A wheelie good week for Bicycles Create Change Blog

As part of my new year goal setting strategy, I made a commitment to celebrate small success. This mechanism is not about attaining milestones and chalking up points, it is primarily a way to practice regular acts of gratitude and to be sure to take the time to enjoy positive results before rushing to move onto the next task.

With this in mind, I very happily acknowledge that this last week has been particularly favourable –  what you might call ‘a good blog week’. Having just dragged myself out of a new year funk, I feel very blessed and excited about the awesome things that happened this week.

An extra good blog week

Here are the top 5 amazing synergies from this week:

  1. This blog’s readership broke over 1,000 readers per day
  2. Through the blog network, a Casey City Council Representative asked permission to repost onto the council Facebook page my blog post about the Boys Backyard MTB Track from 26th Feb (CCC has been awarded $2.9m for a new BMX Complex and Cycling Precinct and like the idea that local riders of various skills and ages knew what they wanted from their cycling infrastructure – grassroots example of community consultation!).
  3. I was contacted through via blog comments, by an international academic regarding some of their research that has been featured on the blog (some of the most popular posts too!) and we have been emailing since.
  4. A local business asked if I could display my blog’s business cards at their counter. They loved the idea of the blog and wanted to support me and promote more locals to participate in active transportation.
  5. I was featured in Griffith University’s EPS weekly internal newsletter ‘Hot off the Press’. Each week a different personality is approached to be ‘introduced’. It required answering 7 standards questions – the result of which is displayed below. Since it has been distributed, I have had people come up and say how much they liked it and that they would check out the blog and other super supportive comments.

A wheelie good blog week

A super happy week!

Individually, each of these events is a lovely thing to happen, but collectively, it has been fantastic.

It feels good to be recognised for the work I do on the blog, it is not always easy. It is also great that people are now reaching out to contact and connect with me. It has also been great to get some feedback, share ideas and have some two-way interaction with other like minded people – seems like everyone is a bike advocate now!

This week has been very memorable as it is the culmination of lots of (enjoyable) hard work. It is wonderful to have people responding so positively to the blog. This week has been a massive confidence boost and injected me with a healthy shot of motivation. It has been a very unexpected, humbling and exciting week.

Thank you to the regular readers and welcome to the newbies!

A massive and sincere thank you to all those who have contacted, supported and encouraged me thus far.

And to those new friends who are more recent visitors to the blog – welcome to the community and enjoy!

An unexpected (New Year) slump

In December my principal supervisor retired one week before Christmas. I had no idea this was going to happen. One of the main reasons I had asked this A/Prof. to be my supervisor was because of her sound knowledge, experience in PhD supervision, experience with all the workings of the University, expertise, and that she was going to stay at the university for quite a while and see me through my research journey. Doh!

It was a very unusual time for this to happen. One week before Christmas. I remember wondering what this mean in relation to my imminent first PhD milestone, my Early Candidature Milestone Report (ECMR) due in February. The day after she told me we flew out to New Zealand for an 11-day mountain biking trip. I was happy for the break from researching, I felt a little lost and unsure of what direction I was going in, so I was looking forward to having a good hard physical break to reset and come back with fresh eyes.

On my return in the new year, I had two weeks of intense marking to do for a course I was teaching. It was difficult and energy sucking. It rattled my routine and sent me into a stressful mode of working – not the start to the year I had planned. On top of this, there was all manner of other crap happening concurrently, most pressing that husband having an operation and was home flat out incapacitated – recovering for three weeks – meaning our home routine had also changed significantly.

 

Good grief!

By the start of this week, I realised pretty quickly that I had to proactively scrape back some semblance of routine and control over my work process, resources and PhD status. I could feel the cool grip of discouragement and confusion setting in. This was compounded by the fact that my uni was pretty much closed down over the holidays (so no-one was around), academics and staff were away (no-one to consult with), and I could feel the pressure of my ECMR submission date. I had made sure I was still on my bike and riding, but certainly not enough to stave off the beginnings of demoralisation. I felt like I was getting sucked into the Rooster’s new year transition vortex.

