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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