Week 59: Second day of data collection

This week, I conducted the second day of my data collection, which included five observations and four audio recordings. I have really enjoyed visiting different patients with health professionals and learning how professionals in different fields work together in elderly care.

My biggest achievement of the week is that I finished writing and submitting my conference proposal and fieldwork report. I am very happy that I managed this as I haven’t been able to spend much time writing since January.

It took some time for me to start data collection. I didn’t want to begin observations or interviews immediately. First, I wanted to have several face-to-face meetings with physician participants (usually in their office). They didn’t mind doing this. All of them were interested in my research ‘from a researcher perspective’ and they agreed to participate because they were curious about its findings. When I have finished my research, I will share the results with all of the participants. This motivates me in my field research!

My achievements in week 59:
– Made five observations and four audio recordings.
– Submitted my conference proposal.
– Contacted all prospective participants (11 physicians) – and they all agreed to participate.
– Made leaflets to recruit patient participants for audio recordings and focus group.
– Finally finished writing my progress report on field research to share with my supervisors (started working on this a month ago).

Goals for week 60:
– Finish editing my paper.
– Conduct two-day observations and an interview.
– Celebrate my dad’s 75th birthday!


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Post-work treat: Apple juice!



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Post-work treat: Club Sandwich!


Week 58: Moving forward

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What an intensive and hectic seven-day last week! Six weeks have passed since I started my fieldwork at medical clinics/institutions in Tokyo. The biggest achievements from the week were that I got my ethics clearance from an organisation (no more ethics applications required!) and that I got inspiration for my methodology through a meeting with the scholar who I mentioned last week, a ‘very cold person’.

His tone in his emails was very distant, and he seemed reluctant to talk to me, but eventually, he agreed to see me. I visited his office at a hospital where he works. I was very nervous.

He was actually nice, cheery and helpful, and he gave me a lot of information that I wanted. I got a bit confused about the difference in personality. He was smiling throughout the meeting, and what’s more, he offered to send some academic books to my address, which I really appreciated. In the meeting, I confided in him that I was concerned about the potential disconnect between my research questions, methodology and answers. He immediately understood the point and gave me advice on how to better answer my research questions, which resolved all the anxieties I had been suffering from over the past months! It was almost a miracle.

It would be one of the greatest benefits from doing fieldwork to have a face-to-face meeting with an expert and get a deep understanding of what actually happens in the field, not just what literature tells.

However, fieldwork is not all fun and productive. My work in Japan has been about ‘walking, meeting people and interacting’, and I have not been able to spend much time on ‘writing’. My aim for Week 59 is to work on editing my paper and writing some reports.

I also miss having training sessions and research seminars at my uni which I had got for the last year.

My achievements in Week 58:
– Made contact with three physicians, to whom one of my research participants introduced me.
– A participant also introduced her colleagues, three physicians, for my research.
– Started collecting relevant books for a systematic literature review.
– Arranged some details for focus group discussions that will take place in March.
– Wrote a draft of my proposal for a conference.
– Helped a physician to organise and conduct a healthcare seminar, and I learnt a lot!
– Got the ethics approval from an organisation.
– Had all my worries on methodology solved.

Goals for Week 59:
– Submit my conference proposal.
– Write my first report on my fieldwork to share with my supervisors.
– Edit my paper for an online journal.

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Week 57: First day of my data collection


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The first half of this week was a little bit depressing. One of the research participants introduced a scholar to me. The scholar is a professor belonging to multiple authoritative institutions and who could give me some advice for reviewing literature. I wrote an email very carefully about myself, my research and the sort of advice I would like to get from the scholar, and I sent it to him. His response was prompt but seemed very cold and made me feel unwelcome. The exchange of our emails was quite stressful for me. I tried to say my self ‘This is another lesson to learn in my fieldwork. Not all professionals are nice!’

The biggest achievement of this week was that I finally conducted the first day of my data collection after waiting for one month in the field, well actually waiting for a year of my PhD programme!

On 1st February, I made observations of eight consultations and took audio recordings of three consultations. All the patients were very nice and supportive, and one of them declined to receive an incentive from me and said ‘I would like to help you for nothing’. In my impression, for most of the situations, patients show their understanding of research more than the professionals (most likely because the professionals are the ones who are primarily being analysed). The process of explaining the research, getting consent from the participants, taking notes and doing the audio recordings, was smooth. I think that stronger the relationship is between the professionals and patients, the easier the processes are for the researcher.

Apart from the observations, my to-do lists include chapter writing and paper editing, which I have not worked on yet this week. I might need solid blocks of time to write up them, maybe weekends.

My achievements in Week 57:
– Conducted observations and collected three audio recordings.
– Eight physicians agreed to participate in my research so far!

Goals for Week 58:
– Have a meeting with a scholar and gain advice for my systematic literature review.
– Have a discussion with a research participant and arrange details for further data collection.
– Submit my research proposal to a conference.

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