PhD research- next phase

I am nearly at the end of my ‘data collection’; if one can say that about qualitative research. I have interviewed most people that I wanted to, barring two sets- it is a big number, considering how challenging it has been to identify such people; when one is not taking the road of psychiatric clinics to reach one’s desired group of people. I am of course toying with dropping one person out, as despite my repeated requests to him to help me communicate with his family, he has not been supportive in the least. On the other hand, when he had come to meet me, I did not get the sense that he was ‘recovered’. He still seemed to be floating in the ‘twilight zone’- if I can say that and to cite him as someone stable and recovered would actually amount to misleading myself and the whole study.

I just finished transcribing the interview with my first research participant- a lady in her early forties, who has a Phd from the US and was given a bipolar diagnosis when she was studying in a university there. She had been through a series of treatments in the US and India and of course is among those people in my study , who are completely recovered.

I still have to transcribe her mother’s interview, but for that I also have to hear it first. Nevertheless starting the transcription is a great relief- at least I could do it myself! I was really afraid that I would not be able to manage it.

This was a short interview but I have much longer stuff to deal with. the learning curve has been straight-forward> From the time I started the work of collecting the narratives, until now the fag end of it…my questions have become very clear and concise, for by now I know what I am looking for. This has also of course cut down the time I need to expend with every individual/family and it is a useful thing indeed. This is the filtering process at work finally- you filter out the irrelevant questions.


It is a great relief to do the first interview…(oh, the above cartoon is really my condition at present. Apart from the dogs, the major thing looming on my head is research).

The insights of the lady whose interview I transcribed about marriage and what is the meaning of ‘recovery’ are interesting and useful contributions to my work. Marriage is really not a cure for someone’s suffering and depression, is the nutshell of it. The rest of course has to go into my research, not on a blog I write- at least not yet.

On another front I am planning a few articles on different themes- one about the ethics of peer research (whose outline I have prepared already), another about epistemology and where I draw my inspiration from AND one article also in music- in the area of applied musicology. The winter months are looking quite introverted as usual. On Friday I will be giving a talk in the Department of Psychology in Delhi University, on the subject of Transforming the self through music”- the one department that always pulls me in thanks to the professor with who I have overlapping interests.

There is no dearth of work on my table, not to mention the two new pups in the house, an ageing and ailing Labrador- who has taken a turn for the worse after the death of my German Shepherd Raga. Life is active and the spine is also better nowadays. Thank god for small mercies!



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