 

Time to take back control.

I needed some reinvigoration and to establish back some structure and clear direction. Reminding myself of my original aims and purpose for doing this PhD I find is a powerful way to connect my daily smaller actions with my bigger picture goals and justifications.

With this in mind, I decided to set aside half a day to sit down and map out my yearly goals. I set myself a series of activities and analysis strategies to process what I had achieved so far, what I was doing now, where I wanted to be and how I was going to get there.

 

Already feeling better – calmer, clearer and more collected.

I got a lot done that afternoon and things started to shift. My mood lifted and I was back in action and at the desk working. I talked to some staff, students and other candidates and decided now was the time to get the ball rolling on my PhD Supervision. I harnessed this momentum and sent out some emails to academics.

So this week I’ve been speed dating academics.

It has been a very overwhelming, interesting, surprising, and very thought-provoking. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations that I’ve with academics I’ve meet. It’s been great to be exposed in a truncated, introductory fashion each one’s unique interest area, ideas, approach to PhD Supervision and hear about what their area of expertise is. As well as sounding out these academics as potential supervisors, each one was also very generous with their time, ideas, sharing reading materials and contacts.

 

Now, I’m back on track.

I felt myself getting re-motivated as we discussed my project, more enthusiastic with each conversation. I was overwhelmed with interesting suggestions, resources, follow ups and observations about my project, possible future directions and collaborations. It was great to hear that each one thought my project was super interesting and valuable and wanted to stay in contact regardless of which supervisor I chose. I walked away from each ‘date’ with a head full of ideas and feeling super positive.

 

I’ve made my Supervisor choice and am excited about the next step.

I’m really glad I took the initiative to meet with those that I did, (aside from it being necessary for me to find a new Principal Supervisor) and went about it the way I did and was so highly selective of those I met with. In doing so, I was privy to some very stimulating, practical and intelligent ideas. It has helped reactivate my brain, get me out of my new year funk and spark me up for the next phase of my academic journey.
This was the kind of start to the year I had in mind!

Perfect timing too. I can utilise this renewed energy as I complete my ECMR and get prepared to head down to Melbourne next week for the Bike Futures Conference!

It’s good to be back on track!

Speed Dating Academics

I decided it was time to leave the downward spiral and exit the New Year labyrinth. Time to get inspired, confirm my new Principal Supervisor and get back on my previous productive PhD research track! Nice Save (*phew*)!!

Today was Griffith University’s Education and Professional Studies (EPS) HDR Student Conference. This Graduate HDR* Conference is organised by the EPS PhD Candidates for other Candidates. Although I am on the organising committee, I did not attend the proceedings today because I am Melbourne for another event (SSWC 2016 – see upcoming post). * In AU we call  PhD Programs HDR = Higher Degree by Research i.e. PhD or Doctoral programs. In the US, PhDs are part of the Graduate Program (Grad School)  – hence ‘Graduate HDR’*

The reason I am posting about the Graduate HDR Conference now, is the theme for this year’s conference “Aiming for the future: Learning from reflection and reality” really resonated with me. In developing my PhD research proposal, I was very strategic about synthesising certain professional and civic dimensions that I think are very important – education, social justice, community development, and of course, bikes! One of the reasons I am so motivated in my research is that it is inherently practical to implement. It is not difficult for me to translate my research into practice. This is not necessarily the case for other researchers.

 

Griffith Graduate HDR Student Conference 2016

So this conference theme aligned well with my personal approach to research. I think there is great value in exploring and trialling methods and praxis, and feel that unless research can be operationalized to contribute to a better outcome for all, then a project does not fully reach its potential. It is also an excellent forum to not only get together and network, but also to share ideas about work being undertaken. I was looking forward to hearing the abstract sessions detailing what others were working on – I find it perpetually inspiring and engaging to hear the range, types and topics that others are working on. Most of all I was looking forward to the Guest Speaker Workshop “Possibilities: Knowledge into action” session (understandably why) to get some fresh insights and motivation.

