This article was originally published on Charlesworth Author Services Researcher Education blog
Almost everyone is dealing with new ways of working during the current pandemic and lockdown. While some enjoy more time at home, many PhD students, researchers and even established academics are facing diverse practical challenges in terms of carrying out research in isolation, or with very limited resources.
It is not uncommon for PhD students to feel completely stuck at the moment, unable to progress with their research. Paradoxically, however, unforeseen circumstances like these can also provide rich opportunities for PhD candidates to demonstrate their capabilities and potential as a researcher.
Understand that a successful PhD is as much about how you do your research and how you develop as a researcher, as it is about the actual research itself. You are being examined on your ability to produce original, rigorous research within specific parameters, such as time, word counts, funding, and limited access to resources and facilities (even without a global emergency).
The ability to adapt to changing situations and working conditions is key for any researcher – even if there is no pandemic, experiments can still go wrong; fieldwork with human participants can produce challenging situations and unexpected data. Things get messed up all the time in research and it is more common for things to go awry than you might believe. Just before I started my fieldwork, I shared anxieties with my supervisor that things might go wrong. She responded, “Oh, they will. If things go exactly as you plan, then you’re probably doing something wrong!” [keep reading here]