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Writing up - crafting the story some personal reflections Simon Down.

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1 writing up - crafting the story some personal reflections Simon Down

2 what story you are trying to tell? we deal in conceptual narratives: ‘the concepts and explanations that we construct as social researchers’ (Somers 1994: 620) connecting personal troubles of the people you research together with public issues in what way does the problem matter to you/others? what will your intervention/writing achieve? for whom? don’t try to tell too much you are not an artist/novelist

3 ‘Some people who write books, I’ve read their stories where they build things up that’s not there’ (Ralph Kotay, a ‘Kiowa elder and singer’ quoted in Lassiter 2001: 137) don’t speak for others don’t over-analyse co-produce

4 description requires precision and care analysis and interpretation requires honesty science rigour is no automatic shortcut be reflexive, try alternatives how plausible is your story? on weaving

5 how does it come together? William Carlos Williams wrote: ‘A writer is a person who’s best is released in the accomplishment of writing – perhaps it is a good variant to say – in the act of writing. He does not necessarily think these things – he does not, that is, think them out and then write them down: he writes and the best of him, in spite even of his thought, will appear on the page even to his surprise, unrecognised or even sometimes against his will, by proper use of words’ (1974: 7)

6 6 use of data use of quotes: what people don’t say that is also important be selective with data: illustrate your contribution, whilst doing justice to the overall project/lifeworld show, don’t tell (and don’t show and tell) don’t repeat and list; you are not trying to prove anything all roads lead to contribution and theoretical generalisation

7 7 use of data various representational/ analytical logics can apply: polar/extremes thematic; connected to aspects of the research question/ proposition/contribution ideal typical (i.e. composites) narrative/story driven

8 writing attractiveness of prose dramarepetition +/- nuance/ qualification confidence/ authority detail vs. stereotype/ cliché etc. plausibility/ credibility flow/pace metaphor, etc. engagement


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