So here we are, on the last couple of days of 2017. I think it is fair to say that we've all had an eventful year. It is very hard to look back on this year and ignore all the unpleasant things that has happened around the world. I'm not going to name them, but I'm sure you know of a few events. However, we should also try to put in some positive juju into our reflections on 2017, whether it is a global event or a personal memory, look back on those and hopefully, may it put a smile on your face.
Today, my own rewind would be mainly focused on my placement journey. The last few months have been so eventful that I had to refer to my planner to see what I have done. So prepare for a rewind of the last few months of my 2017:
I learned a lot about data processing this month. Played around with the quantitative data on SPSS (numbers always excite me) and got to familiarise myself with NVivo. After awhile, being fully aware that it is an unpaid placement, my supervisor as well as other members of the team asked if I was willing to do some transcribing of the audio files they collected in the first pilot. Paid, of course. Despite their warning of how terrible transcribing is, I agreed. Mainly because that extra cash would help a lot and also, for the experience of transcribing. Throughout the 20 hours of listening, replaying and turning sounds into words, I realised that though at points I wanted to 'pull my hair out' because I was unable to decipher certain inaudible dialogue, it is a rite of passage any researcher has to go through at the start of their career. At least now I really know how tiring transcribing is. Then again, it made me 'closer' to the data, as I know what the 'general theme' is (if thematic analysis is the preferred choice) and whatever that is bad with the audio serves as a 'what not to do' next round of data collection.
Another thing that I've found to like about UWE is that it is the home of the Centre of Appearance Research. With the bulk of my work surrounding Body Image (dissertation included), it is definitely a plus for me as it makes it easier for me to arrange a meetup with one of their research members and also get to attend some of their events. One that I went for this month was the Eating Disorder Health Integration Team (EDHIT) Research Conference, which I found informative and interesting. It was an insight to all the new, ongoing research that is taking place in the region regarding eating disorders where body image is often brought into the picture. Even though it wasn't a direct link to my current project, still Eating Disorders is something I hold very close to my heart and it is always helpful to know the recent developments in the research world and what steps are being taken to turn research into practice.
Despite being on holiday for the later part of the month, the first few weeks were filled with exciting developments in our current project. So much so that I didn't even have time to record anything to pictures or words, all I have with me right now are my memories and we know how fragmented and unreliable that can be at times. Despite that, I'll try my best to give an accurate account as possible.
This month, I finally had a chance to visit our pilot school up in Derbyshire. It was a 3-hour long drive to somewhere near the Peak District but that journey was filled with so much information about REvaluation, the direction of the project and what we are meant to do at the school that by the time we arrived, my head was still trying to digest that bulk of information. To be honest, I was quite nervous about that visit to the school as we are meant to introduce REvaluation to the teachers and start the whole process. In essence, it is a form of story-telling. Our job, as the research team was to help get those stories out and turn them into values. Frankly, I wasn't quite sure if I am up for it. However, I needn't worry much as this is the first time ever that REvaluation is being used in a school system and everyone is learning as we go as well. When the story telling was happening, I found myself seated with mid-day supervisors, listening to their stories about kids during break time, basically giving them a voice. It was a very exciting and fruitful day. I'm genuinely excited to see what's to come as we are due to do another pilot in March and start our data analysis, finalise our own sections for a paper and submit an abstract for a conference. How very exciting!
After that day, I've started to find myself growing attached to this project, or as my supervisor put it: "being embedded", which rings true. I guess being part of the first stages of the project causes one to attach part of oneself onto it, like a horcrux, just without the murderous spells and half-living nonsense. This then started a thought of the possibility of doing a PhD in this project, once that started, much like many of my past ambitions, it started a spiral of questions, pathways and decision-making. I have a tendency of thinking too far ahead and losing focus on the present, so for now, as advised by Dr Fiona, I should focus on my dissertation and coming up with a research question for it. So that will be my focus for now, the PhD can only happen if I finish my BSc, so I am sorting out my priorities now.
2018 will be an exciting one and I cannot wait to see what will happen. You'll definitely hear about it here.
All info about REvaluation can be found here: http://www.revaluation.org.uk/
To those not familiar with the Harry Potter reference, here is a brief explanation to Horcruxes: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Horcrux
Centre for Appearance Research website: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/hls/research/appearanceresearch.aspx (highly recommend listening to their podcast, Appearance Matters).
Thank you for reading this far! Here are some photos from my Christmas Dinner:
To all reading this, I wish you a happy new year and may your resolutions be realistic enough to commit to it.