Bit of an important post this one.
I resubmitted my confirmation document over the weekend, following a month of revisions, tweaks and banging of head against the (metaphorical) desk.
There were two major recommendations from the panel first time round. Firstly I had to more clearly define my theoretical and conceptual framework, the other that I had to rework my aims and research questions. Given that I think that research questions form the heart of my research, this latter was a trickier suggestion than it first appears. Theoretical framework? It’s all about tying your research back to that which has come before. Whilst your PhD idea has to be original, it also has to build on the work of others.
Skype chats and email exchanges with my supervisor helped immensely, and whilst he still wasn’t really happy about one of the questions, I did feel strongly that it needed to stay, albeit in a modified form.
The other changes were fairly minor, I made corrections to the structure to more closer align with my supervisor’s recent book on thesis structure and content (I’m not daft!), and to reduce my waffle on project risk… as risk is a big part of my day job I felt that I had to demonstrate this, when in reality the panel doesn’t care. Harsh, but true.
I expected it would take a month for the revised document to be checked, the standard unit of measurement in academic terms (everything takes a month I have found). Imagine my amazement when the following email was waiting for me on my iPhone after a long journey yesterday afternoon.
I am pleased to tell you that your confirmation document has now been approved by the Panel and who will be recommending your confirmation as a PhD student.
So that’s it. After my doubts that I would be kicked off the programme with ‘only’ an MRes, and then that my idea was only an MPhil in terms of scope, I am confirmed as a PhD candidate.
There are nineteen months to go before submission in January 2014. There will no doubt be more tears and more than the odd crisis, but I think there’s a chance that I might just do this!