 

The need for peer contact

Whilst organising this conference, I sometimes caught myself thinking that there were certain aspects of this conference I was sorry I was going to be missing. At this stage in my PhD, I am preparing my Early Candidature Milestone (Feb 2017) and coming out of my most challenging time working on this project so far,  I recognise that I wanted to go to this Conference to reconnect with some Uni contacts. I had been feeling quite awash, distanced and anxious after not having my usual regular contact with peers and supervisors. So I was craving to discuss and mull over a few challenges and to get some suggestions, motivation and ideas. I found that just by working on organising the conference, meant that I had more contact with some of the other candidates and started feeling much better. By the time I met with my supervisors mid this week (a meeting which I had been very much looking forward to), I felt was already feeling much more settled and refocused.

 

Actioning the theme

Now that I am down in Victoria for some bike riding and exploring some research possibilities, I am back in my element – the physical realm. I most certainly would have attended the Conference had I still been in Brisbane, but I like the idea that, instead of sitting in a room talking about how to energize research and translate it into real world practice, I am out in the real world investigating ways to translate the lived experiences into research. In a strange way, I’m putting into practice the main theme of the conference, which, I suppose, if I was not there to participate, is a bloody good alternative!

I am looking forward to hearing how the conference went and some attendee feedback as to what they got out of it, what worked and what didn’t. It is a great opportunity to get the HDRers out from behind their screens to network, share and stimulate each other. You never know where a conversation topic might take you, or how participating in a workshop can unlock a new idea or direction – after all, I am now doing my PhD because I sat at a table in a workshop last year and got chatting to those around me on the table – and boy and I glad I did. I hope the attendees today had an equally provoking and restorative experience.

Now back to the bike and making some contacts for recruiting singlespeed research participants!

 

2016-hdr-student-conference-program_final

This week I saw my supervisors for a meeting as it is my PhD 6-month review.  We were meeting to discuss my PhD Lit Review. I’ve not had a meeting with them for a while as we’ve all had things on – I’ve been working on my Lit Review, one had long service leave and the other has been working hard for the start of the Uni semester.

I’ve been keeping busy and trialling different productivity techniques and activities to varying degrees of success. I’ve missed not meeting my supervisors each month. I like the routine, and it gives me enough time to get some work done and work towards the next deadline.

I’ve been struggling the last month with my Lit Review as I’ve found myself summarising the issues to do with my topic and not fully critiquing the references as I’d like to be. I chatted to a few other full-time PhDer about getting their lit reviews done and it the consensus is that it is on ongoing progression that you keep coming back to. I asked my supervisor to see her original thesis she wrote in 1999, which she gave me a copy. I’m keen to see to what degree and how she critiqued her sources, synthesised content and expressed her analysis and critical thinking about the methodologies and theoretical frameworks – I know I have to work on these areas for my own lit review.

My primary supervisor suggested I look at the online RMIT Lit Review material as she thought it was helpful. However, I like the practicality and find having examples more instructive, so the UQ Reviews with examples is more my style – especially seeing as though there is extra downloadable info.

But to get me back on track – I’m going to first head to Randolph’s (2009) A Guide to Writing a Dissertation Literature Review, which is clear, informative and has some great info. I’ve extracted the following two tables from said article.

