Sunday night in with Oddbins finest 3-for-£10 Shiraz and my trusty copy of Adobe Illustrator. This weekend’s much delayed task (it should have been last weekend, but I was moonlighting as a roadie) is to tentatively start map my literature review.
You might have been wondering why my once regular ‘this weekend, I will be reading’ posts have tailed off. There’s very simple explanation for that. I’m now a clear six months into my studies, and as everyone has been so wisely reassuring me, three years goes pretty darn quick. So there comes a point when it is necessary to stop the initial rush of literature consumption, and consider the next steps. The truth is, for every five books or articles I read, I will discover at least another ten potentially interesting or relevant references. Part of the life of a phd student is, it seems, being able to say ‘no more.’
The first firm draft of the literature review will be required for my process of differentiation, which will happen at around nine months into the phd. It is at this stage (hopefully between now and Christmas) that I go before a panel at Queens and am assessed on the quality and potential of my studies. If things are on course, I may continue. If not… well, I’m not entirely sure what happens.
As part of the next stage of the process, I’m revisiting my bibliography and using RefWorks to help me map it out by subject area. Overlaps are quickly revealed, gaps are highlighted and areas of personal interest become easier to identify.