A new year, new faces and still … choices, choices, choices. Grappling with the concept of a research topic is as hard as ever for someone who’s daily job is practical and solution-driven.
I want to FIX STUFF. And one of the most valuable lessons I am learning as part of this Masters course is understanding that there will be no fixing of stuff until I am very, very clear on what the “stuff” is.
So … what are my research questions?
Dr Dick N’gambi, Dr Cheryl Brown and Isabel Tarling are helping this practionar find her inner researcher.
By asking me to look at the pattern, the phenomenon which most interests me AND that is something researchable. As I ask the 5 Ws, (Who? What? When? Where? Why?) I think/hope that I am starting to see just the faintest glimmer of what would one day lead to a fully researched Masters thesis.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” (Dr Seuss, Oh, the places you’ll go!, 1990)
There are other comforting voices as well … such as the fiction author Ted Dekker, who speaks of finding ideas as playing on a vast sandy beach where you build beautiful sandcastles … but it is perfectly fine to build one, change your mind, then build another. There is lots of sand.
And Stephen King says, “Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible. Sometimes the fossil you uncover is small; a seashell. Sometimes it’s enormous, a Tyrannosaurus Rex with all the gigantic ribs and grinning teeth. Either way, short story or thousand page whopper of a novel, the techniques of excavation remain basically the same.” (King, S., On writing, 2000).
I am seeing my relics appear … but as I spend my time reading and reflecting, I am slowly but surely creating my own, hopefully fascinating relic to study.