Interview challenge: day 14

Gosh two weeks into my challenge and I haven’t done 1 interview yet. Today I read one article, enquired about transcripts and had chat with friend from NT government.  A bit of progress, I guess.  However, I am yet to practice my interview techniques. Should I ask Indian for help?  I booked a room for my interview at my building because I can’t think of a quiet place in the city. I also need to get my technology and paper work: voice recorder, probs, information sheet, consent form and interview questions. 

Today I got a call from my sister in law mom, that my mother had breast tumour. I got worried not so much for the so-called tumour, but for her memory.  Worst the doctors couldn’t tell me anything about her because of privacy, and she can’t authorise for me to speak on her behalf because she forgets to ask. Catch 22. She was supposed to be at at doctors this afternoon, but she forgot to go. Then she told people that hubby was picking her up, after she told us she wouldn’t need to come home till February next year!!  She is getting frustrating and tiring, but this is just the beginning, going downhill from here to the cruel end. I’ll see her in about a few weeks, hopefully by then this breast tumour drama is solved or treated. 


Interview challenge: day 13

Almost half way my challenge.   I am getting there.  Got another interview booked today. Plus started  conversation with two more potentials. Those potentials are just a matter of finding the right time. I am yet to book a retailer, IT, freight-forwarder, irradiation and importer.  I am still hoping my colleague gets the interviews with growers.   I feel that I have booked so many people 11 in total so far, but I am still missing 7-9 interviews!!  Am I doing too much now?  At the end it will be like 20 interviews.  Hope I can manage all that data.

I also got an idea two options on transcriber.  Today, I finished the on-line agriculture course, very relieved.  Mum wants to come to come to our place, but i am so reluctant to have her here. Need to refinance our place too. So many little things to do.  Mentally exhausted.

Interview challenge: day 12

This interview challenge will last more than 30 days.  If I am to conduct 15-18 interviews total, I really need more than 1 month to complete.  Worrying given that I have a full time job, 10 days road trip down south and maybe travelling to Northern Australia.  In total I only  have 8 days for the sessions.  Anyway,  I’ll do what needs to be done.   Good I have another interview booked, maybe two.  That means that I have 7 confirmed, 1 almost confirmed.  Ten interviews still up in the air: waiting for 3 responses, introductions to 3, plus researcher to book 4 farmers.  As the time progresses, my stress levels are increasing.  I think I may explode.  This trip to Sydney is putting extra pressure too, as just thinking about the driving is making me anxious. My neck / shoulders are giving me brief, so went for a quick massage, but still not feeling ok.

By the way I am doing the on-line basic introduction to agriculture, I have found it very useful as I never had any formal training in farming before.  The format is excellent and the presenter has prepared the material really well.  Only issue is that because I was sick for around 2 weeks, I didn’t follow the set timeframes, so I am catching up.  The course finishes in two days.

Last night had a great time with friends, good food and cold cider.  Today had a good fathers day at home, just being confy with children and hubby.  Boy 2 got lovely card and boy 1 did a violin recital. Felt almost jealous.  Despite all our dramas, ups and downs, we are still here celebrating another fathers day together.  At times I dream of freedom, but today was a beautiful day with the lovely men in my life.  We are an ok family after all.

Interview challenge: day 11

Got another appointment today, this time largest transport company. Happy about that. Still waiting for seafreighter and irradiation. Also asked colleague to make appointment with growers. So far 6 interviews confirmed, 4 waiting response, 4 colleague, plus 4 still to be determined. Not bad effort. I did some lit research on the technologies and found some good articles.

Later I got an email with my ex-supervisor name and her new title, professor  / Director of agriculture, it made me upset to know how high she’s gone thanks in part to my help when she didn’t have contacts. Still hurt about her dropping me as a PhD student.  I can’t understand my anger, it was all for the bettter at the end: I am in a good position right now, got great project, awesome external supervisor, advanced in research, but still I am upset and unable forgive her. Only with God’s help I could move on.

Cuchubal tonight and Tomorrow Father’s Day! Busy, nice weekend. PhD work: read the three articles and take notes.

Interview challenge: day 10

Good progress today. I met with fellow colleague I discussed our research plan, logistics, I asked to borrow temp probes for interviews, got ideas on interviewees and agreed on appointments. He’s great to work with, and I love his passion for the project. Also, I got 5 out of 18 interviews booked, 2 waiting for response and 3 to send emails on weekend. DPi researcher will make the other 4 appts, plus I will get to talk to NT and Qld officers, over the phone.  That leaves 2 – 3 extra interviews open for recommendation during interviews. I need an IT person, plus a farmer. Excited that I got 5 sessions booked.  Again I knew this people from before, and to be fair that’s what I bring to my project: my previous experience and contacts.  Make the most of it Grateful Mamita!! 

Today I invited Chinese researcher for dinner, she was kind enough to explain the different technologies. I know can search for myself with a greater understanding of what each technology does. Grateful for her time. This weekend is Father’s Day, what should we do?? 

I am so tired, relieved the weekend is coming. Glad too that I will not start interviews on Monday, I wasn’t ready. Fellow researcher is travelling to North Qld, but he didn’t mention it during our meeting this morning, more worrying he kind of change tune about arranging growers interviews. Am I reading too much? Ahh Mementi Mori.

Interview challenge: day 9

I am feeling quite anxious about my interviews, already feeling it in my body and my mind, walking up in the middle of the night, dreaming of interviews, dreading making the calls. My back and neck muscles are aching, my heart is beating fast and butterflies in my stomach again.  Finally got feedback on my questions.  Not as bad as I was dreading, but still some work to do and input to consider.  Good thing is that tomorrow is cuchubal and will be a good time to relax with our good friends.

