I have a theory….

A very early start to the day gives me chance to get the brain into gear through a quick posting here, about a bit of a breakthrough I had last weekend.

The Theoretical Framework is an important part of any research, but particularly the thesis.  It’s the bit that glues what you’re doing in the field to what other people have done before.  I’ve started to see it a little bit like a religion, it should guide your actions within.  A sort of WWJD for the researcher.  Unlike religion though, it’s not optional.  A few people have asked me over the last year what my theoretical framework is, and I’ve been vague to say the least, muttering something about being embedded in the sociomaterial.

Like religion, you can live from day to day without it bothering you, but there’s also a nagging suspicion that there’s something missing.  My priest, sorry supervisor reminded me at each meeting that this must be addressed, I was suitably contrite, and headed off to read a couple of academic papers as penance, and put it in my drawer ‘to look at sometime’.

Last weekend though, whilst watching James Bond, I started flicking through a book that friends had bought me for Christmas, not in any expectation that it would have the magical solution, but at least get me on the right track.  Yes, I know that all PhD study should in fact be done in monastic silence… I should also eat five portions of fruit and veg each day, and exercise for thirty minutes five days a week.

It took some reading, some scrawling on what started with a mind map and turned into something approaching a spider with a pen attached to four of its legs, but after a couple of hours I had it, I had my faith restored.  A quick email to my supervisor to check that I was on the right track, a few more triangles, and I had it, my theoretical framework!

It’s not just a matter of ticking the box, I’ve now got to develop this idea, which means yet more reading of even more obscure authors, and I’ll have to re-do some of my analysis to take this into consideration.  It also doesn’t help that the key term ‘structural coupling’ has an important meaning in molecular chemistry too, making literature searching a really interesting experience.

So, another weekend planned at the keyboard, with maybe just a little bit more Bond.  I’ve also got a new toy to play with, the weather forecast is promising for some snowy pictures.

As David Morse said to Jodie Foster in Contact, “Small moves, Ellie, small moves.”

 

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