Update Early March 2018 Part A: Overview Of Recent Tasks And Ongoing Challenges
The thesis writing schedule of the week started with a set of guiding questions that would help with determining the content of a particular section of the second literature review chapter. As the week progressed, these questions simply grew and branched out into multiple different directions regarding various aspects of the learning phenomenon of interest, the direction of the thesis chapter, and of grounded theory itself. As I was going through the literature, therefore, I found that I was beginning to address various different aspects of the research simultaneously, which led to moments of feeling overwhelmed during the middle part of the week.
Thankfully towards the end of the week, clarity and direction overcame feelings of being overwhelmed, resulting in generating many more questions than I had started with! Through these questions, more directions and more questions for the literature review chapter could emerge both in terms of its structure and its content. This again is the nature of academic research. If you come out of a reading, writing, or analysis session with more answers than questions then arguably you might not be thinking about things properly, particularly within social science based qualitative research. Some probably won’t agree with my assertions, and that’s fine.
The aim of the second literature review chapter is to define, explain, explore and critique existing conceptual, theoretical and empirical definitions of the main learning phenomenon of interest across a variety of learning contexts, and to explore its interconnection and interrelation with other learning phenomena. A goal of the current and ongoing reading session therefore is to decide the order in which each phenomenon is to be addressed, and to determine and explore the existing relationships as I go through subsequent phenomenon. I am attempting to present the order in a logical manner where the relationships between all concepts and phenomena are clearly illuminated and mapped.
As shall be discussed further in the next blog post, what was overwhelming for a short while was the diverse and complex being and existence of a particular learning phenomenon. The mistake I was making was conflating form and type of learning phenomenon: I was attempting to reduce discussions in the literature review based on the type, and not form, of learning phenomena. As I deepened my understanding of the different types, I realised in the data I have collected there exists multiple types of the learning phenomenon of interest (although more data has to be collected to confirm the importance and value of the existence of different types). This has had interesting implications on the way in which I shall continue to apply grounded theory.
In the next two blog posts I shall be exploring two particular issues I have had to contend with during the week: the first being the differences between form and type of learning phenomena, and in the final part I shall be documenting my thoughts regarding grounded theory from a theoretical perspective.