Coding and Writing

The end of the year is near, my official start date for the book manuscript looms, and I’ve (of course) decided to make my life a bit more challenging by working an old dissertation chapter into an article. The topic of the article, the representation of suicides in police reports of crime scene investigations, is interesting, but as I re-read the dissertation chapter a few months ago (before an encyclopedia entry and another, recently completed, article took over my life) I was dismayed by what I found, or, rather, by what I didn’t find: an argument. That’s right. This chapter, part of a dissertation that was approved by my committee (who allegedly read the damn thing), has no argument. There are some threads here and there, but nothing I can easily highlight and discern.

So it’s back to the drawing board with this one. For a variety of reasons, I’m also back to the drawing board with my codes, which means going through the original report transcripts and coding them. To do this, I’m using TAMS analyzer, an open-source qualitative analysis software that runs natively on macs (I have a lovely copy of Atlas.ti on my office computer, but parallels makes my computer run slooooooow).

It’s not really that I’m starting from zero. The text I wrote has insight, it just needs to be more clearly articulated. Whether I can actually pull it together enough to submit by the end of the year… well, we can always try, right? Finding a theoretical framework was a bit challenging, but I think I’m going to go with discourse analysis. Which means, of course, reading up on discourse analysis.

(It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….)


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