I know I have been absence from my blog for a while but there were a few things I had to get sorted out. Firstly from the feedback from my PR01 and Residential School I have moved the focus of my research slightly, which has meant a rethink in my research strategy and a movement in my literature review.
Then I went on holiday. Not ideal timing I know, but it was booked 6 months before I was accepted onto the doctorate programme and I thought in holidaying in September that I would avoid any clashes with deadlines. How wrong could I be! Shortly after I was due to return from holiday I had the deadline of PR02. As it wasn’t possible to extend the deadline due to work travel commitments meaning I would have little extra time to work on my progress report I packed my bags for my holiday complete with a lever arch folder full of learning design papers, my laptop, iPad, notebook, highlighters and pens.
Studying on holiday isn’t easy. It’s not the distraction of the sun or the beach that you have to contend with, it’s the 40 plus degree heats that dry out your highlighters and gel pens as you mark and write, leading you to crank up the air conditioning in your room to arctic blast setting. And then to top it all off you have to fight for bandwidth with hundreds of other guests in the hotel lobby so you can log on to an Ethics seminar that you need to partake in, praying that the broadband in the desert will hold out long enough to post your forum comments, resulting in you keeping the hours of the hotel cleaning staff just so you can study before the sun rises and the sun worshipers flock to the lobby to upload their photos from the night before to Facebook.
To top off this study challenge extravaganza I fell prey to the Tunisian tummy bug after being served tap water in a mineral water bottle on the night of day seven leading me to spend the rest of my holiday in solitary confinement. The bug stayed with me long after flying home and after submitting PR02.
So, where does this leave me? To be honest it left me in a frustrating place, lacking in time and energy. But it was at this precise moment in time that my supervisors picked me up, dusted me down, and helped talk me through the planning of the next stages of my research.
The biggest difficulty of my research is that the field I wish to research is limited in the way of literature which means I have to read around the field into a number of other fields to see if I can reframe theory into mine. No easy feat. This leads me on to my second biggest difficulty, I’m old school. I’m a printy paper off, highlight, reflect, and write notes down with ink and paper kinda girl. This will not work for the volume of papers I will have to scan, shortlist, and read. Ironic as I’m known to always be carrying and making notes in my tablet for work, and my phone is surgically attached to my hand at all times.
This therefore requires a cunning, yet simple plan. And here it is, my blog becomes the place for my mini-literature reviews. I keep all my notes here with the aim to write a mini-literature review weekly. No more written hand notes like the ones above. And as I have self imposed my weekly deadline, no more reading papers to discard. The scanning of the abstract, findings and conclusion will be my ruthless filtering system.
Oh, and it starts today. Next blog posting coming up shortly. I feel like the energiser bunny.
For now, I’m still…
Doctor in Waiting