(Original post by evantej)
It is important that you realise early on that real research is difficult; and this is what your dissertation is, a taste of what real research is like. The reason you are having problems is because you have taken an ideological approach to your research and because you have already decided that there is a 'lack of homosexual relationships' in young adult literature.
Some people do not think taking an ideological approach is problematic, which is fair enough, but your assumptions need to verified; or you at least need to acknowledge that it is more complex than you suggest. For example, the Office for National Statistics suggest that only 1.5% (2010) of the British population are homosexual. At face value, your suggestion that there is a lack of homosexual relationships in almost impossible to maintain unless there are no homosexual relationships at all in any literature. You cannot possibly verify this, or even take a representative sample. Then you have to take into account literacy issues and the diminishing number of young people reading literature etc., etc.. Of course, these statistics are methodologically flawed for a number of reasons, and you want specific information on young adults not the entire population, but I hope you appreciate the point I am trying to make.
If you want to keep that title then you realistically need to take some sort of sample, for example the Carnegie Medal Shortlist. The risk you run is that of the six or eight books short listed none mention anything to do with homosexuality. What does this suggest? (Your lecturers would be uncomfortable letting you do this anyway, but you will realistically get away with doing it because most of the works will not feature homosexuality so you would only make passing reference to the majority, and focus on one or two in particular).
If you already have books in mind then you run the risk of being so parochial as to dismiss the validity of your research yourself. This was why, to use another context, Nabokov dismissed Dostoevsky: Dostoevsky's works made it look as if all Russians were crazy.
An easier approach would be to scrap the title and focus on one work, then work outwards, keeping homosexuality as an issue you might want to discuss more broadly with characterization etc., etc.. This in turn makes research a lot easier. For example, if you picked C.S. Lewis then you would find that there is a Cambridge Companion
dedicated to him, split into thematic areas. Then you could consult more general Companion
s based on children's literature (see below) and fantasy etc., etc.. These would then lead to more specific works dedicated to homosexuality.
Judy Simons, “Gender roles in children's fiction” The Cambridge Companion to Children's Literature
, ed. by M.O. Grenby and Andrea Immel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 143-158. I can email this chapter to you if you want.
You should always start from the text and extrapolate outwards, not the other way around. Scientists can work the other way around because they are not emotionally invested in the outcome like you are and have the means to verify their theories while you do not.