Ready to give it all in

I think there are too many things I am too angry about, which makes me very cynical about everything else. The logic behind government policy processes matters but how is any research going to shift this? I think my PhD project is mostly an opportunity for me to learn and grow, hopefully into a researcher. However, I cannot see while I am in this mind set how I am going to do this.

I was very kindly invited along to a workshop day by one member of a regional research working group. Of course my research is the opposite of regional research. I was very interested by most of the projects people were talking about, but I approach the world from such a different position and have no self control when it comes to talking. I have no idea how I will learn from others if I talk instead of listening.

On my way home yesterday on the train I scrawled down a few paragraphs. A few excerpts include,

Headline indicators are useful for grabbing attention, but what do they mean? If they become the only basis for ‘outcomes’ then broader change can only be brought about by “luck”.

Who determines priorities? What are the notions of the ‘good life’? If people can learn to use the system then we should either make it easier for them to work the system OR we will need to come up with a system that alters motivations.

I want to know…

  • what do people want/ care about (and who they talk to) where they live

  • what is considered the right to do (what is civil?)

  • what is fair?

It was after I wrote this that I realised if I focus on the questions I want to find out the answer to I will not have anybody interested in talking to me, I will be unable to even access the information (how can you find out what someone REALLY wants within a year, perhaps longitudinal data could go some way towards getting at this), there is nothing that anybody would be willing to change on account of such data and so how can I claim it is ethical to include people in my research?

Why did I think this was a good idea and why did I try to do something that is partly ‘applied’?

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