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Post-panel ramblings…

Thursday, June 28th, 2007 @ 1:02 pm
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Soon after the panel, William wrote an email to the rest of the counsellings students group informing them about the panel’s outcomes for those of our team who went through it on Wed. and invited us to share our experience of the review panel, as feedback to other students. Here is what i shared via email with my peer students’ group:

“the process building up to the review panel day with all the preparation
involved and the decisions to be made was tiring and challenging but then,
having this ‘deadline’ pushed the whole thing to a better place. The panel went
better than i expected. Although i consider myself faily confident with
presentations, i went in feeling initially quite nervous. However, i felt that
there was sensitivity to that during the meeting and sensed that the people
involved helped me get more relaxed when the discussion started. I was asked a
few challenging questions but felt free to ask for clarification when i wanted
and i responded in a genuine way. I think they were fair questions. For those
that havent gove through the panel yet, let me give you a flavour of what i was
asked (at least what i remember right now!):

1. i was asked to say more about where i position the literature i draw upon for
my research within the wider literature (I think this was asking me to show if
i had read more widely about the topic, not only from a counselling perspective
but whether i have some sort of awareness of influences from other disciplines
or perspectives)

2. I was asked about methodology: i was stating that i do Heuristics but they
wanted to see MY understanding of it and give examples etc ( i think this is a
common question because many researchers state that they do X but then what
they do looks more like Y…so, i guess even if there are changes on the way
and we end up doing sth different than what we set to do, it is crucial to be
stating clearly rather than sticking to a particular framework which might not
prove as fluid, maybe because it makes us feel more secure within its

3. I was asked about how i imagine my PhD thesis to look like i.e ‘ok, you told
us the data you will collect and how you will do it..but then, what do you
imagine to do with it in the Thesis?’ ( i think this was to show them about
having an idea of analysis and whether i am aware of different possible choices
i can have to present the findings. This was not to show that sth is right or
wrong but more to show if i have thought about it)

4. i was asked about some clarifications in the proposal, i.e what do you mean
by X? Whenever i was asked a question with words that i would probably not use
myself to describe what i would do, i felt free to say that i wouldnt use them

Finally, i think the discussion became gradually more personal.They were
‘curious’ about me and my topic and we had a more relaxed discussion about how
i experience what i am talking about.I think that the way i positioned myself
in the research (i.e revealing my personal involvement to the topic and the
autobiographic links to it) gripped the panel’s interest and brought up this
‘curiosity’,which i think proved to them that ‘actually, yes, there is more we
can learn about things that are subtle or not ‘rock science’

generally it was a positive experience, clearly not like some i have heard in
the past…so, thanks to those that have ‘provoked’ the changes

My thanks to William and Clare for all their input and support, also to those
fellow students that provided feedback and support during this preparation

Hope this feedback is useful to some of you…”

A coupe of day after the panel, i had a meeting with P. about possibly presenting sth together about the panel experience at the conference coming up. I realised during the discussion that although i was intersted in contributing in any useful way, the panel day (and more precisely the process that has been going on for the past few months) was still raw and part of me wanted to withdraw and leave it behind for a while rather than discussing it again and again. I felt comfortable talking to P. but also realised that i need to be maning choices about to what extend i wish to expose myself or not when talking to a wider audience, especially at an academic setting. I will do as i feel at the conference anyway, i want to keep in simple and let them students ask what is interesting or useful to them

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