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Writing a doctoral dissertation and running a marathon: personal reflections on similar experiences PART IV


30 – 42 km: legs feel the distance, but you can’t stop at this point

The positive feedback on Chapter Five gave new energy to continue with Chapter Four, the research methodology section. The description of the personal context and research activities was relatively easy to write, what I found more difficult, as you already know from my previous presentations, has been the justification of the qualitative methodology and the link with the dual role researcher – project advisor. Without going back to it, I can say how I tried to overcome this difficulty that has been with me all along. First of all, I found very useful some of the reference on the principle of qualitative research and the role of the researcher in participatory research I got from the TAMCESS “Theory of Social Science” course I followed last May and from Virve Lapinlampi and Anne-Mari Raivo presentation in our seminar. Secondly, I used a comment by Nelli Piattoeva made some years ago to describe the advantages and shortcomings of the two roles for the research process.
Only after the feedback on Chapter Four I started to see the end; like passing the 35 km sign and realising that the kilometres left to the end of the race are now one digit numbers.
I began with the conclusions, Chapter Six, until I realised that what I was writing could also be part of the introduction. I left the chapter half done and moved to Chapter One, the introduction. This helped to avoid repetitions, leave for the end real conclusions and suggestions, and limited the use of references in the final chapter. Working on the Introduction and Conclusions, I felt the pressure of being short, clear, and avoid repetitions with other parts of the dissertations. Since these are probably the parts that people will be most likely to read, they are also the ones I revised the most and where I had to struggle the most with the language.

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