Friday, July 31, 2009

The Fear of Being All that We Can Be

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." - Adapted from Marianne Williamson.

"When I was ten years old, I saw "Rocky" for the first time and anybody from my era would tell you that this type of movie triggered everything for them. I didn't know anything about boxing when I was that age. But I knew what this guy was going through and I had his back. There's a lot of that in this story. The idea of not being afraid of that thing you do the best, not permitting circumstance to confine you but to find your voice and your talent. Own it and to be proud of it and do it. It's not a story about learning how to spell but about a kid who learns what she's good at, becomes proud of that and doesn't want to hide it anymore. It's overcoming the fear of being great, before you can be great." - Doug Atchison, writer/director of Akeelah and the Bee.

"He began to have a dim feeling that, to attain his place in the world, he must be himself, and not another." - W.E.B. Dubois

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hand-Coding Hardware

I was advised that sorting and memo-ing would be more easily done by hand. But I was not told as to the mechanics of that process.

After two days of trying out different things, I came to this:
  • Export codes from MaxQDA into Excel
  • Edit Excel file so that the relevant information fits onto a regular sized paper (make sure there are lines drawn between codes)
  • Print on card-stock paper (I used regular paper the first time, and found them too flimsy to handle)
  • Cut out each code into a separate strip (that's where the lines come in)

Then do the sorting/consolidating thing by asking these classic GT questions:
- What is the data a study of?
- What category does this incident indicate?
- What is actually happening in the data?
- What is the main concern being faced by the participants?
- What accounts for the continual resolving of this concern?

It was relatively easy to re-categorize them into higher level categories. (Except I'm not sure if that is what I am doing exactly.)

Then, I needed more hand-coding hardware. I took large envelopes and made little envelope strips out of them into which I inserted the various categories of codes.

I took a picture of a handful for "show and tell":

Ta dah! Clever, ne?

Well, now, I'm stuck. How do I go from my hand-coding back into software-coding? Because I still have a lot more data to code.

As they say in France, "zut alors!"

Monday, July 27, 2009

Celebrate or Sleep?

Dissertated 2 full hours (i.e. two 60-minutes) yesterday. Dissertated 3 hours (i.e. three 50-minutes) today, including 2 hours between 10pm to midnight after a full day of activities.

My student mind says, "go celebrate your progress!"

My adult mind says, "go to sleep, or I'll crash you myself."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hello Blogger

It feels like it's been forever since I last blogged.

Well, things have been busy. We've decided to move back home (Asia) earlier than expected so as to help the kids adjust to the culture and schooling there. School there begins in January. Having a few extra months would help them tremendously to adjust to the style of teaching and language.

In the meantime, it's really chaotic here trying to manage all the details of moving, especially with a wife who is still in a cast on her leg and children that require attention. Hard to even get some dissertation time in. But I will endeavor to do so.

I've decided that if I do 2 hours of coding a day, I'm making progress. That's two 50-timer timed minutes.

To keep myself accountable, I will force myself to post my progress here regularly.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Classic Grounded Theory Community and The Drugless Trip

1. Classic Grounded Theory Community

I was surprised when I attended the Grounded Theory Seminar at how cordial and supportive the folks were there.

I have been feeling mired in coding over the last while and finally decided to reach out for help. I was able to connect with a newly-minted Ph.D. who had just finished his dissertation under Barney Glaser, and another scholar who is trying to fit mentors with classic GT learners like myself.

This afternoon, Newly-Minted Ph.D. called me from half-way across the country and spent 15 minutes on the phone with me, essentially assuring me that I am going about the process in the right way: messily!

I am so thankful for this classic GT community. I have a strong feeling I will enter into this community in fuller measure in time to come.


2. The Drugless Trip

Judith Holton (2007) in her chapter entitled The Coding Process and Its Challenges, in the Sage Handbook of Grounded Theory, explained the difference between non-classic GT and classic GT:

"Various scholars within the qualitative paradigm [read: non-classic GT] have put forth strategies and guidelines for the coding process (citations). By comparison, the procedures espoused by classic grounded theorists may initially appear loose and perhaps even messy or confusing. These procedures as originally developed by Glaser and Strauss (1967) and extensively elaborated in Glaser's subsequent work (1978, 1992, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005; Glaser & Holton, 2004) do require the researcher to grapple with both chaos and control. The chaos is in tolerating the uncertainty and subsequent regression of not knowing in advance and of remaining open to what emerges through the diligent, controlled, often tedious application of the method's synchronous and iterative processes of line-by-line coding, constant comparison for interchangeability of indicators, and theoretical sampling for core emergence and theoretical saturation. This discipline is simultaneously complemented by requiring the theorist to remain open to the innate creativity in preconscious processing of conceptual ideation and theoretical integration; a creativity characterized by the exhilaration of eureka sparks of discovery; what Glaser (1978, 1998) calls the drugless trip [emphasis added]" (p. 273).

So, I need to let go and embrace the chaos. Only then will I discover the eureka of the drugless trip.

Now stare long and deep into the picture below...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Scholarly Identity

Scholar Wannabe was in town. We had lunch. It was nice to see SW again after such a long time. I'm glad we have blogs to keep us updated on each other's lives.

Aside from the catch-up chit chat, the conversation turned to the topic of scholarly identity. SW said that she's always considered herself a teacher. She went towards Scholar-Wannabe'ing so that she could become a teacher. 

(If you know anything about academia in the Western world, you will know that unless you are a prolific researcher and writer, you will be "B-listed" in the eyes of "A-listers.")

"So long as I can make a living teaching, I am comfortable with that," she said.

This past weekend, the stress of having to balance PhD and family led me to seriously re-evaluate my future scholarly identity. 

I remembered why I came to do this PhD: I wanted to be a good therapist, I wanted to teach therapy, and I wanted to learn research.

However, somewhere along the journey, research got pushed to the top of the agenda in my mind. Well, I guess if funding and prestige follows research, and your department is always celebrating who got what funding, you can't help but begin to believe that only research counts.

Never mind that I'm a good therapist. Never mind that I help many people heal. If I don't do research, I am not worthy. I am nothing but a B-lister.

I began to fight that message last weekend.

It matters that I am a therapist. That is my identity. I love doing therapy. I love teaching therapy. And the only reason I do research is so that I can better people's lives! Therapy is important: It changes people's lives for the better!

SW admitted that even though she has the potential to be an A-lister and do research, her passion is really to teach. I completely dig that. I too, want to be led by my passions despite the pressures of institutional expectations.