Week 5: Getting to the Final Push

This week made the end of my project feel a lot more real! I am now over half way through my analysis and writing up my findings as I go for ease. As I hit the final week, I feel this has been a real productive start which I needed to make some positive progress.

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Day 1:

Today I completed analysis of all texts from 2010-2015 under Ed Miliband’s leadership of the party. This took me a lot longer than I expected, mainly as I did not anticipate the sheer scale of some of the speeches and texts which are produced for party conference. Once I finished though, I was able to compile all my findings into data to show which was the most dominant discourse under his leadership.

The most challenging aspect of this was when I was considering the 2015 Manifesto as due to the format of the document. While with all the speeches I was able to edit them in one word document, the manifesto remained in a strict PDF format, therefore I had to annotate by hand which made statistics a bit more challenging. However, I was pleased with the outcome and with the various documents I have produced so show my findings.

After completing the analysis, the next step was to draft up my findings into a report which will go towards my academic report I hope to produce. This is just a rough draft at this stage, however I plan to show this to my mentor at our next conversation and gain feedback and understanding on how to improve. One of the most challenging aspects of this was actually understanding how to use and work graphs and charts on word- they were surprisingly challenging!


Day 2:

While this makes absolutely no chronological sense, today I started to analyse the text under Keir Starmer’s leadership of the party. There is some logic to my thinking here, as there is significantly less literature for Starmer’s era due to the short time he has been party leader, and therefore I would be able to complete a section of my project relatively quickly.

While this may all be for an illusion of progress, I have actually found myself to be much more connected to this section of analysis, probably because it is under his leadership that I have been involved with the Labour Party myself. While I am conscious that I may have some favouritism in this section of my research, I have been actively trying to ensure I am looking at this project with objectivity and being aware of my potential bias.


Day 3:

Today I was able to complete my research and analysis of Keir Starmer’s speeches. It took longer than expected just because I was being extra conscious of my potential bias and therefore took more consideration with my analysis.

I think that doing it in this order has actually been hugely beneficial to me, as now when I go back to analyse Corbyn, I can separate him from Miliband before him due to a physical break in time when I am researching therefore there is less chance of me having concerns or trying to compare while doing independent analysis.


Day 4:

This was a standard day of typing up the trends and data of the Starmer analysis I did yesterday. I have noticed that he sticks firmly to a certain discourse which is currently at odds with what Miliband produced. Perhaps Corbyn will look like the piece in the middle?

The most challenging aspect of writing this up was making sure to get the statistical data there and deciding exactly how to present it, but once I had the analysis down in a descriptive way this became clearer. I am happy to have this completed before discussing with my mentor tomorrow.


Day 5:

The main event today was a discussion with my mentor before I go onto the final week of writing and analysis. We had a constructive discussion about how we are able to improve the project and even look at the scope of continuing the research for our own interest after the deadline/end of the six weeks.

One thing I have decided is that my research will go further than the deadline to include the upcoming Labour Party conference which will hopefully have some decent developments in policy which can build and challenge the analysis I have completed on Keir Starmer.

Hannah Boyle

Undergraduate Student, University of York

I am a 2021 Laidlaw Scholar from the University of York, focusing my research on the question:  How was the U.K. Labour Party changed their discourse and proposed to challenge domestic poverty and inequality since 2010?

I have been involved in Politics at a local, grassroots level, including community campaigning, and previously worked for Rachel Reeves MP in her constituency office. As a Politics student, I am interested in all things political and anything related to International Relations, with particular interest on the European Union, Women in Politics and International Development.