Lies, damn lies, and statistics

I started so well today working on PhD.  I created a realistic mind map of what I could achieve in my time off work, whilst still trying to keep my sanity.  I knocked out a few hundred words on the ethical issues surrounding participatory action research (realising yet again that most papers simply state the bleeding obvious), then I started fiddling with my thesis progress spreadsheet, adding a few more formulae to track my progress.

So, to his my 50,000 words by 11/12/13 (see what I’ve done there!), to give me six weeks to proof read for an end of January submission, I’ve got to write 116 words per day.  That wouldn’t be so bad, but I’ve only hit that rate in three separate periods since July this year when I started tracking.

Now there are flaws galore in this.  The data presentation section will have many words without the ‘hassle’ of referencing, just taking my mass of data and presenting it in a way that’s intelligible, so word count should rise there.  Of course the data analysis can create hours and hours of work for a single sentence (if any) that appear in the final thesis.  Also, the 116 words assumes I write every day from now until December 2013, which isn’t feasible.

So, anyone else thinking about creating a spreadsheet to track progress of a large piece of writing – don’t, just don’t.

I joked with my supervisor that I’d probably be reading a book about case-study research during the Christmas Episode of Doctor Who – that may not be that good a joke now.

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