapter, now that I have all three lines of evidence analysed. It’s taking longer than I thought!

First off, I worked on the methods section, really trying to detail my process and using the methods books I read as a guide for how to organize the section, and make sure I was mentioning all essential pieces of information a reader needs to determine the legitimacy and rigor of the work.

I then went on to the results and discussion. I had previous material written, and some figures, but I decided to write an outline from scratch to make sure I was really incorporating the full scope of new information and thinking that developed over the past month or so. As such, older drafts became useful in complementing certain paragraphs, but really I needed to just write a new draft. I also wanted really strong visuals to go along with my narrative.

One thing to note is that I LOVE making system figures and conceptual diagrams, but I am realizing that they don’t speak to everyone. I had originally made three “subsystem diagrams” to show the relationships between key factors facilitating or impeding P recycling in Power Point, but with the new outline I saw there were really 4 subsystems, and that I should be doing them in a vector-based software and not powerpoint to ensure high resolution. I proceeded to create my new figures in Inkscape, and I was really excited. I showed them to a colleague though, and she made me realize that they were way way way to complex for someone unfamiliar with the study system. I have tried to remake 1 of the 4 into a simpler diagram, but I am really struggling on how to best show my data and analysis in a digestible set of figures and tables.

Once my draft and figures were complete (well as complete as possible), I sent the draft to three people (my advisor, an anthropologist, and social scientist who works more closely to the natural sciences (and often works with biologists). I got feedback from two of them already, and I think a reanalysis of the interviews and some major restructuring is necessary to make the paper shine. I was already planning on recoding the data, but now I am adding descriptors about each interviewee so that I can see if people working for similar types of organizations (and other descriptors) have similar, different, or conflicting views on certain factors.

I don’t know yet how restructure the results and discussion to make the findings shine but I know it has to be done. I hope that the third person I sent it to might be able to help with that.

sunset after a rainy day in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts Gaspesie Quebec. I have been here for a week to completely focus on writing my thesis. No TV breaks, only nature breaks here.

For now, my focus will be on recoding and reanalyzing the interview data. Perhaps through this process a clearer picture of how to present the work will emerge.


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