Where am I at, rethinking my research questions and first steps of the new year.

I actually started the PhD back in July of 2019. For reasons that seemed logical at the time, I continued to work my corporate gig full time for another month, then went part time, then when I realised that still wasn’t going to work I resigned and have been focused full time since mid November. I’m super, super lucky to have won an RTP scholarship (the Australian research scholarship that is funded by the government but managed/distributed by the universities) for both fees and the living stipend, so I have been supplementing that meagre amount with my savings since then.

I’ll start tutoring this semester, which is great – my background is in education (corporate and ESL), so hopefully that will help. I’ll definitely include posts about how that goes.

Progress wise… I suppose this is why this iteration of the blog is here. I’ve been reading a lot, and have started on my introduction chapter, but I feel super behind on where I should be. I was given a “magic quadrant” diagnostic to think about in my last supervisor meeting (first of the year) and it’s made me really scratch my head. The 4 quadrants are:

  • Key Concepts / Research Questions
  • Key Objects of study
  • So what? The significance of the research
  • Methodology (Theory & Methods)

No guesses that I’m struggling with the So What?. Initially I thought I had that down pat, but after talking to both my primary and auxiliary supervisors I really have to rethink this. Which, in turn, will effect the other three that I thought I’d mostly locked down.

It’s made me question why I’m even trying to do this, and if my research has any merit.

Which, really, is the whole point. If I can’t say with absolute clarity why my research matters, there is no point in perusing it.

My confirmation of candidature is up in March, so I better get cracking on that.

So, that’s where I am at now, really having a think about the So What?. I’ll keep reading some more – I found this great article on the Cornell University site that seems super relevant to my research interests – Recommendations and User Agency: The Reachability of Collaboratively-Filtered Information – I hope it will help me start to formulate my “because…”.

Are you struggling with any of the 4 quadrants above? Leave a comment and let me know – there’s learning in camaraderie.


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