I find this first table useful to approach readings, and I like the idea of having questions to answer or a focus to draw out – it also helps hone key terms, methodologies and points for comparison that I would not otherwise necessarily have looked for – but most importantly I like the reminder, and I’ve found it invaluable in relation to looking for disruptions and gaps in some research aspects.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 9.36.19 PM

This second table is a useful editing and content refinement checklist. It helps keep me honest, structured and stimulated content inclusion and points that I need to clarify, include or emphasize. I think ultimately, I will incorporate ideas from all these three sources. After a week of marking course work (this week) and having a little mental break from my Lit Review, I’ll use these resources as stimulus to get stuck back into it and refocus the themes and work on increasing the level of critical analysis – which is probably a good thing as this will be my main task at least up until November.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 9.37.03 PM

Today I attended a session provided by the Griffith Graduate School entitled ‘How to Plan Your PhD’ workshop with Hugh Kearns from iThinkWell. The workshop was directed towards PhDers who are in the early-mid stanes of their HDR candidates and covered a range of topics. After having a bit of a flat week and not achieving as much as I had hoped, this 2. 5 hour session was the perfect remedy, as it reaffirmed what I have already been applying and finding useful, as well as suggesting a few clear and productive strategies to identify next step goals, stay focused and chart progress.

7 main themes from the Thinkwell workshop

Without providing too many details as I appreciate the content presented is part of Thinkwell’s core business, in a nutshell this workshop covered 7 main themes:

  1. looking at the big picture
  2. breaking down big tasks into detailed plans of action
  3. addressing aspects of Supervisor meetings
  4. some helpful ideas to track and monitor writing progress
  5. working on parallel specific projects that might be undertaken concurrent the dissertation
  6. a few tips regarding setbacks (l really liked the Tim Tam analogy)
  7. finances

Clear and useful

The presentation was well-paced, thoughtful and very accessible. The few key main ideas were developed well with enough detail to be quickly understood and interesting, but not too overwhelming that it required extra work and thinking. I liked how each idea was explained, and for the goal setting/time management tasks, there were handouts to fill, followed by time to confer and share ideas with others before moving on. The session was engaging and productive, and the content was immediately useful and applicable for each student. I’m now super clear on what I am doing first thing tomorrow morning!

I have my 6-month meeting with my supervisors in 2 weeks, so the planning aspect of some of the handouts gave me some good ideas about what to bring to the table to ask the right questions at the next meeting. I also got some more ideas about the next steps to complete leading up to the meeting as well.

Free online planning resources

I had looked at some of Thinkwell’s online resources last year and had actually downloaded the PhD tool kit then – now having attended the workshop and being immersed in my studies, the functionality of the Thinkwell planners and forms now have context and are more practical. I remember thinking that it was great that they provided so many free time management resources and templates for free (check them out here), which is one of the reasons I was interested in attending this session as I liked the range of time planners, guide, lists and prioritising tasks and really appreciated that they were offered for free for others to use.

I was glad I made the effort to go. It was good to connect with some of the other researchers I had not seen in a while and to meet some new faces. I came away with some good ideas and most importantly, I’m reinvigorated to start tomorrow a fresh – and dive back into my research routine – that in itself was worth the effort!

Source: ithinkwell.com.au

Source: ithinkwell.com.au

As support to my continuing PhD bike research, this time last weekend I attended the Australian Association of Research in (AARE) Education Theory Workshop 2016. It was the first time I have participated in this event and I went because my supervisors recommended it Griffith HDR candidates who registered got free admission. I was not sure what to expect, but I went out of general interest – to get inspired, make some contacts and perhaps even get some ideas for my research.

It was a pretty impressive event for a number of reasons. It was a very challenging and stimulating environment, with lots of academic theories, conceptual frameworks and readings being thrown around. It was at times engaging and confusing – but I let it all wash over me. I took lots of notes, contributed to extending my own understanding and I got some worthwhile advice and follow ups from the sessions I attended and the conversations I had.

I got what I wanted out of the experience and would go again. Some session were more helpful than others and I am glad that I went with a clear sense of personal purpose – I felt comfortable and productive.

