Week 49: Paperwork and social

This week, I finished all my tasks relating to the information statements and consent forms for my fieldwork.

One of the research participants suggested I increase the font size of the documents to make them easier to read. I changed the size from 11 pt to 12-14 pt and the line spacing from single to 1.2. I had used the original format, but academic documents tend to be written in small text like 10 or 11 pt, which is often too small to read. I should have considered using a format that is easier for older people to read.

I now feel quite relieved to have finalised all my ethics documents.

I started working on my ethics application in Week 19 (in May this year), revised it, got ethics clearance, translated it, conducted preliminary fieldwork, amended my research protocol, revised the relevant documents, translated them, had my translations checked by a professional and sent them to the research participants. All of this took about eight months, during which time I was also writing my thesis. I spent so much time dealing with ethics paperwork in the first year of my PhD.

This week, I had some free time to socialize with my colleagues and friends.

On Wednesday, after a regular research seminar in my school, I went for a coffee break with some colleagues. This was a great opportunity to talk about research and get some advice. I am really not that sociable and this can be quite challenging for me, but I should join them for coffee more often.

On Friday, a new friend of mine, a retired professor, invited me and my partner to his house for dinner. It was a great pleasure to meet his wife and his friends too. The house was full of books, crammed into tall bookshelves in rooms and corridors. (I am the opposite: 98% of my books and papers are on my iPad and Kindle.) I was so impressed with his wife’s home cooking – a three-course meal, followed by cheese, apple crumble, chocolate and decaffeinated coffee. Their hosting was just perfect and we really enjoyed it.

I am now wondering whether I should have physical books on a bookshelf if we move into a house in the future. I am so used to reading non-printed materials and writing for digital too.

My achievements in Week 49:

  • Finalised all the ethics documents
  • Did some socialising
  • Baked gluten-free brownies

Goals for Week 50:

  • Submit my funding application
  • Edit Chapters 1 and 2