Saturday, 7 May 2011

stitching together research ideas

Hi there. As I've said before, like many part time PhD students, I manage to 'weave' study in amongst many other things going on in the week. At the beginning of this week, I was really fed up with the lack of progress with my reading and thinking. Really fed up. It felt like I had lots of little 'bits' that did not make sense, and I could potentially be pushing forward in lots of different directions.

This weeks #phdchat on Twitter was helpful, and several other people reflected on how it can be useful to 'pull back' to the bigger picture (in my case, usually a mind map of ideas, perspectives and authors) as well as zooming in to quite specific pieces of reading to make progress. Too much of one or the other isn't that good for perspective or progress. 

 Towards the end of the week, it was looking up a little. I'd carved out some time to read and make notes. Specifically, what really helped was reading a critique of one of the theoretical perspectives I'm playing with written from one of the other perspectives I'm hoping to blend it with. It helped me see contradictions, shared 'pivotal' concepts and so on. I even had a great run of finding articles when I checked out where a certain article had been cited. 

It's still little steps, but enough to convince me that it's worth persisting even when a 'product' isn't evident at that moment. 

In addition, I've realised that to get ethical approval for my research (next academic year) I need to apply this month. That will be a rush, but I probably have the elements there. We'll see.