It looks like I'm taking a slightly different course with my PhD thesis following a session with both supervisor and advisor (a backup supervisor to provide some external help). The choice on the table was whether to pursue the direction uncovered by my Masters dissertation and focus on in-country case studies in Brazil, or go back to my original thesis proposal, which involved a comparison on education systems and policies in Chile and Brazil.
There are arguments in favour of each, but as Francisco (Panizza, my supervisor) commented, each will take me in a differetnt direction: participation in the case of in-country cases in Brazil, or on public policy analysis between Brazil and Chile. Ken (Shadlin, my advisor) made the point that the difficulty with an in-country thesis is that it might be difficult to disentangle the role of federal and sub-national governments in educational policy, an issue that would be absent in a two-country case study. Then there's the question of available material - and I can tell there's not a lot in the UK on the Brazilian states I would be looking at; at least with Chile and Brazil there's some stuff I can already get my hands on.
Having thought about it, I look like going back to the Brazil-Chile study, which would also benefit me by ensuring that I have knowledge of more than one country - always an asset as single country expertise may be rather limiting. It just means I'm going to have to brush up on Spanish though...