Hallowed Wean


Up where doctoral studies belong, behind the black curtain of the wizard, enter the wannabe Ph. Ds.

Doctoral students apprentice to wizards: pretend to be the next generation of pretenders.

In the land behind the black curtain, in the mists of esoteric societies, pedantic pedagogues and confounding logics, exist the fabricators of fabrication nation. Here toil the makers and fabricators of knowledge. Let us spin out new invisible fabrics to bring to our initiation.

Herein lays the rub. For the uncertain labour of the noviate who practices in the tacit arts of doctoral research, come with “placebo effects.”

Trust in the teacher, the teachings, the institution, the instituting, and the illustrious history to plumb out the plum.

Work hard too, although work guarantees nothing.

The effort to produce the work usually pales in comparison to the contribution to original knowledge. The thin plum sanctions a wizardry worthy of a new wizard. Welcome doctor, shaman, wizard, fabricator. Welcome to fabrication nation.









getting research questions wrong – then right


It’s the time of year when beginning doctoral researchers start to think about formulating their research proposals. In addition to reading a lot – to locate their study and find useful ideas and approaches – they also have to come up with a research question or research questions.

I’ve just come across a little resource that might help – Paul Trowler’s set of ibooks on researching in higher education. These are self published books and are pretty inexpensive to buy (and share if you know how).

In the text on thesis structure he has a very helpful set of criteria for formulating research questions. I’ve adapted his wording somewhat to suit this blog, but this is basically his formulation. Trowler says that research questions must:

!. be answerable – even if the final answer is not definitive, there must be AN answer
2. be specific – they must establish clear…

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