Ethical dilemmas are part and parcel of a PhD. I get it! But sometimes when I sit down and think about my PhD topic, I feel like mine really is fraught with a number of really complicated ethical dilemmas that are built into the fabric of the subject matter.
I’ve finished my first annual progress review and sent it off into the abyss! So now I have time to have feelings again… Obviously the primary feeling is terror about the prospect of having an annual review meeting, but there is a little space for some other feelings too…
Note: this post is pretty much all introspection and reflection.
I’m wrestling with a question right now:
what is the difference between personal connections and a community?
And the answer is:
I don’t know!
Every four weeks I write a mini literature review for my supervisors, they read through it, give me some written feedback, and then we discuss it. It’s been really helpful for getting me to write and research in the way expected in public health (which I had no clue about). Mostly the mini lit reviews have been about me working out what topic I want to focus on, coming to common understandings of topics with my supervisors, and finding away to justify my focus and my definitions. But I am really excited at the moment because I am getting to focus on theory and methods, and starting to think about what I am going to do for my field work.
Sometimes, when I am writing about my topic, I want to be polemic.
I spend most of my days reading about LGBT+ youth suicide. Some days it’s about the prevalence of it, some days it about risk and protective factors, some days it’s about the theories that try to explain it. I am really lucky because I love my project and I really believe that it has the potential to contribute new understanding to a topic super close to my own heart, and so I am really, really committed to it. But, sometimes, I just want to write in capital letters across the page:
This research is important because it is not good enough that LGBT+ young people face disproportionately high rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviours when compared to cishet youths – I am concerned, I want this to improve, and you should too!
But I don’t because that would be unprofessional, and as someone told me the other day ‘you always write for your external examiner’, and I don’t think Prof External Examiner would be very impressed. That is why I have this blog! Continue reading