Monday, October 8, 2012

Returning to the Literature

Last week, I completed my latest revisions to Chapter 1, just one week after doing the same for Chapter 3.  So what about Chapter 2?  That's what I'm working on now.  Chapter 2 is basically the literature review for one's dissertation and is usually the longest chapter.  It's also the chapter that continues to be revised through the entire dissertation process, especially for those like me who have chosen to use a grounded theory approach. 

I have spent the last few days reorganizing Chapter 2 to better fit my arguments in Chapter 1 and my methodology in Chapter 3.  This alone took several hours of outlining, cutting and pasting, and then revising the outlines.  With notes added, but no content added, this nearly doubled my page length.  After removing redundancies and making all my notes single-spaced, the pages returned to the original length of around 45 pages.

Only yesterday did I start adding new content and making concepts and my writing clearer.  I probably added as much as I deleted.  During this process I used a different font for the first draft and another font for the second draft.  Once the entire first draft was revised, resorted, and partially removed, I gave the whole document the same font, a smaller font, which reduced the number of pages to around 40 pages.

This is the minimum number of pages as I anticipate adding more content than I delete.  There are two giant gaps in the literature that must be filled.  The original chapter 2 made no mention of South Korea, which is now a vital target site for my data collection.  Also, the first draft made no mention of online research, which now dominates my research methodology.  Before I can write about these areas, I need to read about them in as much depth as the rest of the contents of the chapter.  Fortunately, my literature searching and selecting skills have improved where I believe I have an ample amount to read for the next several weeks.

When these two areas are added, I may have 10-20 new pages.  But more content will be added to sections already included in chapter 2 as I have collected other resources over the past 6 months.  Some of these came from other classes, such as language planning and sociocultural anthropology, and others came from just keeping updated with several authors, journals, and issues.  Interestingly, Twitter has been a valuable tool to keep updated.  On my Twitter account, I follow journals, authors, and special interest groups in my research interest areas.  I would guess that I learn about a valuable resource to include in my study about once or twice a month.  This is a new sensation for me as it feels like the literature seeks me rather than the other way around.

Although reading doesn't feel as active or fulfilling as writing, I enjoy coming back to certain concepts or issues because, at this point, the literature is now reinforcing the feeling that I am on the right track.

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