Week 47: Methodological amendments


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Study Break. Dim Sum!


I made some methodological amendments to my research; I had planned to conduct interviews and focus groups for qualitative data collection in my fieldwork, but decided not to conduct them, and to devote my fieldwork to observing and recording real-life clinical consultations, and to analyse the audio data. The main reason for this amendment is that my fieldwork has to fit in with the professional timetables of my participants. I was a bit scared of hearing my supervisors’ response to this adjustment, but they were very understanding, saying ‘it is sensible’, which was a great relief.

This week, I spent four hours writing my thesis, in two sessions of two hours each. This system works well! Then, I spent the rest of the time finishing updates to the Information Statement and Consent Form for my research participants, and translating them into Japanese. On Friday, I asked a professional translator (a friend of a friend) to review my Japanese translations, which will be described as the translation procedures in my thesis.

As for my private life, Luca found a temporary job, so he is no longer unemployed! Apart from the news and my research progress, everything is going as usual. We will try to bake cinnamon rolls next week.

Goals for Week 48:

  • Edit Chapter 3
  • Revise my proposal to apply for research funding
  • Have an in-depth discussion at the supervision meeting


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Chicken Macaroni Bake!



Week 46: Feeling like I am rushing

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I spent unproductive days last week; it was like being lost in a maze. I have returned to my study routine this week. I have tried to write for two hours a day, which has given me many ideas, enough to make the methodology section clearer and to write the outlines and some sections of Chapter 2.

I also had a Skype meeting with a Japanese scholar, in order to ask some technical questions on clinical practice. His responses to my questions were extremely helpful, and solved in a flash all the problems that I had had for the past weeks.

If I had contacted him earlier, the problems would have been solved quickly. When I was hesitating to ask the busy scholar my questions, Luca and my friends encouraged me to try, saying ‘If you don’t ask questions, how can you find out more and improve the medical field?’ Without such encouragement, I might not have been able to continue my research!

Since I started my PhD programme in January, I have written drafts of Chapters 1 and 3, some summaries for Chapter 2, and ethics applications and information sheets for participants, all of which sounds like a lot of work. But I have also spent much time checking guidelines and databases, doing paperwork, teaching, reading, and so on. I could do more writing. I would really like to complete the drafts of Chapters 1, 2 and 3 by the end of the year.

On Friday, my colleague and I went to a Japanese restaurant for dinner. I had sashimi and red wine, and sesame ice cream after the meal. It was a lovely treat for us!

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My achievements in Week 46:

  • Edited Chapters 1 and 2
  • Gained much advice on the criteria for and process of data collection
  • Read some materials on qualitative approach

Goals for Week 47:

  • Edit Chapters 1, 2 and 3
  • Send revised Chapters 1 and 2 to my supervisors
  • Submit Fieldwork Leave Form

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Week 45: Non-productive

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I haven’t achieved any of my goals for Week 45! I hit a wall whenever I try to demonstrate that my methodology section meets my research objectives exactly. My supervisor has told me that this can be one of the biggest challenges for any researcher. That may be true, but I need to overcome it before I kick off the main data collection in January, which is coming soon!

Things I have done this week are reading research papers and articles on thesis writing tips, organising my Evernote and jotting down my thoughts and ideas, although I have not produced anything. I also met up with two friends for meals and attended a research seminar, which led to meaningful discussions and gave me some more ideas.

This seems like something I can do: try to write for just a couple of hours a day, Monday to Friday, through the year. I am going to try this over Week 46 and see how I get on!

My achievements in Week 45:

  • Organised Evernote

Goals for Week 46:

  • Define the criteria for the data collection
  • Edit Chapters 1 and 3
  • Read materials on case study approach

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