Monday, March 9, 2009

Flowing Data

I knew the day would come where I could finally sit down and absorb myself in my data. It's such an amazing feeling--I'm actually writing a dissertation right now!! Or at least getting ready to write those last two chapters...

Data analysis is daunting, yet fun. I have to find a way to conduct rigorous qualitative analysis, represent all the data/participants well, and construct my arguments and stories in a creative, interesting, theoretical, and practical way. I haven't even gotten to that last part (yet), and I'm already feeling like my head might explode. I guess that means I am working hard on those first two things. Thankfully my adviser has given me great tips on conducting a layered method approach. I like that. I need to think about things in different ways for it to "click."

I'm still looking for people to interview, as I go, but for now I've settled into the data and am taking a short rest from collecting. It feels good. It feels like progress. It feels like I might be able to wear that "official" UT regalia that I bought on Sunday. Yikes, will I really be done with school?

Better keep coding...

Thursday, February 5, 2009


As researchers we often need to make our goals very explicit. Sometimes those goals feel very abstract, sometimes they feel over-reaching, and other times they seem to really makes sense. I'm having one of those "making sense" moments today. As I talk to more and more military spouses, I feel A) very fortunate they are willing to share their stories with me and B) excited about my goals, my research, and my future with this area of study. I just get so inspired when people tell me that they think what I am doing could be really beneficial for them. I started as an outsider, as someone with abstract goals that seemed a million years away. Slowly, I am becoming very confident that my goals are attainable and well-supported by the people I hope to benefit.

Today, as well as a couple of weeks ago, I talked with women who were really excited about the prospects of more community involvement for military family support. We talked in detail about how family-focused community activities and centers could be a real benefit to military families bot on and off post. There is such a need for togetherness and support, and I hope I can continue this research to improve our understanding of how we can make things happen! Someday I may even be a part of building something real, something beneficial, and something that will bring life to all the work I am doing now.

I've got ideas. I've always had ideas about how this research could be interesting. Through talking with these amazing women, I am learning so much about how my ideas (and the ideas we create together) can become real, tangible, helpful resources for people!!! And that's the real goal of research.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Reading Your Stories

The whole blog thing is new to me, which is readily obvious by my lack of writing. Through my research, I have decided to really begin reading blogs. More specifically, I have been reading the stories of military wives and girlfriend's experiences with deployment. The stories are wonderful. I am so amazed by the wonderful creativity, the supportive comments, and the willingness to share. I only wish I could sit down with each and every one of these women to talk about all of the experiences they are having. Each story is different. Each person has new perspectives, hopes, fears, and faith. I have always known that my research would be interesting; I just had no idea that it would be so relevant and so inspiring.

Now for more interviews with wonderful people!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thank you!

I feel it is necessary to thank the participants who have offered their time for an interview with me! These women are busy taking care of their lives while their husbands are deployed, so it means a lot that they are taking time out to talk with me. Not only that, but they are also spreading the word about my study (see below)!! So, thank you. Thank you for your time and thank you for your help! I couldn't do all this without you!