Hope you guys had a great weekend.. I can tell you, I didn’t!! But mainly, that’s down to my own poor planning this particular weekend. I have absolutely nobody to pin that on but myself.
I am a planner. But the PhD process has caused me to take a step back from that very fine ability of mine. As I mentioned in my last post I plan in three month blocks. Yesterday, was Starbucks Sunday. See below:
The Main Gist..
A few weeks back, I was in need of an intervention. I didn’t post about it – although maybe I should have. Anyway, thank God for a good support network! A good and strong support network is necessary, trust me. I posted about this a while back – check out some of my earlier posts.
..Hitting THAT Spot.
So anyway. I hit a blank spot and it was very very sudden. When and if you reach this – it is NEVER GOOD!! All my creative juices, flowing through the day…then suddenly, nothing. Every student, regardless of your level, goes through this. In the midst of it all, my mentor called me up and boy, was I glad she did! It was supposed to be a check-up-on-progress kinda call, but honestly, it came at the right time. She gave me some advice which I then saw a twitter discussion about a few days later. Anyway, I found it sook useful – I thought I would share it with you guys.
THE Research Question.
The title of your thesis has got to be one of the most challenging things to come up with. Its not because you dont know what you want to discuss, but because of the the thought process that goes into constructing the sentence. You don’t want to start with a ‘Is’ ,’Are’…for a start. These lead to a closed answered questions. What your thesis wants to do is to prompt a discussion. So, those starters are out of it. Try, ‘To what extent…’ etc. You get the gist?
The Sub Questions
In addition to your research questions, you ought to have some sub questions which will a) help shape the outline of your research; b) help you decided what you need to discuss in your main body, the themes in your chapters; c) help you answer your research question.
As I mentioned in my last post, it is indeed the halfway mark. So in addition to reviewing your 3 or 6 monthly plan, a good way to review and ensure you are on track is to go back to your initial research question. Literally. Go back and see if what you have written actually answers the research question AND if the sub questions have some kind of relations with the chapters you have come up with.
Lost in Translation?
If the above doesn’t translate to what you have written down…it is better you discover it now, than later. It isn’t enough to review if your chapter has grammatical errors and sorta makes sense. No baby girl, baby boy.. it has still got to be in line with the actual questions your trying answer. In talking to her (mentor..Let’s call her Miss B.), she said she started from scratch even after writing several chapters. Now, I don’t know if I am about that life personally…the thought of re writing anything is certainly daunting. However, I do see the reasons why. I think I would rather rewrite now than later or worse, fail the viva. OMG. THE SHAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Say Goodbye to all that prestige and Prada. Ok no, thou shall not fail the PhD. Thou shall pass and dance “Shoki” into church when I am about to do thanksgiving. “Shoki” is a popular Nigerian dance. Not in line with the Christian virtues, (Father forgive me..) but it is just a dance move. Anyway, if I fail to dance it, I am very sure my cousins and the remainder of my family will incorporate it into whatever song is being sung during the dance forward to the front! Anyway, enough about that LOL.
So boys and girls…that’s my two cents on the matter.
I am back to the Monday grind at the IBA…my work colleagues think I am “Anti-Social” btw. I laugh in Swahili!! I am the most lively person, ever! I want to put it down to the fact that it is coming at a time when the PhD has taken priority over spending every lunchtime together. Anyway, more about my experience here, later. I actually don’t think I have a single bad word to say about it But ya, in my later posts!