Notice that when you rushed things, instead of falling in place together, everything seem to be falling apart. Hu..hu..hu..it’s normal for me – bila nak cepat, lagi bertambah lambat lagi ada. Huwaaa…
Anyway, I thought the stress and ‘keseksaan’ of writing my first 3 chapters in my initial year was difficult enough, I was hoping then everything else would be a breeze ha..ha..ha so wrong am I.
Well, writing the findings were a bit easier comparatively, but they are very tricky to write unless you found out the themes of what you wanted to report in the first place. And that – finding the right themes, of course involved transcribing, themazing, tossing and turning, themazing, tossing and turning, looking at them from a different angle, themazing and finally when you feel like actually tossing them all out the windows – walla! You actually saw where you are going. Note: The Walla effect only represented itself after 3 months 😦
So it seems that all the chapters are difficult to write, albeit in a different way. Here I am now trying to sort out what all those findings actually meant. After almost 2 months sitting on it, looking at it from side to side, upwards, downwards, dreaming of it, talking to myself about it, telling my children about it (ha..ha..ha as if they are listening), I finally see some flickering light 😉
So I thought I would share some tips on how to start your discussion (& finding what it was to discuss in the first place hu..hu..hu):
- Always remember your research aims – what are your research questions
- Attempt to see your findings in line with the research questions and aims
- Although you’ll be reading through the findings chapter a couple of times, it’s wise at one point to leave it aside and just focus on what is it that you see initially from the findings
- Summarily answer the questions – what does it all mean to your research and why is it important to your research
- Start with a summary of the above and expand based on all the details of the findings
- Along the way, start answering the next question – how does the finding relate to other research and literature, is it corroborating, is it contradictory
- Then try to suggest a different explanation if it’s contradictory, different or new findings
- But all discussion must be based only on the findings and relevant literature or documents – avoid ‘hard core’ speculation
- Remember – Start with a summary and develop from there. Draw up a table like I did here Or else you’ll feel really overwhelmed with the amount of findings you found, for e.g. in my case they are 60 pages of them words and quotes (..on how to not drive yourself crazy). So start small, but think big! Get an overall picture and then go into the nitty gritty details of them all.
It’s only after I have done all this and see where I am going in the discussion that I notice how much I must actually write – to make sense academically! So never underestimate the writing time you’d actually need. And more importantly, never underestimate the need to manage your writing. Because proper management would eventually cost you less writing time and become a writing moral booster for you.
So now that I know what to write and how much to write, I divide the chapters into the smallest possible sections and try to focus writing by sections daily. Later when they all come together, then it’s time to tie up all loose ends. I can actually plan the timeline for the writing process and not cheat myself into thinking that I can write all this up in 2 weeks hu..hu..hu berangan! I hope the tips help.