 

Lots of big words – AARE Theory Workshop 2016

There were a number of academics from all over Australia and quite a few HDRs at different stages of their research. At first, I found the theorising quite dense and overwhelming. I had to readjust my brain to the intensity and level of analysis. I made a conscious effort to relax and glean what I could. Of course, this meant that the connections and meaningfulness of some of the ideas presented became more accessible and easier to understand – hooray for relaxing and not being intimidated by big words!

It was pretty tiring making sense and engaging with such a high level of interpretive and rigorous dialogue about abstract debates, developments and applications.  In many ways it was also quite refreshing as well. I found myself exploring connections and following up lines of questioning that, although not related to my topic, were good fun to explore just for the sake of applying critical thinking to derive some new understanding, reframing or link I could make to a previously unrelated idea.

 

A few gems

Without going into detail – here are a few gems that I’m still mulling over….

• ‘Glocalization’
I have not heard this term before – the next evolution in the globalisation discourse which highlights the is a combination of “globalisation” and “localization” to describe the relationship of local/global service/products development and distribution – as taken from Glocalization: Time-Space and Homogeneity-Heterogeneity” sociologist Roland Robertson

• The ideas that academics ‘read themselves away from their friends.’

• The Critique Theory perspectives of Normadology/Hautology and Critique as ‘Exile/Contrapunctal’ (Edward Said).

• The idea that research is meant to upset your conceptual framework because this is where ‘learning’ occurs.

• That research is studying ‘spaces’ in between – What ‘space’ are you studying? What part of reality are you trying to study? What is the ‘space’ you are looking at in between?

• That there are stages and phases of (raw) data in research and that you need to develop that into a cohesive ‘story’ to write up

Luis Moll’s notion of Funds of Knowledge that create ‘unsettling deficit views’ and how that relates to my teaching practice (working with students)

• Research is not about working towards equality in the future, but verifying our equality NOW in the present.

• Interesting to hear Naomi Barnes speak about the amount and type of reactions she received in relation to her article Why I’m choosing the local state school – even though it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles about the public school vs. private school debate that arose from here The Conversation Piece.er article

• I will read George Marcus – Ethnography Through Thick and Thin.

• In Faucault’s Discipline and Power he explores the idea of ‘the soul’ (presentation of subjectivity) and the internalised affect of power and how that impacts outcomes and intersects with matrices of knowledge and power.

• That research work should include an evolution of hybrid criticality as you and the content move through different paradigms (conceptual frameworks are not set but fluid).

• Exploring the difference between anthropology and ethnography

• From the anthropology session, I was moved when Liz (an Ethnomusicologist) said that the aboriginal group she worked with belived that ‘If you don’t have music on your tongue, you are not human’.

• Knowing (becoming) —-PARTICIPATION ———Learning (being)

 

…..all very interesting – but really, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?? I’m not sure yet, but I’ll get back to you if I work it out.

I did find out that one of the head academics is a MTBer! He saw the biking t-shirt and came up for a chat about bikes on the second day – hooray for the community-creating bike t-shirts – I was not alone there and SOME senior academics are normal!!

Source: AARE Theory Workshop 2016

Source: AARE Theory Workshop 2016

Source: AARE Theory Workshop 2016

 

Being away in Cairns for the 2016 UCI World Cup was a brilliant thing to do and I had a ball, but it meant that I have not done any work on my Lit Review for a week. I made an effort to achieve some writing goals before I left, as I wanted to be sure I had some content on paper to come back to.

I have noticed that at this early stage, often my writing time was being sabotaged. Usually, occurred when I got caught up in editing whilst I was writing, or looking for a reference, or feeling like what I was writing was too close to what I had just read, so I would scrap it and start again. This means that it takes a lot of time to produce a relatively small amount of content. It is also quite frustrating. This means that although I have been working on my Lit Review, the process thus far has been cumbersome and ineffective. So, coming back to writing again after a week’s break – I want to change my writing process and experiment with some other techniques to see if I can get more out of my writing time.ccurred

I want a designated space to brainstorm, write and express ideas that did not feel so rigid and awkward. I like the using the Pomodoro technique for writing.  I know a number of other Higher Distinction by Research (HDR) students who are also wrestling with the same issues. So I wanted to form some kind of ‘study group’ where we could all contribute and benefit from a new approach.

