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Supervision with W. (questionnaire) – 14.7.2008

Monday, July 14th, 2008 @ 2:07 pm
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I am towards the end of my second PhD year and we have scheduled a supervision session with W. to kind of review where i am at, using the reflexivity questionnaire i have created recently, following my recent conference presentation in Manchester about the researcher’s identity and relationship with the PhD process. We have mentioned in the past that, given my research is heuristic and auto-ethnographic in terms of methodology, it is useful to regularly relfect on my own research process and write about it as part of the data itself, something that i will include in my Thesis, at different sections. Doing this PhD is a dynamic journey that shifts me and the understandings of the phenomenon i am exploring in various ways. I notice that when i had a similar supervision session with W. around this time last year, i was then at a different state – far more confused, enmeshed and a bit lost or overwhelmed by the impact of the PhD topic upon me and the research process itself. During this year, i have moved to a totally different position where i am far more emmersed, confident and comfortable with the challenges the research in presenting. I am recording below a brief summary of the answers i have offered when dialoguing with W. earlier this morning, using my PhD questionnaire as a guide:

1. me and the PhD topic

  • How do I relate to the concept(s) related to the topic/questions of my PhD at this stage?

I notice that i am much more familiar with the dynamics related to the concepts i am exploring, i am more knowledgeable in terms of the relevant use of language and the meanings inherent in the concepts involved, i am more alert to the nuances of the notions that are relevant, i explore definitions critically and am more aware around the links between the areas that i am covering or that are revealed in my data etc

  • Do I notice any difference from previous stages? (and can I identify/name those stages) – If yes, what is that?

the difference i notice is that in the past i was more confused around what i am exploring, i knew the general area but couldnt see the boundaries around it as clearly, something that is still happening at times but it less cluttered

  • In what ways do I notice the shifts of understanding to the meanings and dimensions inherent in my research through time?

I am more able to identify the conscious and less obvious (maybe unconscious) meanings that are related to the topic i am exploring
2. Me and the research data

  • How do I relate to the data I am collecting?

I have noticed having some resistance to spending too much time with the transcripts, as if there is some sort of dialogue going on in relation to what i experience personally around my topic and what my participants share or are not sharing. this is data itself around questionning what is said and what not in an interview, as if what i am asking is often a bit intangible cause so subtle. in the next month i will spend time with the transcripts with that bit of awareness

  • How do I feel/think when I am transcribing or reading the transcripts?

It is interesting to observe the meaning making process or interpretation and processing that takes place when am re-visiting the material after the interview

  • In what ways is the meaning making process of the data affected by my literature readings, dialogue with peers or academics and my professional practice?

I notice that through reading the literature and share my reflections with peers, i manage to discover the language or discourse in order to articulate or express what is being conveyed in the interviews

  • How does it feel (also what do I think) when I am analysing the data?

there is more work to be done on this, it definitely feels like a deeply engaging process that requires good management and periods of retreat so that i can see the whole picture…this fits with the heuristic methodology anyway
3. me and the PhD participants

  • How do I feel towards the research participants?
  • In what ways, if any, have the relationships with my participants developed over time, from initial contact until follow-up communication with them?
  • How do I perceive the relationship with participants is shifting (internally and/or externally), if at all, as I proceed with analysing and discussing their material?

4. me and the research process

  • How do I feel in terms of conducting this piece of research at this moment in time?
  • Do I notice any difference (if yes, could I name it) in relation to how I see myself as a researcher since I began and in relation to where I am at now?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities that I have been facing at each stage of conducting this research?

5. me and my PhD supervis-or (-ion)

  • How do I experience the relationship with my supervisor is affecting my performance and growth in relation to conducting a PhD?
  • What are the qualities in my academic supervision I find helpful?
  • What are the factors/elements/dynamics in my academic supervision that I find less helpful? What would I like to be different?

6. me and my work/practice

  • What are the changes, if any, that i notice in my work as a counselling practitioner, as potentially influenced by underating a PhD/research process?

7. me and my support system

  • Which people in my life have helped me (and in what ways) to manage the challenges I encountered as a result of conducting this lengthy research?
  • What activities/support systems have I drawn help from in order to cope with the impact of the research process?
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