the ups and downs of research, or, the importance of luck.

One of the odd things that I’ve found thus far about doing doctoral research is the extreme ups and downs one experiences in both motivation and activity. For example, about 3 weeks ago I had a fairly intense meeting with my supervisor, and spent the next two weeks working up a quite comprehensive outline for my entire PhD, as well as doing a large chunk of research/writing. I had another supervision this monday, which went really well and was quite encouraging, and thus afterwards I let out a gasp of relief, and have spent the rest of my week doing what can only be described as ‘pissing around’.

It seems as if rather than hoping to develop some sort of consistent work ethic (i know some are capable of this, and I admire them, but I am not) that those such as myself need to rely on luck and good timing for our intellectual and academic success. For example, this week I can ‘get away’ with being fairly unproductive, but I must hope (against hope) that sometime within the next couple weeks I hit a productive stride for a few days and produce some work for my next supervision.

I’ve experienced this same thing in the weeks leading up to conference presentations. I’ll often try for weeks to get a paper written, and end up waiting for the ‘moment’ where all of the sudden I find myself able to produce work worthy of being read in a public setting. Thus far the moment has also occurred within an appropriate time frame; but I must admit, I still fear the day where I’m sitting on a train on the way to a conference, lap top in front of me, blank screen, with an inability to produce anything. But I guess research, as with all things, takes a certain amount of faith, and somehow this faith seems to come to fruition in the last minute production of work one considered them-self to be incapable of.

Sorry for the unsubstantial post; but hopefully soon I will re-occur to try and convince you that Kierkegaard had a realist social ontology.


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