Managed to get some interview sessions booked.  Granted most of the people I have contacted I know previously through my work, but still they could have refused.  By talking to potential interviewees I found out that most on my list will be travelling to Fruit Logistica, and then harvest season starts!  That means I am better start booking people in, otherwise the research window is closing very quickly.  In the middle, I somehow have to get time for my family holiday and arrange camping for boys, and WORK!  At work I am waiting on response to my job application.  I am hoping that I got the job, but slowly getting used to the idea that I may go back to my previous role.


Interview challenge: day 9

Finally my fellow researcher was found! He’d been travelling and just got back. I’ve made an appointment for Friday to discuss the interview logistics. I have also decided to move interviews for a week, to give me time to contact potential interviewees. I think this is slowly moving. It concerned me a bit that he was saying that he had way too many questions, worrying given that I already have many questions.  How do we compromise? I am making a bit investment in my research in money, but as well in time and energy terms, and would not want to compromise the validity of my research.

Today I got feedback on questions. A lot of changes, but it is up to me to accept feedback. At the end I have to remind myself that I am doing this research for my PhD., and not be afraid to disregard input that, although valuable, is not relevant to my study.  Next step I’ll start to catch up  with some of my interviewees and ask about their availability over the next few weeks..  I will also have lunch with one of my potential interviewees and arrange a suitable time/place for interview.  She could well be my first interviewee, good way to start my research as I’ll take it as a practice run. I will start mapping up the chain,. with the information given at the workshop.  This blog is starting to pay off, as I am focusing more on the specific steps that I need to take and makes me actually do it, as I have to write up about it the next day!

This evening I went to the launch of the “Queensland Alliance”, a group of community, religious and unions. Their objectives are people’s power and community engagement. Gov was there giving it Government support, a bit of non-brainier given that an election is coming.  Interestingly, the opposition did not attend, I guess that it’s to be expected as the most of the people attending the event will not ever vote for him.  Still a bad image, he should have sent at least a representative. Anyway, a very good community initiative, and I hope it works well.

Interview challenge: day 8

In four days I am supposed to start my in-depths interviews, but my research colleague I am doing this interviews with has not contacted me yet. It’s a bit worrying because it means that I haven’t made the appointments with interviewees and I can’t manage my time. Also, I sent copies of my questions to three colleagues, but no feedback yet. My mind is going crazy trying to figure out why people have not answered my emails: are they too busy? Are they out? Don’t they like my questions? and worse, did project leader asked them not to contact me? After all I am just an student and I am imposing on them to review and think questions. Very stressful situation. What should I do? Maybe a should remain focus and believe that all is good,  colleagues will respond, fellow researcher is ok for next week, interviewees will be available for sessions and technology will work well.

What I have done is to get two horti colleagues to be my guinea pigs as I try out my interviews on them. I also updated instrument with feedback from China and added a few documents to my NVivo folder. Today, I will contact project partner and decide on next week interviews. I could always just do city interviews the week after and focus on regional interviews when I am back.  Today will be decision day.


Interview challenge: day 7

Yesterday I sent my draft interview participants invitation and interview plan to DPi colleague, still waiting for feedback.  Also waiting to hear from horticulturalists that I sent out my interview protocol for review.  If my DPi colleague is not ready, I will not be interviewing next week, better I will come back to work and take leave on last week of September.   I think that I need to practice my interviews technique before next week. Looking for volunteers now.  I may have to use Indian as a guinea pig, also maybe Suzy. Done, I got my guinea pigs.  I will ask today.

I have been thinking if I don’t get the AO7 job, I will take 3-6 month long service leave, or I could take leave for 1 day a week off over the next 3-6 months too.   Either way, I will take leave to concentrate in the qual analysis after the interviews and prepare the quantitative research.  I heard that coding in NVivo can take up to 3 months, plus 3 months analysis and writing.  So, maybe 6 months leave is not bad.  Otherwise, this may take me 12 months to complete, plus I need to work on my journal.

Today is book week, boy 2 will be going as Captain underpants.  I am bad at craft things, but I do enjoy helping the boys with their little projects.  Yesterday, we had a discussion with boy 1 and his lack of efforts when doing assignments.  Granted he is smart and does well in exams, but at school assignment work is as or more important than standarised tests.  Homestay student is coming to stay with us for a 4 weeks.   Just what I needed, another person to take care of.  I wonder if all these extra projects are just part of my procrastination efforts.  Nothing makes me do other difficult, stressful things like my Phd!


Interview challenge: day 6

Yesterday I had a very good chat with my long time friend, he is the hospital suffering from severe depression and anxiety.  Sad to see such a great person suffering like that. Happy that he’s so well looked after and got many people caring for him.  We had a chat about our shared history, that PS and the future. He’s still thinking of going back to uni, travelling the world and getting back to Asia.  It seems that his love of learning will keep him focused, but most importantly alive. I wished him the very best and will try to keep in contact with him.   Ps .. the drive home was ok, with only minor anxiety thanks to cumbia music –  butterflies on my stomach.

As for my PhD work, I typed the notes from the informal discussion with the transporter last week. At the site, I took so many notes and recorded a bit of the discussion just as an exercise. I downloaded voice recording, converted from itunes to mp4, the loaded into Nvivo, then started the transcribing directly into Nvivo. Fantastic, now I know how to integrate the technology.  I also downloaded the AudioMemes app to use during my interviews.   This week, I will also check with our admin person at uni the process for getting transcribers appointed and airflights booked. I will also talk to my DPi person about making the interview appointments.   These part of my research I find it very challenging.  Butterflies again.