This is my final week now of research leave and probably a useful time to pinpoint some of the highlights and low points.
Looking back over the past 5 weeks I have achieved a huge amount that under no circumstances could I have achieved working full time and trying to fit this amount in to my week. I have read and read and read! Particularly around the methodology want to use and around the philosophical underpinnings. I am clearly a phenomenologist for the purposes of this study and have been drawn to using the work of Tom Wengraph in utilising the Biographic Narrative Method. I have explored the world of social software, identified routes for gathering my sample and the ethical implications of this. I have networked with people around the UK and world wide to discuss the nature of qualitative research and social networking as connectors.
I set up a separate email address for contact regarding the study and will also use this to communicate with the participants once identified.
I have met with four learning disability nurses to discuss the study and its aims and anticipated outcomes, enjoying their contribution and enthusiasm
I have worked through a range of ideas, discussions and debates around methodology, philosophy and subject matter and it is becoming more and more important to me to hear the voices of learning disability nurses.
Today I have put together a timeline for completion of my PhD and started to prepare the participant information sheet I am also working on the forms necessary for the ethics committee.
The low points are much harder to identify as I have enjoyed this time so much. I suppose the snow over the last week or so has made it harder to take breaks in what I am doing and get out of the house and that has led to a 'numb bum' on several occasions. I also find the lack of clear routine both good and bad - good in that I am working when my brain is at its best and not necessarily late at night etc. I have to stop myself feeling guilty though if I go and do something else between the hours of 9-5 Monday to Friday. I remind myself of the early mornings and the Saturdays and evenings and it is just sinking in - just in time for me to go back to the 9-5 routine.
So I suppose my thoughts are around how do I maintain this level of motivation in the face of returning to work and going back to fitting this in around my working day. Well I am working on that one. I haven't won the lottery in the past 5 weeks so can't be the full time student I would like but need to think through some techniques to help me to keep on track for the next 4-5 years!!!