Nothing about my PhD so far has been easy. As long-time readers may recall, my first comprehensive exam was only passed after two attempts and a lot of effort. The strike was painful, and has made me particularly question the quality of undergraduate education that U of T provides, in terms of class and tutorial sizes, the selection of professors, and support for and integration of teaching assistants into the learning process. I am now edging toward a formal research proposal for departmental approval and ethics review.
I originally wrote a longer document which talked more about methodology and many other things, but my supervisor encouraged me to write something more concise with the essential features of the proposed research project.
The plan now is to make sure the short document is a plausible nucleus for a successful PhD, including through a presentation to a brown bag lunch at the U of T Environmental Governance Lab on October 27th; to incorporate what has been left out in the older longer proposal; and to seek departmental and ethical approval before beginning first round remote interviews.
My supervisor has intelligently cautioned me about seeking too many critiques of these documents – a factor which has complicated and delayed my efforts so far, and which may be drawn from my experience as a civil servant. I have also been warned by Peter Russell that I am starting to write my thesis in the form of the proposal. So no comments please, unless they are strictly limited and focused on the process for making this proposal viable.