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PhD and me – methodology

Taking in the worldview

A blog about the hard slog in the face of reality – in the philosophical sense as the underpinning of decisions of method.

I can now kill at will. Two months of reading little else but philosophical and methodological literature, and I can now identify positivist positions; consider the empirical merit of perhaps supporting naïve observation by critical realism; or, I can reflect upon taking a classical pragmatic perspective and similarly seek to better underpin an empirical research approach. I can also therefore kill a dinner party conversation, just as quickly as attention has just been killed in this blog.

Suffice to say therefore, that in beginning to consider anything more detailed than quantitative or qualitative method of data collection or analysis – much more is to be considered. Every PhD student probably deals with this learning differently, but it is individually won learning, and not something won overnight. If you want to know why a PhD can be a lonely place, or at least a quiet place, this perhaps offers some clues.

The last two months have been quite eventful – I have chalked off a few PhD milestones all students must pass through. Having past through my six month formal progress review unscathed, all focus turned immediately to my transfer preparations. The transfer is a big deal, because it is pass / fail in deciding if the combination of me as a student, and my research as a contribution to knowledge, both have merit enough to be continued. Most student pass – so do not let that put your off – but enough do not pass to reveal the reality of threat offered by this key event. It is a right of passage all PhD students much endure. My own deadline for that submission is the end of July.

I can also report two more major milestones have been successfully met in the last six weeks. A conference poster has been prepared and placed in public viewing of my civil engineering school peers. My first conference development paper was also submitted – and to my delight accepted for presentation in a few months time. Having moved into a tentative place of conference attendance I have also been permitted (indeed required) to offer peer review to other academic conference paper submission hopefuls. A separate blog will be offered on that conference experience, once a little further progressed. For now however – and with conversation killing intent – all has become very real (or relative), and appropriately filled with existential angst (or possibility of deconstruction). But all in a good way.

…to be continued

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