My university along with many others has adopted the concept of “Shut up and Write” where there are designated times that students commit to just writing. It’s a great way to simply get on with it.
This is something I’ve needed to do in recent weeks. It’s all been a little disjointed lately with too many other things getting in the way of my thesis. In particular my time has been spent dealing with one last work assignment that has involved a considerable amount of time and travel, starting to plan our trip, and marking. However, over the last week I’ve made real progress on my thesis. Even while traveling it’s been possible to get stuff done. That along with time at Uni, discussions with my supervisor and time at my desk , my thesis is really progressing.
I’ve largely completed my interviews of participants and had most of the interviews transcribed. I have a couple more interviews over the next week or so and then that task will be completed. It’s been a really interesting process made so much better by the locations, topic and the occasional opportunity to sample the product. This was a good topic to pick!
I’ve revisited my Literature Review. I wrote it last year as part of my course work and as a result it has needed to be refined to take account of my topic. I revisited my definitions again yesterday after a mild panic about whether they were still appropriate having regard to my data. The good news is that they seem OK and it should not need a major rewrite to integrate the subject matter of family wine businesses into it.
I’ve also delved into the history of wine. Its roots in The Middle East, the importance of religion and trade to its progress, and in an Australian context its rocky beginnings as early as “The First Fleet”. The decision to focus on family wine businesses has been fascinating. Such a rich history in far away places as well as in my backyard, with the region I am focussing upon a region located literally 20 minutes from my home. South Australia has a rich wine heritage, however my focus is on a newer region which will hopefully make my research contemporary and relevant.
With the majority of the interviews completed its been possible to start the data analysis process. This has involved checking and and rereading transcripts, identifying “rich description” and an early focus on potential themes. It’s both daunting and exciting. My research is really starting to take shape.
As well as being enthusiastic about the topic some early and serious discussion about starting my PhD has provided focus and purpose. My Honours Research is like an apprenticeship or a very long job interview. The good news is that my enthusiasm doesn’t seem to be waning. It’s all reinforced the need for me to do well in my Honours so the best opportunities are fully available to me next year.