Wednesday, 15 September 2010

the more you know, the less you know?

I've (temporarily) slowed down my blog posts, but I'm not too worried as I'm pacing this over however many years it takes to complete this PhD. This week I've reflected on the early stage I've reached. What has got me here? As with all larger studies, one thing has been the bravery to say 'I'm interested in this...' and to offer a question, theme and approach. Another has been (surprise, surprise) reading. Over the last year, I've done quite a lot of it. I have loved looking into subjects and ideas that I've always been fascinated with but never had the chance to check out. Vygotsky, Bruner, Engestrom, Edwards....activity theory, narrative theory, symbolic interactionism, actor-network theory, structuration - you get the idea.

Ironically, I'm currently feeling that the more I understand - the more ideas, authors and so on I come across, the less satisfying the original proposal becomes, where new ideas don't fit the schema and adaptation is required, or I engage in some sort of 'expansive learning'. I suppose this is my own version of PhD 'disequilibrium' where I use mental models until they no longer do the job. I can sense I need to do a bit of work to make the jump to the next version / articulation of my proposal, one that takes the ideas I've found useful and reconciles them and perhaps rejects some. 

The trick is to 'hold my nerve' as I feel that I'm not so sure what it's about anymore! This was prompted with a chat with my (now officially approved) supervisor. I realised I was using a slightly 'out of date script to talk through my ideas. 

I need to re draft for my full proposal anyway, so that's useful.