Following the helpful advice given to me in the Supervisors’ Meeting, I have been attending several Research Development Programme sessions which have been most helpful generally. It has helped me to focus on areas that I personally feel need to be improved, such as my academic writing. The problem comes when we are told not to be too ‘academic’, and for our written work to be able to be read by a diverse audience. By the end of my undergraduate studies I felt as if I had established my own style of writing, and am sure that with some guidance I will reach the required standard – hopefully.
I have spent time since the meeting writing up the notes I had previously prepared for the initial PhD proposal and putting them on OneNote, which has been helpful as it also focussed on different related areas of investigation and in turn possible chapters for the final thesis; such as memory and gender.
Specific items Andrew suggested I addressed were the ‘timeline’ and ‘keywords’. So using a Word template and adding the expected dates to be taken into account, I was able to plot a potential timeline for the future. Once I have my next meeting with Karen and I can discuss this further I am sure there will be many adjustments made as time progresses. However at this stage it will be a good starting point. Andrew also suggested looking at my ‘Keywords’, so following on from this and a useful library RDP session, I set up RefWorks on the PC, and to also receive automatic prompts so that when a new article is published in my subject area I am notified; so that hopefully I will stay up to date with current thinking. During several visits to the library I also downloaded many articles which relate to my work which can now be filed into subject areas for close investigation at a later date.
I have also ordered several new books from Amazon covering such topics as Yasha Bacharova of the Women’s Death Battalion as this directly relates to my area of research and may throw up possible leads to be further investigated. I also decided to reread ‘Nurse at the Russian Front‘ again and more closely with the Literature Review and my Final Proposal Approval in mind. I also need to establish a regular working timetable at home, so that all books and articles can be read and notes made for future reference.
The RDP sessions have also been an opportunity to make some contacts with other members of the group, and fully engage with all the opportunities that the university has to offer. I did offer my services to help at one of the Open Days, but felt that this was something more for younger student representatives. I was in turn contacted by Kate from the Alumni Department, and asked if I would be prepared to give them an interview as they were interested in knowing how I had arrived at doing a PhD at my stage in life. The worst aspect was having a photograph taken, which as a photographer is not easy being on the other side of the lens. Hopefully the outcome will encourage older people to see the value of study in later life.