A straight forward task I thought. Simply summarize my findings, highlight my contributions to the field and recommend some further research. Easy schmeasy here we go …
and then, out of nowhere, gut-wrenching self-doubt attacked from behind …
wrestled down my driblet of confidence …
and left me sitting blank minded and blank paged in front of my computer.
Now as the desperate postgrad student that I am, I had no other choice than embracing blistering winds and freezing air, plowing my way through the snow to campus.
To meet my friend for a cuppa.*
There she told me about an article stating that man are more confident than women, with their dissertations. Citing a woman who had passed her viva with no corrections and still felt like a fraud.
There it was! This is how I feel, like an impostor – a fraud. And all the ‘yes but’s’ keep preventing my poor Guileless Confidence to recover:
- Yeah all right no one else has ever established a conceptual framework the way I did – BUT even my supervisors had issues understanding and it is really just a side effect of the research.
- Yes there is a research gap (or rather black hole) in this area and I found more sources supporting this statement than I found research articles about the topic – BUT I might just suck in finding sources and surely missed something.
- Yes I can answer one research questions completely and the two others partially (due to access issues mainly) – BUT this is only my way of interpreting findings, according to the relativist who lives in the back of my head for years.
- I developed two conceptual approaches that emerged from my data – yeah but I just made them up because they make sense to me. Doesn’t mean they have value for anyone else, duh! et cetera et infinitum …
This is the point the *headdesking* begins and with it the transformation into PhDzilla … ROAR**
* cuppa is Scottish (or Glaswegian?) for a cup of tea or coffee, as a true Saxon lassie it is always coffee of course
** for more information about the species PhDzilla see earlier posts