Sunday, 31 October 2010

Masters and Slaves

Five weeks ago I started my masters degree, and so far so good. As a research degree I don’t have that many classes; two lectures and two seminars per week. They certainly believe in throwing people in at the deep end! I only now realise how much work is involved. For the seminars I have to do a load of reading because students need to present on and take part in discussion about their reading. It’s actually a very clever way of making sure that we do the work!

The next thing is to start on my essays. I have two due in December, but with careful planning I should be OK – I’ve taken leave from work and (a huge advance since I was an undergraduate) most of the learning resources, books etc are online; it saves on time consuming trips to the library. All in all I enjoy it and am learning a lot, and I’m glad of the support the university helpfully provides.

Being a research degree, one thing I must do is my dissertation – and that means identifying a topic. I’m not quite sure what to research yet; that’s quite understandable given I’m five weeks into a two year course. But, one initial idea I am taken with is combining my work in healthcare strategy with my interest in sexuality. Say, exploring heterosexism in the commissioning of health and social care.

One thing I do know already is the importance of reflexivity in research. That means reviewing my research and my research proposal continually, as my data and findings should lead me to refine my area of enquiry. And part of that means keeping a research journal.

That led me to consider this: instead of having a private journal I wondered if I should perhaps keep my journal as another blog. I don’t know if it’s appropriate when conducting research – perhaps you will have some insight into that, gentle reader?

I know what you’re thinking – two blogs? No-one, not even in Strumpetville, can live at that speed! But it would be time limited to the period of my dissertation; while this blog continues indefinitely. And as I’d have to write a journal anyway, on or offline makes no difference.

It’s just an idea at the moment, but I’m taken with it. Unless I discover it’s a total no-no in the field of academic research then I intend to start it as soon as I begin to seriously think of my topic and research design.

As for this blog – new look, new determination to post at least weekly. So plenty to read about, I hope.


Nik_TheGreek said...

When you consider your dissertation topic you should think about which course is more appealing and interesting to you. However you should also take into account which professor you think will most likely be available to you and help you through the project. You don't want someone disappearing on you when you most need him.
Starting a second blog will be time consuming. Why don't you add it here as your 'advice' section? You could use the blogsphere for questionnaires.

Antony said...

Hi Mike,

Loving the new blog design! I'm in the same boat as you, got an assignment due in December (also taken leave to get it down) and then my dissertation in March. I still haven't started my dissertation, I'm like you struggling on the topic. Better get going and arrange some module supervision!

Love and hugs,

A x

Mike said...

I could add it to this blog... but I don't want the two to get confused... hmmm.... lots to think about! And so little time!!