Writing the Qualitative Dissertation: Understanding by Doing

By Judith M. Meloy | Go to book overview

7
UNDERSTANDING BY WRITING

Voice, “Emotional Journey, ” Journals

Take some risks in your writing. I didn't feel comfortable with a completely alternative format for my dissertation; at the same time, my use of metaphors, poetic transcription, and an impressionist tale was exciting and invigorating to me. I really enjoyed searching for quotes from my interviewees that could be used in part as headings or descriptions of themes. Each of these approaches took my writing in some new directions and made me feel that my work was more creative and unique than I had imagined it could be. I'd like in the future to experiment further, but at the time I was writing, I found these modes of expression to be challenging but not so threatening as to make me feel that I had gone totally beyond my comfort zone. (Katie)

One of the major changes in this edition is the increased attention the correspondents put on the subject of writing. It is they who have convinced me that the linkages voiced in the first edition (i.e., learning-thinking-writing) are being strongly forged in programs supportive of qualitative research. Correspondents in the first edition responded to a probe about “keeping a journal. ” Although I did not ask the same questions for this edition, several correspondents did mention their journals. But it is my sense of our work together that although a journal provides an opportunity for writing, it is only one location or focus for a discussion about writing. By now you have noticed many thoughts about writing throughout this book. In order to honor its presence most directly, I will begin this chapter with a lengthy excerpt from one of Katie's letters and then conclude with the topic of journals. I would like to add, however, that this change in emphasis does not signify a

-118-

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Writing the Qualitative Dissertation: Understanding by Doing
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Research Correspondents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments x
  • About This Book xi
  • 1 - Understanding by Finishing 1
  • 2 - Understanding by Beginning 8
  • 3 - Understanding at the Beginning 30
  • 4 - Understanding by Proposing 56
  • 5 - Supporting Understanding 73
  • References 95
  • 6 - Understanding by Focusing 97
  • 7 - Understanding by Writing 118
  • 8 - Understanding by Doing 145
  • 9 - Understanding by Finishing 171
  • 10 - Understanding by Ending 181
  • Appendix A 191
  • Appendix B - Sample Tables of Contents 196
  • Appendix B 205
  • Bibliography 209
  • Author Index 215
  • Subject Index 219
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