When I was thirteen years old, I bought a copy of a computer magazine called ‘Electron User‘. The fact that I used to take this into school and read it at break times probably tells you more than you need to about the sort of geek I was at school, and probably helped the bullies identify me even quicker than usual. I remember someone asking me “Are you going to buy an Electron then” to which I replied “Of course, well I’ve bought the magazine haven’t I?” Indeed I did end up with an Acorn Electron for my fourteenth birthday.
Twenty-seven years later, and I’m now looking for the one book which will provide me with all the answers for my PhD – the single resource that will tell me precisely how to create aims and research questions, define my methodology for me, provide the insight (and maybe three dozen or so) papers for my literature review to be readable, academic, and more gripping than the new J K Rowling novel is sure to be.
I budgeted for about £40 a month for PhD books, over the four years my PhD takes that’s £1,920. Wow. I measure things as fractions of gadgets… that’s 2 x 13″ Macbook Pro’s (or 1 x 17″ Macbook Pro), or six and a half cheap Dell laptops.
I have mitigated this slightly… the University library has some of the books, I’ve access to some online e-Books (evil, evil evil products, you try reading an academic book on a laptop/desktop screen for any length of time), Kindle books sometimes work out cheaper (and you can annotate, underline etc. as good as a real paper book), and the odd inspection copy of a book does wing its way to me from publishers hoping I will recommend the product to my students (I usually do). I do however end up spending a discernible percentage of my take home pay on textbooks.
My latest purchase comes not from a supervisor or a peer, but someone who completed their EdD last year, and has found this book invaluable. Maybe this is the one book that will tell me all I need to know in a clear and easy to understand way.
Now if I could only find the time to read it… I wonder if it’s available as an Audiobook?