Friday, 10 June 2016

A different approach to writing

The old pen and paper. I haven't used just pen and paper to write in a few years. I find typing a fast way to get my thoughts down and save to the appropriate file that I can edit later. 

I'm reading a book by Mitch Albright-the PhD manual- 132 tips for surviving and thriving whilst writing your thesis and one particular point inspired me to stop and write this post. You see, his point about writing with just a pen and blank page has set me on a challenge. The challenge is to just write with no documents, texts, or devices, just a pen and a blank page. 

My challenge tomorrow is to write for at least 15 minutes with just a pen and a blank page in front of me on a subtopic of my research- the theory -practise gap and write. Surely I can do this. I have been reading an avalanche of papers related to my topic over the last few years. 

So here it is, my challenge to write tomorrow for 15 minutes on my chosen topic with nothing else but a pen and a blank page. And this blog is going to keep me accountable.😉

24 hours later, I have returned to this blog post to write an update.
I'll be honest, this approach didn't work for me, however, what it did provide was inspiration to contiNue writing - on my keyboard.

I need to tap away at my keyboard so my writing keeps up with my thoughts. I also need just a single piece of work that I can use to write productively. It could be anything, an article, a mind map, a page of notes. But I need just something to work from. 

I'm glad I tried this approach because although i didn't write anything productive to begin with, I was able to transfer to my laptop, realise what I needed to get back into the swing of writing. So yes, it did help break the drought of writing for my thesis.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Finding your methodology

Moving on from narrative inquiry as the approach to my research to a lesser known line of inquiry, I have realised there are a number of things to consider when choosing a methodology. These include:
*listen and read about other researchers methodologies - they're not going to all be listed in your textbook 
*there are many methodologies to choose from and you may need to research a few before finding the right one
* if it's not quite the right fit then keep looking
* you may need to borrow elements from another methodology
* talk your ideas out with your supervisor - that's what they're there for - to help

I'm sure there are more that I can add as time goes on. How did you find your methodology?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Read, scribble, read, idea, scribble

As I get my head around a possible methodology and way to conduct my qualitative research, I realise I have a lot of work ahead of me- mostly writing that makes sense. After reading a few papers in my new way of inquiry, I rush to write ideas so not to forget them. It looks more like a preschooler's scribble but it makes sense to me. Now to put my scribble or lines into paragraphs so that I might include some of it in my thesis. I've remembered what I need to do to ensure I keep waiting - write about anything and everything even if it's not direct,y related to my topic and only a few sentences. Once I start writing, I'm usually in a better headspace to write on what I really should be writing about- my research topic. Thought it's not just writing about my topic, it's also writing about the process and why or why I haven't included particular items. So I thought I would share below my latest scribble that needs to be written up in academic speak.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Theories, methodologies and perspectives. Oh my!

Theories, methodologies and perspectives - what are they? It's been a long time between blog posts and I can say it's mostly because I have been disillusioned by the question - which methodology fits my research?
So after exploring Narrative Inquiry (NI) whereby the researcher retells participants' stories through listening, observing and interviewing their lived experiences, I've concluded that (insert family feud's wrong buzzer here) that NI is not quite the right methodology for my research project. It's not wrong just not right either.
The socio-cultural perspective is still on the right track and it fits with the current track of thinking with- Third Space Theory and Appreciative Inquiry. 
If you want to learn more about Third Space Theory (I'm still learning!) Check out Dr Adam Fraser and Appreciative Inquiry in a nutshell is in the below cartoon.
So until next time, I need to make sure that instead of read, read, read, I need to read, reflect and (w)rite and get back into the Phd life!

Neural overload. Time for an extended study break.

Life is a journey and many people have philosophised that it is like a roller coaster - full of ups and downs. When there are more downs than ups then it probably a good time to regroup and take a break. When I started to question the importance of my own research and the methodology that I have been exploring for months, and any headspace was taken up by the rollercoaster downs, I knew it was the right decision for me to take leave from my research. As PhD students, we are on a clock and I want to ensure that every minute is is my best effort. 
Taking leave for me had the following benefits;
*Time to free headspace to feel motivated again to flood my brain with more information on my topic.  
*quality time with my sons
*to be kind to myself
*find purpose in my research
*explore alternative theories and methodologies
*finish the long term 'to do list' so that it was a clean slate to fill again

If you're thinking of taking leave (outside of holiday leave), have a chat with your supervisor. It's better to stop the clock than stress even more that you've run out of time. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Graduation Day!

12 months ago I graduated from my Master's program. This year's graduation for the School of Education, I was invited to attend not as a graduand but as part of the ceremony's academic procession. I must admit it was fun donning the academic robes again and sitting up on stage looking out across the sea of mortarboards with their tassel swinging side to side.

Standing with the academics in their doctoral gowns has increased my motivation to complete my thesis. Sometimes, motivation to write wanes and attending the graduation ceremony as part of the academic procession and recession has reminded me of my goal. It has made me determined to get to my graduation ceremony where I wear the big floppy hat or the velvet tam.

So, how's your thesis writing going?

Sunday, 29 March 2015

3MT top tips to successfully compete

Last week, I finally competed in the much anticipated Three Minute Thesis or 3MT. As I am at the beginning of my journey, I didn't have data and I believe this will definitely be a plus the next time I take part in the 3MT.

After stalking previous 3MT winners on YouTube and following the 3MT hashtag on twitter, I have collated a list of tips for successfully standing up and presenting your thesis in three minutes. Now that I have completed my first 3MT, I can also add a little humour may help!

So here's my list:
  • Interesting catchy title
  • Engaging introduction/opening line
  • The question/s
  • How I went about it
  • Final message
  • Eye contact
  • Enthusiasm
  • Wear dark clothes
  • No notes- from memory
Also include:
Recent research suggests (no refs)... What about exploring pre-service Teachers lived experiences and sharing their voice?
Results will lead to further research...
Now although I didn't win, I feel I did have success as I achieved my goals - one of them standing up there and getting through it!
What would you add to my list?