March update

Had my supervision with Julie and Nicola today (Wednesday 27th March 2019).

Previously I had sent tidied up versions of the Introduction, Context and Literature chapters.  Since my last supervision I’d been analysing my educator data and just started analysing my student data.

I had read up on thematic analysis and so had diligently re-read all the transcripts again and made hand written notes on them.  Then I had created a word document for each interview with coding memos and the verbatim comments they referred to.   Then I coded all the interviews in NVivo. Then I had started to develop a document capturing all the themes emerging from the interviews but that started to feel all wrong.

Today’s main question was, “Should I start from the data and work back to the research questions?” or “Should I start from the research questions and answer them using the data?”.  By the time I’d realised I had this dilemma, I’d pretty much worked out the answer to it too.  I have to remember I am not using Grounded Theory – I need to use my research questions to keep me on track with the discussion of the research data.  I cannot explore every theme that is emerging from the data, I will have to save the really interesting bits that don’t directly relate to my research questions for another day.

Julie agreed – I’d answered my own question.  It was also really useful to realise that in interpretivist research, you can’t really distinguish between the findings and the analysis – and I had been trying to.  The findings are essentially the interview transcripts and I can’t put all them in the thesis!  So I just need the analysis supported with relevant pertinent quotations from the interviews.

I have three data sets and they don’t all have to be treated in the same way.  I will have a section (or chapter maybe) on the entrepreneur data setting out the themes emerging from the Delphi survey and discussion of those themes.  I will have a section (or chapter maybe) on the educator data setting out the themes emerging from the interviews and discussion of those themes, in their own right and also in light of the entrepreneur data.  Then I will have a section (or chapter maybe) on the student data, setting out the themes emerging from the concept maps and discussing those themes in their own right, and then a section discussing all the findings from the three data sets all together.  Entrepreneurship threshold concepts have emerged from the Entrepreneur and Educator data, and I can see evidence of students’ progress towards understanding them in the Student data (yeay!).

When I am labelling the threshold concepts I need to be aware of the baggage that comes with any term I choose – I need to make sure I am using uncomplicated terms that don’t mean very specific things in other contexts.

We talked about coding.   I have coded all my educator interviews and now I need to collate and tidy up the codes before going back and perhaps re-coding them again.  Julie advised me to keep a note of the themes that really jumped out at me that I wouldn’t be able to include in the thesis to come back to at a later date (for later papers).

Other comments about the chapters I’d sent previously were that I should take out the sub-headings (that I had in there to help me navigate the documents) and leave the chapters until I put everything back together again.

Now I will aim to write up the data analysis and send it to Julie and Nicola after Easter, so they have a chance to look at it before our next meeting on 10th May 2019.