University

Professional doctorate – year 2, module 4

Professional Doctorate Research Design module

I am so far behind on everything at the moment. There’s a post to come on how I’ve decided to cope with this, but for now, I thought I’d do a quick recap on where things are at with my professional doctorate. Already so long ago (I had my results in February), this post is about the first module of year 2. The fourth of the six I need to complete in order to progress to thesis.

I attended the module completely deflated. The module was taken ahead of my knowing whether I’d passed my resubmitted assignments for module 3. Failing wasn’t sitting easy, and not knowing whether I’d passed made me feel like attendance was too optimistic.

The module itself was on research design. In theory this should have been perfect. Unlike the previous module I was able to link it entirely to my thesis. My associated reading would all add value to my end goal. If only.AssignmentThe module was based on a two-part assessment. And I’ve realised I have my focus all wrong. The first part of the assessment is always a lower percentage and a lower word count. And it’s where I put all my focus initially. Which means, when I get to the second part of the assessment, I’m tired and too close to the deadline to put in real effort.

Because of course, despite best endeavours I’m not committing to my planning as well as I could.

The first part of this module was about critiquing a peer-reviewed paper. This part was bearable. I managed to find an academic paper of a project which I have supported at work. The paper also had a number of weaknesses in the aspects I needed to critique which made it more straightforward to assess.

At times I felt I had chosen too easy a paper, including when I received the feedback on my first draft. Many of the elements I needed to critique weren’t contained. Simples. Although it wasn’t, because chunks of the criteria couldn’t be included. And you know when you’re too far down the line with something when you realise…

The second part, and meatier chunk, of the assignment was to create a research proposal for my thesis. Again this felt fraught with problems. On the surface, whether a skilled workforce positively impacts productivity is a really straightforward equation. And I appreciate that whenever I talk to people about my proposal it’s just met with ‘well, of course it is’.

I have spent 17 years trying to convince employers that this is the case in construction, without any evidence within the construction sector. I have evidence coming out of my ears that the more highly qualified a workforce is the more productive it is. If only construction was solely about making people highly qualified. But it’s really difficult to convince someone to qualify a trade or specialist occupation beyond say N/SVQ level 3 if the VQ covers all the elements to do the job. 

And I found myself not being able to get out of this level of granularity. Trying to convince that I have a legitimate purpose for my thesis. Having my research proposal accepted as part of my application should have enabled me to confidently state my claim and hope for my thesis, but hey, I’m me.

Grounded in an already unconfident status on module just allowed me to wallow in self-doubt.Research proposalAnd, of course, the self-doubt was rewarded in my result. I passed. But not well enough.

My doubt in my thesis has impacted my desire to progress.

And it’s now essential I do well in my remaining two modules if I am even to hope of progressing to thesis.

I feel like I’ve got an injury. An injury which I’ve no idea how it heals. With the knowledge it must. Whilst I keep the plates of family, work and study spinning.

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