Saturday, November 13, 2010

PhD progress.

My brain is still sweating bullets of blood from my recent supervisory session, but it seems that your donations have not been a wasted effort!

Between me and my university supervisors, we have found a way forward that somehow doesn't bring me into conflict with the prison and yet allows me to deliver the goods at the end.

My first order of business is to refine my research questions and produce my literature review. All obvious, run of the mill stuff...except I was tying myself in knots.

Every book, every paper, I read set me off on a tangent, a new line of exploration - a fatal, and common, mistake in the early stages of research. We spent a lot of time discussing this, and guiding me to retain my precise focus. Hence, tightening up my research questions.

My main problem has been to select a schema for Human Needs from amongst the several available, providing my conceptual lens. Maslow, Toch, Burton, Galtung, Azar..I didn't want to just pick one at random! So we decided that the best course would be to use two schema of Needs, one originating from Conflict and Peace studies - Burton - and one that is rooted within the sociology of prisons - Sykes.

This is just a brief note to keep you up to date with what’s happening - after all, you did have the kindness to fund me to continue with my research.


  1. I hope it is interesting for you and can remain a source of inspiration throughout its duration. Such a specific and minute subject though, but that is the nature of PhD's, it is in fact very hard for people to keep going with them. I know of many many people who don't finish, in fact that is the norm rather than the exception, and with all of these education cuts as well it just makes it all the more difficult for people.

    Just thought I'd mention this as on top of all of it, you've have the extra bit of pressure of not only the supervision, but also our expectations of you, given the fact that we all chipped in financially to support you.

    All I can say is personally I would not be bothered if it all got too much ( as PhD's do for so many people ) and it had to be 'shelved' again for a time, or dropped even. But all the while it is adding positively to your life then I wish you all the best with it.

    It's good to have a bit of status in life if its used for admirable purposes, and Dr Ben Gunn would be cool, but so too is Ben Gunn BSc MA.

    Anyway, good luck with everything, and as for the 'paper', all I can say is ... 'scissors' lol jk.

    Wishing you well with getting all the stationary supplies you need and all that your fetish requires!

    All the best xx

  2. Every student goes off on tangents, some useful than others. I've done so myself and am still not sure which ones to keep in or what to do with them, so don't worry too much about every tangent.
    Good luck in any case! :)