PhD Update: Doing a PhD and #Edstone
I think everyone somewhat politically inclined will know about EdStone. A large stone tablet commissioned by the Labour Party and announced by Ed Miliband during the 2015 general election. The idea was simple, it was an act of rhetoric to signify that Labours pledges where “set in stone”. It was a fairly divisive act. Some could argue that the Edstone as a political gaff and a cheap pun. Others can argue it was legitimate political marketing act, considering the significant media presence and amount of people who viewed the stone and the six pledges it contained. However regardless of the personal opinion of its success – I argue that in sum, it was still a glorified manifesto.
The problem of a manifesto set in stone is this: They are tied to the current context, and ultimately, putting them in stone removed your ability to act to the situation. Much like my PhD. Regardless of how many hours I spent in my initial proposal, or making my learning agreement; it’s a complete necessity to change my research focus. Situation changes, the more I read, the more I found another research subject that has a massive gap in research – and yes, more of a ‘research impact’ (read academic cringe). I’m still looking at social media and political representatives, but I’ve moved to a focus that includes its impact on democratic features.
And that’s more than OK. The lesson here is not to get anything set in stone that in reality will need to change. Unless you’re in the gravel making industry, then you’d make a killing.
Now at this stage I have been reading for months, now I have my focus, research questions, and chapter plan, I am ready to start writing my literature review. Writing this section of a thesis may sound like a horrible task for many, but for somebody who has been doing nothing but reading? It is Nirvana.