Informal blog post 2: structure and planning

This post constitutes the second in my informal blog series on the Puppy Rooms research, which I’ll use to help pull together the 3,000-word formal reflexive journal due mid-December.

I’ve decided to roughly split the work into five separate sections, each of around 600 words, and have planned out the content of the five journal posts:

  • One – What and why?
  • Two – Exploring existing literature.
  • Three – Reflexivity and bias.
  • Four – Questionnaire responses and first thoughts.
  • Five – Beginning to analyse responses and looking ahead to the final, 4,000-word report.

I’ve been using an excellent piece of mind mapping software called MindNode to plan out my full project and flesh out the areas I’ll work on, as well as their order, and it gives me the opportunity to visualise progress and highlight where I need to do more work.

Puppy rooms 1 mind map

For now I have whittled my ‘to-do’ list down to the following:

  • Do some refresher reading around qualitative data analysis (it’s been two years since I completed the ‘Theory and Method’ module, eek).
  • Write up journal posts one and two, as per the list above.
  • Capture and store the questionnaire responses, read through and note any initial thoughts/reactions, then begin coding and analysing.
  • Read through some further studies, specifically around possible alternatives to ‘puppy rooms’ events, with more certain benefits to both humans and animals.

There are some areas I’d like to explore a little further, though I’m not quite sure at this point how they will fit into the research. For example, some visual analysis of high-quality photos of puppy rooms event, which in many cases are available freely online.

For now I am pleased to have found a structure and created a visualisation of the research project overall. One symptom of the ‘brain fog’ that accompanies my CFS/ME is an acute difficulty in seeing the bigger picture; I get preoccupied with details and it’s then hard to move on and make progress. Another tool I’m using is note colour-coding. This way I can highlight what’s done and what still needs to be done.


(Note the deliberate mistake here, ‘five’ posts….)

I need to keep in mind the key differences between the 3,000-word reflexive journal (a ‘journey’ through the research project, an opportunity to acknowledge and explore possible [probable!] bias reflexively) and the 4,000-word report (the formal document that will present the finished research project). In my case, the report will make recommendations to HEIs and/or SUs about puppy rooms events, and (I hope) suggest alternative activities.


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