M is for… Mewburn (Dr Inger) – The Thesis Whisperer #AtoZChallenge

M is for… Mewburn (Dr Inger) – The Thesis Whisperer

Dr Inger Mewburn is the Thesis Whisperer – which according to her website tagline is ‘Just like the Horse Whisperer –  but with more pages’

The Thesis Whisperer is a blog that provides helpful articles on the process of completing your thesis. Less a how to, more a how to survive.

I’d like to share with you a link to one of the most recent articles on Wormhole literature

In summary this is about:
•    Freaking out when you realise how much there is to read
•    The process of exploring reference by reference and getting sucked into a wormhole
•    Starting to recognise names and pockets of thought
•    Finding THAT PAPER – the one that gets you better than you get yourself
•    Panic about what would have happened if you’d missed that paper
•    And I guess the process might be cyclical

This fear about missing THAT PAPER is one of the Thesis Whisperer’s top five #phdemotions (Shared with Creative Commons “Attribution-non-commercial-sharealike licence” – [my personal additions in square brackets])
1.    Elation when you realise you know more than your supervisor about your topic and you feel brave enough to argue about it. [Not there yet]
2.    Fear of being ‘found out’ as fraud, not really knowing enough/being smart enough to be Phd student. [All the time – this appears to also be referred to as The Impostor Syndrome and I’ll be attending a session in June on how to combat this very thing]
3.    Unexpected admiration of your own writing. [Rarely – although sometimes I look back at my older writing and wonder why I don’t remember writing that thing that seemed to make a bit of sense]
4.    The “I’m a genius! Why hasn’t anybody thought to do that before?” moment before people point out the obscure paper you’ve not read. [This relates to THAT PAPER above – I’ve found a few of those which have set me on a slightly different track each time – though I don’t ever think I’m a genius more that’s an OK idea Kirsty]
5.    Misplaced smugness after photocopying/downloading loads of stuff but not actually reading it. [I’ll add in books here too and I think you’ll see by the number of books I’m reviewing for this challenge that this one is very true to my experience and the first thing I need to tackle].

I have felt very much like ‘Jenny’ wormhole and in fact submitted the following photograph to the PGR (Post Graduate Researcher) Conference at my uni which will be held on 29th April.

Drowning in Words

This image represents the conflict between loving words, books and creative writing (the topic for my PhD) and being overwhelmed by the introduction of a new series of terminology and more reading than it seems possible to manage. Books are used as handholds for rescue but are also the method of drowning. The quill and blog (on the iPad screen) are the means to write my way free.

Drowning in Words

Drowning in Words (c) Kirsty Stanley 2013

How do you manage the wormhole?
What thesis whispering techniques have you used?
Do you recognise any of the top five PhD Emotions?

Posted on April 16, 2013, in April A-Z Challenge, PhD and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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