Hosting Shut Up & Write Workshops

A Shut Up & Write workshop is a great place to start. I like the idea of having company when I write that is conducive to productivity and professionalism. I looked around to join one. Griffith University Postgrad Student Association has a Breakfast Writing Workshop on Saturday mornings, but that’s my prime bike riding time.

So I decided to host my own SU & W sessions (a series of 3 consecutive Mondays) and I opened them up to other Griffith University students and staff a to attend.

WHO CAN ATTEND:

All are welcome! Any level of students – Bachelor, Honours, Postgrad, HDR, any type of student – international or domestic, academic or support staff, people who have no experience with SU&W or Pomodoro, writers who want a designated time to produce writing or others from outside of Griffith who want to give it a go.

WHEN: 9 am- 11 am  Wednesdays 2nd, 9th and 16th May, 2016  (Week 9, 10 & 11)
WHERE: N76_1.02/1.03 Nathan
WHAT TO BRING:
  • Your own writing materials (paper/pen or laptops)
  • 3 topics that you want to produce some writing for
  • A big smile
NOTE
  • There will be a short introduction so participants know what to expect and how to use the session most effectively. Pomodoro timing will be provided.
  • We will complete at least 3 Pomodoro rounds (maybe 4).
  • This is a professional academic workshop, so adherence to punctuality, preparedness and silence during writing times is expected.
  • Arrive early to avoid disappointment.
  • See you there and let’s get writing!

Shut up and Write Semester 1, 2016.-2

It has been a very busy start to the semester, finishing the Summer program, new teaching roles and semester 1 going back to Uni…. my timetable has only just started to settle down into a more manageable schedule. In between teaching my classes and keeping up with general class administration and preparation, I have been ticking over some ideas to get started on my own Lit Review. OS I have been reading widely and trying to see what the common themes, main ideas and major trends are within my field. My past Lit Review Intersection earlier this month had the basic idea of a Venn diagram identifying the three main areas of Gender, Education and Developing Countries as the Holy Trinity needed to set me out on my general info gathering to start with. So for the last 2-3 weeks, although very busy, I have really enjoyed reading widely and seeing what is out there.

 

Updated Intersection and some other details

As with any good researching, my parameters have changed as I make room to accomodate some new ideas and details I did not have a couple of weeks ago. So far (and this is bound to change again) the Venn diagram has a new additional element of ‘location/geography’ included (to locate the other factors more specifically) which I feel gives it a better compliment for the other factors. I find that trying to visually represent my data helps to clarify what exactly are my main ideas and the like – so I had a go at creating my own infographic to bring it all together (see below). The process of putting this infographic together meant I had to refine and collate sources into basic summaries of main ideas – which was very helpful in an of itself – and already I have had some new insights that I want to change as a result – which is the whole purpose of producing it! Hooray Progress!

 

Too many details!!

In reading these last few weeks, I have been trying to get an overall sense of the main push and pull factors in my research area – and I can feel the attraction of falling down the rabbit hole in a few of these articles – super interesting reads, but I am really trying to be mindful to stay on track and not get sucked into really interesting , but slightly off-topic content (my, it happens sooooo easily!!). So, I have clear purpose and am looking at ways to tracks and document my explorations – and I will (literally) keep you posted on that front later on. Until then – here is a general overview of the main ideas thus far – minus all the details!

Nina's Lit Reivew Infographic

Nina’s Lit Reivew Infographic

This is week is the first week back of the Uni semester. I’ve met half of my classes so far and have a pretty serious workload so have been wrestling with getting my head around materials, admin and class management.

