I don't really understand the point of your argument...

Oh... but you don't say that in the paper.

Didn't I?

I had an interesting experience in my annual PhD roundtable presentation this evening.  It felt in some ways more like an attack than a discussion, and I am left trying to think that I learned from the experience.

I presented my first case study, or at least the write up of my first case study on EAPN Ireland.  Its much too long and two immediate things are clear:  (1) there is noway I am going to be doing anywhere near ten case studies; and (2) it does not look like I will be writing up each case study separately. I think the way to go is write them all up and then carve them up by theme.  That should be doable and should make for a more interesting read.  Though I wonder if it then becomes more of a comparison of the organisations rather than an overall assessment of the programme.  I need to think about that.

Back to the roundtable: I tried to circulate something more tangible than a theory chapter in the hope of eliciting more comments, I also flagged a number of questions that I would like to discuss. Neither approach seems to have been especially effective.  That said there were a good few people who did not make it this evening, which is a shame.

What is interesting is in some ways you get the regular questions, and these will remain the first questions asked, so it is useful to polish the answers.  That said I don't have a sense that very many people read the paper, or even parts of it.

What questions did I get:

  1. Taking a documentary approach like this does not really address the experience of participatory democracy that people have - what it meant for the people involved (this is an interesting one).
  2. What is the theoretical framework (given last year I presented the first of two theoretical chapters, I did think this one was clear, obviously not clear enough).
  3. Should you compare these organisations to one that has not received state funding (this one has come up before).
  4. Give less information and more tables summarising the findings (I did try to do this, but perhaps not enough?).
Something else struck me, there seemed to be an underlying negative view of organisations like EAPN Ireland - an assumption that they are not working in the best interest of those they are representing.  This is a bit surprising, but not the first time I have faced it...