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Learning from Business

I subscribe to a couple of business blogs just for good measure. One of those referred the reader to Copyblogger who discussed eight habits to avoid lest to stifle creativity.
While I will share the URLs with you later on, I found that some of the points discussed synchronise with undertaking a PhD project.

Creating and evaluating at the same time*
most first year students will encounter an insatiable thrive to read everything that is even only remotely related to their research topic and possible approaches to plan the data collection process
stifling this phase with pre-emptive can’t, don’t, shouldn’t would have obviated some of the most impressive and interesting research

I also think Fear of Failure* is something the common PhD student encounters. This fear might hinder us to approach our research with out of the box ideas, but brachiate between well established approaches, expected methods and peer pressure. Concurring with this fear is also the Fear of Ambiguity*, as novice researchers ambiguity can be frightening. After all we are supposed to justify our research planning, data, and interpretation – ambivalence in such situation can appear as the enemy. In my opinion ambiguity’s true nature is a most valuable source for learning, insights and sometimes innovation. Thus, embrace it and think what you can make out of it.

These both fears can be fostered by lack of confidence* how do you stand up during an international conference to an international luminary and defend your idea that completely opposes what this person is insisting upon. How do you react, if your two supervisors give you contradicting advice? These things are about confidence, about finding your own voice in research, and about being confident enough to listen to and consider – realistically – constructive criticism. This means learning not to jump upon each criticism with a definite yes or no.

– to be continued –


Categories: Teaching

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Nathalie Sheridan

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