I’ve just sent out the questionnaires for my book groups reading “The Bell” in May – if your group is reading in May and you haven’t received a questionnaire at the email address you gave me, please check your spam folder and, if there’s nothing there, get in touch with me as soon as possible.

Three of my groups have now read the book and I’m eagerly anticipating the return of the second and third questionnaires. I’ve been busy creating names for the groups – instead of Group 1, Group 2, etc., I’m giving them names based on characters in Iris Murdoch’s (other) novels.

While waiting for the questionnaire results to come in, I’ve been doing some work on the theoretical side. Although this is not a formal piece of work for assessment in an educational institution, I am trying to write it as if it were, with the rigour and care that that implies. I want to make sure I get all the terminology and structure right, so I’ve been reading some books about writing dissertations and theses, which have proved both helpful and interesting. I now have more of an idea of how I’m going to go about “coding” the responses that I get back from the questionnaires, and have some more formal ideas on my theoretical underpinnings. I might even write some of it up soon!

I’ve finished writing up the first part of my case study on my own Iris Murdoch reading group – I asked the group (and myself!) half of the questions while we were still reading through the books; we’re now on the last one (“Jackson’s Dilemma”) and so soon I’ll be able to ask all the final questions – which was our favourite book, etc., and write those bits up too.

I’ve been corresponding via Twitter and email with some other researchers who are working within more formal academic arrangements. It’s struck me that, although they have support and resources which I might have to go a bit further to find, they also have the dreaded deadlines, whereas I am free to write what I want to, when I want to. However, this puts all the pressure on to me to get it done, and also means I have to prioritise it behind my Libro work and any pressing household issues.

I really appreciate the efforts my book groups are going to to help with my research and to fit their own writing up of notes and sending in of questionnaires into their everyday lives. And I appreciate the support of my friends and connections and their advice, retweets and information.