All entries for Tuesday 17 October 2006

October 17, 2006

starting to write the phd

in theory Saturday and Sunday should have been my days for working on the PhD. It did take me a while to get down to working on it – I spent a lot of time re-reading where I’d got to and trying to make sense of it, then trying to work out what area I needed to start reading to get started on the literature review. That took more than a day and I got nowhere. Part of the problem I guess is that I haven’t actually written anything since December last year. For the first few months of the year my available time was taken with editing a book, the rest of it was taken up with attending, and then writing the assignments for, the Advanced Research Methods course. In fact, I didn’t really have time properly to do that, I had to skip one of the sessions to get the time to write the assignments. The problem with working full time is that you only really get one day a week to work on the PhD, and that’s not going to be every week. Which means when the sessions are running, nothing else can happen.

Anyway – I think I was having difficulty starting the literature review because I was thinking of the whole review. When that got nowhere I planned instead to take a learning and teaching activity that happened last year and start analysing that. I started looking at the literature that I needed to read to understand what was going on in that activity, and started writing! I guess some people need a very focused target for their reading and writing in order to get something started. That might be a tip for other students to get started. Think small and focused at first.

Clearing a space is getting trickier because I’m now getting invitations to do stuff. I have to learn to start rationing those out, otherwise my time is going to be limited again. I figure one day off every week is about right, but acquiring the self-discipline to turn stuff down is something I’m still having to work on.

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