Tapes In My Head.
This is an extremely slow and lonely process, even when I am working collaboratively alongside my students, as I will attempt to articulate. The other week I conducted a focus group (11.03.16) uncertain that participants are even bothered about identifying their skills (can be considered a low point); my drive to alter their thinking falls away like apple blossom in spring.
As I listen back to the audio, my voice is anxious, at times desperate. It is strange how I push on working with audio even though I am uncomfortable with my voice. Trying to unlearn those old voices that haunt me by learning to accept my voice is a personal thing, not really related to the actual project but integrated into my methodology nevertheless. It helps me to write this.
Time and gravity permit the data to fall away as I obsess with fear that I might have failed to document and capture the fall even. Did I think enough about my own coherency, delivery and presentation? No, I just pressed the record button and proceeded. I need to be more considered in future.
I am trapped in a DIY research prism-prison that circulates project intentions against and alongside the tensions of the potential for failed planned interventions time and time again. The tensions of process are central to this struggle and working through the tensions part of the process.
I am moving forward and unexpected interesting things are happening. I recall fragments of what was said by some participants but don’t fully grasp them until I playback the audio. Listening to the conversations remind me that it happened, data was collected. Playback stops me from feeling lonely. It’s slow because I have recorded everything on a hand-held camera, then I extract audio using Final Cut software, then I export as an AIFF file, then I convert into MP3 – the plan is to collate eventually on SoundCloud as breaded trail. I should have just bought a hand-held dictaphone.
I still need to transcribe, analyse and make sense of the narratives…
I move rooms; the afternoon sun is blinding my concentration. The hall seems better. It has a walkway and a door.
Ex-Student Tapes (Audio Testimonies)
I have interviewed four ex-media students so far (since Feb) and recorded their testimonies regarding their thoughts on transferable skills having left college (in some cases many years ago) and having been in employment (various positions) having left education.
I intend to track down and interview an additional two more ex-students/ participants. The intention being that this information can then feed into and impact more purposefully on the action cycles I continue to carry out with my MED2 group of participants. At the very least the audio will prove useful for my current research participants to reflect upon in terms of ex-media student pathways.
For fear of data overload, I have decided to use MED1 and MUS1 participants to evaluate usage with minimal intervention from me just to see if any participants actively and independently choose to use the transferable skills tool.
Talking to the past whilst informing the future…
The focus group findings obtained (so far) already tell me the original devised tracker is too long. A list possibly so extensive that it would be unreasonable to expect participants to reflect with any rigor (taking into account the demands of the curriculum). So, we seek to collaboratively (discursively) reduce the list as a next action point although before I do so I think it important to discuss the skills identified by the ex-students so far as this might impact on what skills to go forward with. The ex-students informing the current cohort. A reflective dimension I hadn’t originally planned for until a Skype conversation with one of my supervisors at BU (Jenny Moon) in February. The condition of being open to change is essential as I continue to travel down my research path, carving (Sarte, 1963) ‘hodological’ connections wherever and whenever I can.
I am learning to enjoy the solitude of doctorate research, however lonely at times, it has become my friend. It grounds me and keeps me consistent (relatively speaking) through the ups and downs.
I look at the door as I remember it’s time to collect the kids from school. I might well exit through the doorway for pick up but won’t be able to escape the struggles of this doctorate as I think about what to have for tea.