From the 11th-18th September I was fortunate enough to attend the Turkey Methodology Summer School. It was attended by approximately 30 PhD students and 6 academics/PhD supervisors from Oxford Brookes and Northumbria University. The research areas included law, business, accountancy and finance and tourism. The aim of the summer school was to develop our research methodologies, exploring theories and epistemologies.
During the week we had tutorials, which we prepared for before the summer school began. The tutorials involved us presenting our research aims and objectives, theoretical and epistemological frameworks and other work which influences our research. We had a poster fair, watched the supervisors conduct a mock viva and did academic speed dating. The work was, at times, intense but very rewarding.
We worked in 3 groups, 2 supervisors in each. Our lessons were held just outside of our villas, which meant as soon as they were over we could jump in the pool! My group was amazing. We were all very different, which meant we learnt a lot from each other and were given fresh perspectives on our own research.
This is where we had our lessons, constantly running away from the sun! I learnt so much from these awesome researchers and academics and received some very good advice on my own research. I have come back to uni asking my supervisor constructive questions. The main questions I took away from the summer school were:
1) Am I collecting too much data? There was a concern in my group that I had already collect a lot of data (and I mean a lot!!) and still have more to collect. This is something I knew already, but hearing it from other people made me think more about how I will justify this in viva, especially as I am going to have to exclude some from my final thesis. I discussed this immediately with my supervisor when I got back and we had a very interesting conversation. I am, but that’s okay. I feel more comfortable over-collecting than risking under-collecting.
2) Can I use different theories? In my PhD I don’t work with one theory or epistemology. Because I collect data in so many different ways the way I approach it varies greatly. This meant it was hard for me to find one theory or epistemology I felt I fit into. After the summer school I learnt that this is okay, again, as long as I justify it. Also, that I may be a pragmatist, which I’d never considered!
3) Have I developed my own theory? Who knows, but it will make for great postdoc work if I have!
This week opened me up to different ways of thinking, viewing my research in a different light and giving me a little boost to keep going.
Now onto the fun stuff. I didn’t just come back to the UK with a PhD enlightenment, but also some amazing friends. Even though business and law are part of the same faculty at Northumbria, the PhD students never really mingled. This week gave us the opportunity to really get to know each other, which pretty much involved drinking and karaoke every night! The supervisors who organised the summer school put on some amazing trips. We went to the mud baths:
After you got over the feeling of walking through what felt like sick and the extremely strong smell of sulphur it was great!
We went to turtle beach, had a meal under the stars in a lagoon and swam in the rivers:
Our little group which formed got very close and we have continued this since we got home. After 7 nights of drinking with the same people you really get to know each other. Actually… make that 8, we went out in Newcastle as soon as we got back! I guess we weren’t ready to let go of an amazing week and get back to reality.
This week was one of the best I have had since starting my PhD. I took a lot away from this summer school and I feel very lucky to have shared it with some of the funnest people ever!
Remember Turkey Club… teamwork makes the dream work!!