In the research

2019-08-19

in Daily updates, PhD thesis, Politics, The environment, Writing

It’s 4:41am and I am in my 10 1/2th hour of thesis work since I last slept. For weeks I have been working my way through my notebooks, compiling interview reports based on my discussions with campus fossil fuel divestment organizers in Canada. I have been paying special attention to getting the details from this interview, reviewing more of the raw audio than normal. That’s because it seems like an especially valuable account which speaks informatively on many of my key research questions.

That is making me feel that despite all the frustrations and sacrifices which have been involved in the project, it has been worthwhile to seek these organizers out and get their direct accounts of what happened and what it meant to them. Even if the project ends up being of limited theoretical interest to academics, there is an undeniable empirical value about having collected this information while people still have fresh memories of their involvement. Similarly, even if activist readers of the dissertation find my analysis unconvincing, being exposed to these direct accounts will enrich their understanding of what happened, reinforcing some of what they already believed with new evidence and perhaps challenging some of what they believe by showing that people had other experiences and reactions.

I have 17 interview reports left to write. Then I will move on to coding their contents by theme, finishing my literature review, producing my first complete draft manuscript, and then beginning the process of review by committee members and making changes in response to their comments.

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