This week, I passed my probation review!
I am now feeling a bit more relaxed. It was so nice that my supervisor announced that I had passed, and my colleagues congratulated me!
The review meeting was more like a discussion from various perspectives, including the views of the external examiner. I mainly discussed my research with the panel, and he asked a few general questions (they were similar to some that were on my list of possible questions) and many specific questions which I had not thought about.
Overall, all the topics in the discussion we had were very helpful, and it was not a problem that I was not able to answer straight away some technical questions which I had not looked at. The panel gave me many suggestions on references and other important aspects of data analysis.
I really thank Luca, because for the last EIGHT days we rehearsed for this meeting, and I was able to be confident on the day!
Now, my advice to any PhD student facing a first-year probation review is to:
- Print all your probation documents and read them very carefully, until you know them very well. My eight-month work became a 100-page paper, including a full version of ethics applications. Having the result of your work on paper will definitely give you confidence!
- Make sure that you can explain the methodological frameworks you use.
- Bring water, pens and a notepad, and during the meeting be ready to receive any feedback from the examiner.
The list of questions that I prepared for, in no particular order, are:
- Explain your research in a simple way.
- Why are you doing this?
- How does it relate to your earlier studies?
- What was your motivation?
- Discuss the research and context.
- What are the main issues and debates in this subject area?
- Discuss your work so far.
- How did your research questions emerge?
- What is your original contribution?
- Which topics overlap with your area?
- How are you answering your research questions?
- Why have you chosen these methods?
- What problems may arise with these methods?
- How will you access your interviews?
- Ethical issues or confidentiality issues?
- Where do you see this going?
- What are the implications?
- How do you intend to share your findings?
- Discuss your progress and plan.
- Who are your intellectual influences?
I started thinking about my next tasks: fixing and reinforcing the points that the panel emphasised, writing Chapter 2, and completing some training sessions on methodologies. I have also started taking an Italian language course. And my birthday is coming in a week!
My goals for Week 41:
- Map out the prospective participants and the amount of data
- Expand the outline description of Chapter 2
- Enjoy my birthday!