PhD finally under way

On Wednesday I made another significant step in my academic progress. I took the afternoon off work to go over to the University of Suffolk and sort a bunch of annoying tasks:

  • Collect a NUS Extra card, for student discounts
  • Chase up and eventually obtain a university ID card for access to private areas
  • Discuss my application process with someone from the university postgraduate office
  • And my first official supervisor meeting!

The most important part of the day was definitely the supervisor meeting. I had met and spoken with my supervisor several times before, but this was the first official meeting as part of the PhD program. I had come with a progress report and a slew of questions; he had come with the formal requirements of recording the meeting. Most of my enquiries received sensible responses, and those that did not were taken as actions. At my request (and as suggested in Phillips and Pugh (2015)) we also agreed a task for me to complete for the next meeting. I am to gather a data set of my reading to date including: search terms, categorisation, proportions of usability, quantitative numbers, trends, categories, areas of interest, a timeline and so on. I’m not sure yet exactly what form this will take, but I get the strong feeling that the point of the exercise is the exercise. Learning to note, count and categorise my search process as well as the things I find is obviously a useful research skill, and one that’s easy to overlook.

Now it really feels as if the huge and weighty PhD ship is starting to move.

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