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Research and the Ph.D.: My Third “Child”

by Kimberly on October 17, 2013 · 0 comments

I am beginning to understanding that my Ph.D. will be my third child. There’s a surprising amount of shared experiences involved in bringing a human being into this world and adding three little letters behind your name. There is the emotional, mental, and physical fatigue. Feelings of needing to push (which is biological when giving birth and mental when churning out a manuscript). Sleepless nights. Non-stop work. Extreme joy. Extreme frustration. Anticipation. Great sacrifice. Greater reward.

I am also reminded of the feeling I experienced as a new mother. Of how in a matter of moments, I had shared experiences and feelings with a majority of the world population, those who were also parents. I understand now the range of feelings involved when you identify as a parent and I have a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices and dedication some parents are required to make.

It would not surprise me if I experience similar feelings when I am finally a “doctor.” If I have the parallel experience of feeling connected to all those who also have those three little letters behind their name. We will have all gone through a similar journey to earn that status.

It’s not just about the emotional journey, though, it is also about the learning involved. It’s about the transition from being a student who is told or guided as to what to learn to being a professional learner of sorts, one who takes true ownership of his or her learning experience.

I feel I am in that phase now where I am taking ownership of what I need to learn as it will inform and enhance my research inquiry. As such, I am inspired to share some of this learning with you. Not with any expectation that it will impact your work directly, but with the hope that you will at least learn something new, interesting, and of potential value.

So over the course of the next month, I will be sharing with you information I have been studying and processing. These will include the importance of being aware of your philosophical approach as it applies to how you conduct and understand research (yes, apparently philosophical orientations are not just limited to clinical work!), as well as sharing information on mixed methods designs and feasibility studies, two areas that are starting to emerge more frequently in the music therapy literature.

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