The sun is shining if I listen to others

I’ve been lucky to get a lot of feedback over the last couple of weeks. It’s been good for me. Feedback has been direct, indirect and through provision of yet more awesome material (thanks Dalma, Dianne and Bruce). Why it’s been good is because it reminds me how wonderful this experience is when shared with others. For example, catching up with Marion on Friday was great as we talked about how the personal impacts on the research. We shared stories of how work and personal matters impact on our research and alters our head space making research considerations less important. We also discussed how time gets away.

From this discussion I became more motivated and focussed. Sharing the concerns with someone else in the same boat made me realise it’s actually all okay. I’m not alone, it’s the same for everyone and we can all do this, so let’s just do it. Interestingly, this perspective combined with the feedback and input I’ve received has given me a bit of a confidence boost. I also start my one day a week off work to do research this week coming which makes me very excited. Ten months into the PhD and I’m still excited! The sun is most definitely shining.

New year, new show…

There was a television show I watched as a child called “Rock Follies”. They had a song in it with a lyric, “New year, new show”. It kind of feels like that today. I have a new show where all the research I’m doing apparently aligns.

I’m back into the research for the first time in a while and have spent the last three days getting back into articles I had located but not found and reading through them. It’s wonderful. I’m finding all sorts of support for my concepts which is great. I’m also finding consistencies within the research and the perspectives are similar. I would expect this for when I follow the bread crumbs, but it’s also happening when I do random keyword searches and the like.

Of course, finding all this consistency is a new show! It’s wonderful. But it also increases the spectre of the old show. What the hell am I doing? Why will my thesis be different? And then I think. And think some more.

The further away I get from the unit I completed (just) the more I think I can see what I needed to do there. I actually started shaping ideas yesterday and realised I was writing the introduction to my research proposal. So now I have to have confidence that the more I think about why I’m writing the thesis and the more I read and the more I draft and redraft and jot ideas down, the more clear it will become.

What I’m actually doing here is holding onto the old shows and working out how to combine them with the new. Hmm I think it’s time to return to some theory to see if that can help shape some ideas.

Everyone’s been here and done this….so what have I got that’s new?

I understand now Joelle’s perspective about the literature review and how it will alter your thesis as you go. Intellectually I understood her words but now I feel her wisdom. I am finding the more I research the more people all over the world have already thought what I’ve thought. There is nothing original in what I’m doing. Even the library at Parliament House has done bits of my research (which is actually awesome and I totally wish I’d found it about four months ago!)

So why should I do it? Well, because I still think that most research is focussed on the inputs to higher education and not the outputs. There is interest (substantial) on the quality of graduates, in that they meet the requirements laid out in legislation and so on, but no one is asking what they should actually be. Should they have knowledge and skills and the apply those in the workplace relevant to the subject area they studied? Or should they be more than that? Is the role of a the graduate to be a quality input to production, or is it their role to challenge the status quo? To seek out new questions for how our society should be and query what it is today? Yeah, that’s what I’m going to do. I want my thesis to provide the tools to the stakeholders of higher education to engage with discussion about what higher education should be. It might be that having inputs to production is the the best option for Australia today, but I’m yet to find a document that has even had the debate. Everyone agrees that commodification is occurring and everyone agrees that there are impacts to that, but we disagreeing on whether that’s good or bad. There is a debate, discussion, sharing of ideas and concepts. Everyone agrees there should be universities, and everyone seems to have implicitly agreed that graduates should be inputs to production. I want to have a chat about that premise. I want policy makers and stakeholders to understand that’s what has been agreed.

Of course first I have to see if that’s what is actually happening! Haven’t been focussing on that piece of research today – maybe tomorrow!

Oh, while I’m here, everyone agrees that Whitlam abolished university fees but there is a lack of clarity about the date. Most sources think 1 January 1974, but do you think I can find the bloody legislation change? Anyone able to help me out? I’m tired of fighting Comlaw…..we seem to be having a disagreement.