Dr chloe warren is a communications professional. she finds it tricky to communicate what that means, but this in no way reflects how great she is at communicating. probably.

The Specifics of Specificity

This week wasn't a great one, but, like most weeks of a PhD student, it had its ups and downs. Towards the end of last week, I attended two seminars by Maria Gardiner, from Thinkwell. The seminars were informative and motivational, and helped me to identify a number of the emotions which had been holding me back previously (anyone heard of Imposter Syndrome?), and try to come terms with them.

I went back to work on Monday with new mantra and a new approach; I could be productive and I was capable. I got stuck into drafting my lit review, finally turning my back on some reading, and instead starting to put those 20,000+ words of notes from the 200+ papers I had been reading into some sort of logical order.

On Tuesday, I attended an Induction Workshop, where we were informed of some basic outlines for our confirmation reports (to include lit review, time-table for the next 2 years, preliminary results etc.). We were told the final document should be between 3000-5000 words. Now, my current draft of my lit review (representing maybe 60% of the total info I had intended for it to contain) stood at 4000 words...

I realised that I had taken the wrong approach. Those 3000-5000 words didn't have room for 'waffle' (in this instance; clinical information, drug development history, non-canonical pathways of my protein/s of interest, disease risk factors...). What I had written so far may have been interesting, but it wasn't relevant enough. In writing what I had, I had been unconsciously hiding from the fact that; I didn't have a research question. For all that time I thought I had been productive for, I had actually been procrastinating.

I don't know how to develop a specific research question.

I don't know how to judge whether that question is good enough.

Even if I succumb to the notion that the question may work itself out over time, I don't know what to do with myself in the mean time.

Project Verification

Fear in the Face of Criticism