One of the contributors to a recent In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg made the glaringly obvious point that ???clockwise??? is only so because of the sundials that preceded clocks and watches. With most of the R&D being done in the northern hemisphere, the way we read our modern timepieces owes much to the spin of the earth. Glaringly obvious if you ask me??? once someone had pointed it out.
However you choose to measure it, time marches onward. The academic year has reached Easter, an oasis of comparative calm between timetabled teaching and end of module marking that announces an academic year???s completion. With room bookings required we???ve started looking ahead to September 2012 and the arrival of new students, when the cycle will begin again with fresh faces, new ideas and a summer of events to reflect upon. Before then my attention has a chance to settle back on research, PhD matters and whether my progress is onwardly marching at a fast enough pace.
Three deadlines are looming???
- My faculty has an annual research conference in May, at which I???ll be be presenting.
- Following that I???ve been accepted to talk about an events studies conference in Belfast, with what I intend to be a development of the May paper.
- These two talks will tie in nicely with my ???RD4???, which is the next hurdle put in place by my university.
The RD4 requires me to set out clear aims and objectives for my work, alongside a literature review, methodology ideas and future plans, all in five pages or fewer. I???ll be using some existing work to develop these sections, having recently completed a ???scoping??? literature review of a couple of dozen sources. This gave me a chance to test some ideas against the literature, before the planned ???systematic??? review. I???ve been playing around with the requirements of systematic reviews, to try them on for size. It???ll be interesting to see whether a formal systematic review will be appropriate to the event management literature; I haven???t seen it used before, but it???s something else to talk about in the methodology discussion.
Working within the university???s requirements and those conferences gives me some focus, but it???s also a framework on which to build supervisory meetings through the summer. I???m not sure I???ve got the hang of managing my supervisors yet, as PhD candidates are encouraged to do, but then I need to make sure I???ve made some progress to show them: onwards!
Image: 'Sun Dial Closeup' / flickr.com/photos/joshstaiger/20836332/