Aim. This paper is a report of a systematic approach used to explore subjectivity as a research student and demonstrates how the process enhanced the quality of the research experience.
Background. High non-completion rates of research students are of global concern and means of enhancing the quality of the doctoral experience are needed. Among the literature on doctoral education, very little is authored by students. This paper is influenced by the work of Peshkin from the discipline of education. Peshkin articulated the need for researchers to systematically identify their subjectivity by searching for their subjective I's. I share my experience of adopting this approach as a research student by using reflexive journal entries made during 2005-2007 as data.
Findings. I use the analogy of the 'Yellow Brick Road' from The Wizard of Oz to represent my experience of being a doctoral student and draw comparisons between my subjectivity and the characters in the story. I demonstrate how a systematic approach to exploring my subjectivity revealed aspects of my being as a research student that had potential for influence throughout the entirety of my experience. I argue that cognizance of my subjective I's improved the quality of my research endeavour.
Conclusion. The approach is offered for consideration by other research students as a means of exploring subjectivity. I argue that the resultant self-awareness can enhance the quality of the doctoral experience. The flexibility of the approach means it has transferability across a number of disciplines and cultural contexts.
- Doctoral education
- Reflexive journal
- Research students