Research update

It’s 10 pm on a Friday night… and would you believe I am in my office?

As of March 12th, 2011, I have been here in Wellington for 1 year.  That is 1 year in which I have read more than 300 scholarly articles, and not one single novel.   While a number of adjectives could be used to describe my PhD journey so far (ambiguous, bewildering, annoying, exciting, tedious, frustrating, etc.), it has nevertheless been an interesting journey.  A number of people who have gone through what I am presently experiencing have indicated to me that the 1st year of a PhD is usually the hardest.  Today, a faculty member said that completing the proposal stage is the “most challenging technically”.  At Victoria, the process works as such:  From the time you first enroll in the PhD programme, until your full proposal and revisions are accepted by the school, you are a provisionally enrolled PhD student.  A provisionally enrolled student has 15 months in which to submit his or her proposal, and make a 45 minute presentation to the school.  At the presentation the faculty members will provide comments and raise questions that may or may not require substantial revisions before the final full proposal can be submitted and accepted.  Once the full proposal, generally comprising the first 3rd or 3 chapters of your PhD thesis, is completed and submitted, you can then start gathering your data, which eventually becomes the remaining 3rd of your thesis.

Presently, I am in the home stretch of finishing up my proposal.  I have a few more substantial parts to work on (including a pilot study!), and then address some issues I have been putting off, clean it up, and then prepare my presentation.  Once this is done, I am going to take a holiday.  I am going to read a novel.

The timing of my progress is actually surprisingly good.  My mom will be arriving from Chicago on May 4th, to spend 2 weeks here in New Zealand.  I aim aiming to have the proposal done by April 20th, with gives me 2 weeks to prepare my presentation, which I will do the afternoon of my mother’s arrival.  I will then be able to take off 2 weeks guilt-free, to spend some quality time with my momma, before I finish up the revisions and tackle the human ethics committee application.  Hopefully, the HEC application and approval will not take more than 2 weeks, and, then I will be pretty much ready to head to Laos.  This coincides well with the end of our current lease on 20 June, after which things are still up in the air.  It looks like my sweetie might be heading back to Canada for a job opportunity, in which case we will hopefully have some time to travel a bit together before he leaves, I put my stuff in storage, and go to Asia for a few months.

I am actually quite pleased with the progress I have been making, and the timing of all these things.  While it is a bit annoying that so much is still up in the air, I’m pretty confident I can accomplish what I have set out to do, in the time I have left.

Now I’m just waiting on HEC approval for my pilot study… then I’ll finish up my methodology chapter, write a quick summary, a gantt chart, and start crafting some power point slides!

If you want to check out my research profile, now available on the VUW website, this will tell you all could you ever want to know and more about my current research.


http://www.victoria.ac.nz/sim/research/research-students.aspx#NicoleGaston

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