Today, as I ran around classes, workshops and meetings,  I had my monthly meeting with my supervisors. I feel very blessed with my supervisors because they are relaxed and helpful and I find our meeting helpful for clarification of my progress and that I get more info to hone in the focus more closely on what next steps need to be done each meeting. My next task is coming up with a Literature Review outline in 3 weeks. My brief is to read widely so then I can then know what are the crucial elements to set the context for my Dissertation.

Literature Review Intersection

So in order to achieve this, my primary attention will be on the intersection between gender, developing communities and access to education – basically, it will look like this:

Literature Review Intersection

Literature Review Intersection

 

Although I’m pretty confident about using ethnography as my methodology, I will still need to consider what perspective I will use – gender equity, international development, narrative theory, an activist lens, etc. This is one of the reasons for getting started on the Literature Review so I can start to get a sense of what perspectives will best suit this scenario.

Ethnographic Narrative Style

One of my supervisors suggested looking at Ruth Behar’s style of Ethnographic Narrative. I was quite intrigued by the idea that this researcher applies: ‘anthropology that breaks your heart’. So I’m going to have a look at  The Vulnerable Observer because apparently Behar has a researching writing style that is a mix of literary with sociology, meaning that instead of traditional models of research where the observer/researcher is removed and objective, Behar’s style powerfully and emotionally embeds the witness into the collection and telling of the data researched. I was quite taken with this idea because the methodology section will be a large section that locates the research within the wider discourse.

So I’m excited to be reading something so personal and emotional – international development literature is filled with amazing and confronting stories, that I have often found it challenging to hear/read/experience such memorable and pronounced stories of people I have worked or researched about who live in extreme poverty – and I have often found myself wondering what do I do now that I know such information. Once known, such stories and experiences are not easily forgotten and the impact and residue of such accounts remain with the listener.

That is why for me, it is so important to have a positive output that I can channel and process such histories once they have been encountered by me.

It reminds me that I need to be mindful, selective and resilient, so that I do not get overwhelmed by the immensity of the contact when working with sensitive and often disturbing life stories. International development workers are very prone to burn out – and this is a sad cycle as it is often this who are most passionate, are those who end up a nervous wreck and unable to live and work effectively (see post on Darfur Aid Workers).

That is one of the reasons why I strategically chose my thesis to centre on bicycles – so that the substance of my research is a positive output to address some of the perilous obstacles that many living in extreme poverty experience – it is a concrete manifestation of change and hope.

Who said learning couldn’t be fun? Who said understanding research methodologies had to be confusing, serious and only understood by a handful of last year doctorate students and some stuffy academics with the social skills of a potato? Who said kid’s shows like The Muppets are outdated, not relevant or don’t teach the important stuff – like explaining Phenomenology?

 

As a lead into my Ph.D. orientation in a week – I wanted to get my head around some Research Methodologies, so that when I’m sitting in some research workshop and the presenter starts showing off how smart they are by using terms designed to impress and confound the audience, I want to have some grasp of what the hell they are talking about.Then I can decide if they are a wanker showing off or actually worth listening to.

 

 

I have a basic understanding of research approaches, so I am taking the next week to find quick and easy resources that can give me a good overview or introduction to the major research methodologies with which I will come in contact. Thus far, I have found an excellent source which I posted on last week relating to short and informative Methodology videos  – and this week I turn to the Muppets for academic guidance – as all quality scholars have done before me – to understand the fundamentals of Phenomenology.

 

 

Just goes to show that every one and everything really is your teacher – and not to underestimate the mighty learning power of The Muppets, Play School and Sesame Street.  Just to confirm my understanding I also watched the below, slightly less colourful, yet equally informative 6 min video. Now I feel slightly more ready to take on that stuffy professor!!

 

 

It is such a pity I won’t be using Phenomenology methodology – because now I feel like I have a much better understanding about what it is!!