Welcome to the first edition of PhD Buzz!🐝🤔💡 As promised, it is my way of sharing periodically with my readers about my journey into doctoral research while working full time. It is intended to inspire and motivate others to pursue their academic goals too. Remember, I’m just an ordinary person aiming to achieve extraordinary goals while living a balanced and positive life. If I can do it, why can’t you?

I begin by updating you that today I have successfully defended my research plans at my university registration panel. This is a big deal for me and I feel a sense of relief and validation that the esteemed panel supported my research plans and most importantly agreed that they are worthwhile to pursue. Woo hoo!!!🎉 (Phew!!!🙏)

The experience of presenting my research to a panel of experts is actually good grounding and experience for me as I continue my research journey and in preparation for future vivas. On reflection of the research process up to this point , I must admit that attending the panel today was a really interesting and informative process. I’m feeling really excited that I have achieved a major milestone on my PhD journey. 

The panel highlighted several scenarios that I had not previously thought of. However, I now accept that this is inevitable and indeed is a vital element of the research journey. There are several areas of my proposal that now require further input including being more explicit about rationales, setting the scene for my research and expanding on my role as the researcher. The panel fedback at the end that I was articulate in my defence of my proposal and that I had convincingly argued my case. Result!👍

Mixed emotions
As I said in a previous post, prior to today and right up to the moment I entered the room, I felt nervous that one of the panelists would ask me a ‘killer question’ that I had not prepared for. Well, there were several questions that really challenged me and made me reflect on my methodological decisions. I have further work to do by reading up on the research of others to improve my understanding of the area. However, I feel a real sense of pride and accomplishment that I was able to confidently and calmly discuss the rationale for my choice in methodology. Further refinement will be an ongoing process and will enhance the quality of my proposal. 

My pearls of wisdom

Preparation, preparation, preparation! This is key and starts from making the decision that there is an area of interest worth exploring further. There is absolutely no substitute for putting in the work – blood, sweat and tears or a combination of these. Preparation for the panel included psychological as well as practical preparation. 

Pragmatism is key, so your research must be feasible and based on realistic reasoning. Self-belief, self-confidence and having a positive mental attitude are important when you are going to meet experts in their fields. I have learned that I too am an expert in some areas too. While I accept that I am a novice researcher working on the continuum towards becoming an expert, however I am an expert in being a health practitioner in the field. I have an understanding of what it is like to work in healthcare today! I have insight into the current realities of modern healthcare provision and service management. 

Going forward, I feel confident and buoyed to push forward with my plans and Gantt chart in hand, I will meet the milestones that are before me for the next three years. Confidence in my own ability and the support of my supervisors are invaluable. When doubt and frustration resurface along the way, I will remember this moment and carry on. My research is useful and patients will certainly benefit from it. 

Can I do this? Resoundingly, with a winner’s mentality, my answer is ‘yes I can!’ 👇


What will you do? Share and inspire others!

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