It’s never a good term is it.  The term ‘restructuring’ implies that the original structure wasn’t good enough, so you have to start again.

I thought my thesis structure was all sorted, set in stone as it were.  I’ve been working on a single ‘thesis’ document from the outset.  The main reason for this for me is that it suits my way of writing.  I like being able to flit between sections, and I think it helps me create a more coherent document.

The structure I was using was taken directly from my thesis supervisor’s book on how to write a thesis… so I thought I was on a sure-fire winner, even if when sharing this with some of my PhD colleagues they went ‘huh’ at some of the chapter titles.  I relentlessly continued though…

Until the feedback received a few weeks back, which has left me walking through a valley of…. well, let’s leave it at that.

I’ve spent the intervening time rewriting, restructuring, deleting chunks of my work (so I’ve now dipped below 25k words, making my celebrations here a little premature to say the least), and most dramatically, merging two chapters together and shifting a huge chunk of ‘contextualisation’ into the introductory chapter.  It feels like I’m performing major surgery, and indeed I’ve had to remove an appendix (badoom – tish!).

The outcome is hopefully a Chapter One and Two that is leaner, fitter and will meet my supervisor’s approval.  I’ve not done this in isolation, I’ve chatted it over with him and he’s aware of the reconstruction taking place.

I’ve not been lazy in other areas… all but one of my final phase of interviews are now complete, currently about 1.4 million characters.  I’ve analysed about two thirds of them, actually a little more than that, so that’s looking good.  I did do one interview in a noisy cafe, which was probably a big mistake, and this coming weekend I’ll be trying to transcribe that which is going to be interesting to say the least.

I’ll time sending the new chapters, and waiting for feedback from my supervisor very carefully.  I’m away on a much-deserved break next week, and I don’t want my time out interrupted by another critical review… my 40th birthday was spent trying to get a wireless connection at a gite in France so I could respond to comments on an early paper in my PhD, and the year after I received some really harsh criticism whist on holiday, that’s not going to happen this time.

Let’s see what the Summer brings… always a time for hope and renewal, maybe this restructuring will help me in the same way.

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