Example of Clustering Expressions or Meaning Units using thematic analysis in Generic Qualitative research
What Is the Experience of Expressing Will?
The expressing of will includes some movement or action that upon reflection is motivated by the desire for self-growth. There is an intuitive knowing that the movement or action is a statement of the self. It is clearly stated as a personal experience that is not influenced by others. In many cases, self-assertion occurred in spite of what others thought or said. It was repeatedly identified as something that the person did for him-or herself.
“Will is being true to yourself. Being true to oneself. To do the things that are truly good and beneficial for the person in question. Yourself.”
“A motivating factor in developing will was wanting to improve myself.”
“If other people were trying to talk me out of making a certain decision, I would not let that happen. If I thought it was something good for me and I really wanted to do it, I would follow through with it.”
“When I am seeking this meaning through expressing will and it seems positive, I am the one who is creating the goal. It is definitely slow in a smoother way, and I feel more whole when I am going toward something that I feel is positive. I mean, I feel my body, I know I am thinking, I feel spiritual . . .”
“To me it seems like it [will] is a deliberate, concentrated effort toward fulfilling my own potential.”
Throughout the expression of will, people tend to scrutinize their way of being in the world. There is a lot of thought pertaining to identity, what the person really wants, and what changes are desired. The self-reflection and self-dialogue have the quality of self-examination about meanings and purposes in their lives.
“I believe strongly in choice, but sometimes in my life I start to move in a direction where everything around me starts to shift, and then I get kind of caught up. And, now I have to make some kind of decision. Other factors are happening in my life. And, most often I am looking at how best to take care of myself and have some happiness, have some serenity in my life. So it is kind of like stopping and re-evaluating all the time.”
“Where am I in this process? Am I just being swept along or is it revolving around me?”
“And, asking myself, ‘Is this what I want to continue to do?’ And thinking, ‘No.’ Then how do you get over this? Be responsible, be an adult, and practice what you preach.”
“I found out that I was capable of doing a lot more and that I was much more skilled than I actually believed myself to be.”
“I needed to find a direction in life that would provide security and a meaningful existence.”
Planning and Organization
Inherent in the process of expressing will is cognitive planning and organizing. Much of this involves making priorities and scheduling time. There appears to be a procedure of identifying possibilities and selecting what practical steps need to be taken in order to reach the purposed goal.
“. . . if I had six hours to work on three different assignments, I had to choose two-and-a-half hours on this one, one-and-a-half hours on the second one, and two hours on the third—if that was what I felt I needed to do. And, it required that I finish the part that I had targeted for that one-and-a-half hours, in one-and-a-half hours. There was a mechanical sense about it. But it had to be done that way in order for me to finish.”
“I figured out that I would put everything in storage, pay rent to my brother, which would be greatly reduced from what I was already paying. I would have to throw my tenant out. I would lose the income from him, which was going to make it really tough . . .”
“And, I thought, well, the only way that you can really do that is to set aside some of this other stuff, and think about what it is that you want to do . . .”
“I think that part of what I am doing is coming up with a game plan. Little pieces of the game plan were . . . not as New Year’s resolutions, but kind of like goals for myself. I decided that I was going to become more involved with this group called The Farmington Single Professionals.”
There is a back-and-forth movement that happens during the expression of will, which is created by an internal conflict. Sometimes, this conflict is seen in the form of questioning and uncertainty about which direction to choose. At other times, it is obviously incongruence between the intellectual functioning and the emotions. The person experiences an internal struggle or battle that moves towards a resolution as the process unfolds.
“I was thinking that quite often the expression of will is something that starts as a struggle within. Not so much something I feel outside of myself, but an internal conflict.”
“. . . a lot of thought. Feeling a lot of negative, up and down, back and forth.”
“I am having this conflict in my head, going back and forth. Trying to convince myself which way I am going to go. And, that is what it is. I am trying to convince myself which path to take. It is like a fork in the road. I am either going to go this way or I am going to go that way. Which way am I going to go? I am sitting there thinking about it, going back and forth . . .”
“. . . it is almost like a fight with myself.”
There is an effort that is extended by the person during the experience of expressing will. This effort takes courage, fortitude, strength, commitment, and, at times, sacrifice. These qualities put together take the form of determination. Determination as a part of the process was mentioned many times in regard to overcoming personal and worldly obstacles.
“That took will and I just kept saying to myself, the end results will pay for it.”
“The outside world is not as important. It intrudes with necessities such as dentist appointments and oil changes; however, I can organize it so that it does not interfere with my goals.”
“I see will as having the courage to make a commitment and follow through on it, regardless of the difficulties.”
“It is staying strong and in control all the time. It is time consuming and takes energy.”
“I made the commitment and I tried to make the best decision in the best way of expressing it or moving toward it and again. It is always a matter of choice and will and determination.”
“So I went. I took the risk. I was determined to get out. I set this goal. I worked for it for so long. I could not give up now. So I continued.”
Transformation of Feelings
During the experience of expressing will, there are periods of intense or uncomfortable feelings. These feelings are explicit throughout the process, however, the feelings gradually change. In the beginning, the feelings are experienced as uncomfortable. The feelings range from anger, despair, guilt, fear, loneliness, hurt, and anxiety. Later, the feelings are described as confusion, self-doubt, sadness, and being overwhelmed. As the process continues, there appears more expression of joy, hope, happiness, and excitement.
“The emotional experience I went through from closing that place down was that of losing a loved one. It was the exact same emotional experience . . . . It is depressing. When you are faced with being at the point where you are going to lose everything, you have got to come up with an answer fast or you are going to lose everything.”
“It is almost like that is a resource, that out of loneliness, out of anxiety, some wonderful things can take place.”
“The fear left at that point.”
“The strong feelings would come and go. They would appear stronger after a disappointment and then anger at myself would start the desire for a better life.”
“At first, there is a lot of self-condemning and as the change is in process the internal dialogue takes on a more positive tone.”
“At first, it was uncomfortable, but now I am affirming myself for using my will.”
Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. London, UK: Sage Publications.
Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.