Archive for January, 2009

methods of writing

Posted on January 27, 2009. Filed under: Methods | Tags: , |

struggling with methodology chapter. Decided to call it research approach as the whole point is that it’s conceptual rather than empirical research, emphasising thinking over doing.  I like the thinking bit best, can feel all the ideas swimming around making patterns and shadows like a shoal of angel fish. It all shimmers with meaning and connections. Then I have to put the fish into straight lines of letters and sentences and they just flop around gasping. I know I can do this but there seem to be three stages to writing for me:

1. try and think onto the page, often in a very personal language & tone, with chaotic organisation, just get my own thoughts down, no refs or quotes, just thinking.

2. Cut and paste loads of quotes but with v little commentary

3. start again, in the academic voice and try and knit the two together. This is really the first draft.

Have written version 1 – about 5k of rubbish, but helps me see where I’m going. Still too many thoughts, lots of mud churned up. Hermeneutics and reflexivity are both such large philosophies – I completely ‘get’ the underlying intent but expressing that academically is proving harder than expected. A hint that the rest of the year may not be plain sailing………………..

Also realise that the initial stages are particularly hard when I have a personal involvement with the material – I had the same problem writing novels (not stories, which burned their way out). The idea was vibrant and intoxicating, the realisation became laboured and dull. A symptom of this was constant checking of word count, an indication I’m in ‘dutiful’ rather than creative mode, ticking boxes rather than struggling to express truths (however partial). It shows in the prose.

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Posted on January 9, 2009. Filed under: main themes, Methods | Tags: |

I realise that while this blog is attracting a fair number of browsers, especially for the papers, which is of course gratifying, there are almost no comments. Perhaps this is because I am not inviting responses clearly enough, merely describing the stages of development of this thesis. That is of course my primary aim, to  create a log of progress, which will allow me to reflect on my own journey, as part of my commitment to reflexivity. But I would be sorry if this appears too solipsistic – I would truly welcome comments, suggestions, experiences. For example, are you also writing conceptual theses, or have you had a go at hermeneutics as a method? What worked? What stalled? Are you a Jungian, appalled at my misrepresentation of the Great Man’s thoughts? Or an ethicist alarmed at my failure to acknowledge a key thinker? Or another student hoping someone online has already written the essay that’s due tomorrow?

Do talk….. and if not, do come back anyway……..

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methods or madness?

Posted on January 8, 2009. Filed under: main themes, PhD stuff | Tags: |

Time to start on the methodology chapter. Seems a conceptual thesis is an unfamiliar object in newuniversityland though is allegedly commonplace at older and European unis. So having to make my own maps. Have created a kind of Q&A to help me navigate, as follows:
1. What am I trying to do?

    • To propose a new approach to professional ethics, deploying concepts from analytical psychologist Carl Jung, namely that ‘wholeness’ forms the basis of ethical frameworks in distinction from ‘good/bad’ rule-making approaches which traditionally underpin professional codes.

    2. Overview of approach

    • Conceptual
    • Hermeneutics
    • What are focal fields – how defined
    • Thesis design/map

    3. What is the likely outcome of this research?

    • The research is unlikely to lead to a new code of conduct for any profession but should generate questions for reflection among all professional organisations, which may, in turn, lead to changes in their ethical frameworks. The particular attention to the profession of public relations is likely to stimulate wider debate within the field which may influence ethical approaches in the future.

    4. Why is this important?

    • Current crises in professional projects, changing societal pressures, blurring boundaries
    • Debates in ethical philosophy
    • Problems with professional ethics
    • (eg PR)

    5. To what degree is this an original contribution?

    • There are wide pre-existing debates on professional ethics and ethics in general, dating back to classical Greek and Chinese texts. The research seeks to set the ideas of Jung and ethics in this context in order to demonstrate both the continuity of ideas and their timeliness in terms of current debates. The originality lies in the organisation of Jung’s ideas on ethical development and their application to the field of professional ethics.

    6. How will the aims be realised?

    6.1. The thesis is conceptual; literature on ethics, professional ethics, Jung and related philosophical and psychological texts will be (have been??) examined in order to

    • a) construct a valid description of the development of professional ethics
    • b) identify current debates and issues in this field
    • c) construct a valid description of the development of Jung’s approach to    ethics
    • d) identify current debates and issues in Jungian and post-Jungian thought
    • e) Suggest how the latter (d) might influence the development of the former (a)

    6. 2. The ideas developed in (e) will then be applied to the field of public relations’ professional ethics in order to test their validity.

    7. What approach will be taken?

    • Hermeneutical approach – interpretive approach to understanding , form and content
    • Reflexivity – elements, researcher presence
    • Construction/ivism

    8. What methods will be used

    • Lit review – Finn map
    • Case study
    • Reflective journal (blog)
    • Conference presentations/feedback

    9. How will validity be established?

    • By constructing theoretical frameworks which are supported in literature and then applying the core concepts to different fields, i.e. professional ethics in gerneral and PR ethics in particular
    • By disseminating views at conferences and through publication and inviting discussion on findings

    10 What strengths am I bringing to this work?

    • 15 years’ expereince as PR practitioner
    • 15 years as PR academic
    • several papers on ethics and PR reflecting life-long interest in dilemmas
    • working with the shadow for personal development over 30 year period

    11. What are the limitations of my approach and experience?

    • concepts are not tested empirically
    • not a Jungian analyst or analysand
    • interpretation located in researcher, presumes wider interest/relevance
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