Archive | August, 2012

Turning negatives into positives

1 Aug

So… my last blog outlined a not-very-nice PhD methodology-related situation I was unexpectedly faced with recently. As you know, this caused me quite a bit of distress, confusion and uncertainty.

Since then, taking the advice of my supervisors, I have done nothing but read, scribble notes and stepping back to reflect. My reading has been focused on the main qualitative methodologies and philosophical frameworks. While initially, this was rather painful to do at this stage of my PhD, it has been invaluable. It has forced me to revisit a number of difficult issues and consider a range of possibilities in order to address them. It has also made me take a step back and really consider the overall aims and objectives of my research. I still have some more reading and reflecting to do before I meet with my supervisors’ mid-August, which will be the first time since my last blog post.

Today, I had my TMC (thesis monitoring committee) meeting. This was my first TMC since my Transfer of Ordinance in February. Given my recent problems, I was very anxious about this meeting. I had no idea how I was going to explain what had happened and was concerned about what their response would be. I needn’t have been. Prior to the meeting, I considered all the ‘negatives’ of my situation, decided to turn each and every one into positives.  Surprisingly, it was not difficult to do! This would have been an impossible task to do two months ago! My TMC all listened, asked questions, offered advice and were extremely supportive. I came out of what could have been a difficult meeting, feeling good.

Although my issues are not resolved as yet, I firmly believe they can be. This I know will not be done overnight and there will still be many challenges ahead. That’s fine. I also know that what is happening at the moment will ultimately make me a stronger researcher; my PhD will be much more robust (I will not produce a mediocre thesis – I will produce a damn good one!) and I will be able to defend my work well in my viva.

So that’s just a quick update of progress – and although I couldn’t see it a couple of months ago, I definitely see this situation as progress. I am looking forward to continuing with what I am doing now then meeting with my supervisors later this month. When that day comes, I will be much more confident in talking about the issues that arose during my last supervision and importantly, I know I will be able to engage in a constructive critical discussion as to how I can move forward.

Just before I go, I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone on #phdchat and beyond, for the support, encouragement and advice that you have given me via this blog, twitter and email.  Thank you for helping me turn my negatives into positives…





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