Conflicting Priorities

This is definitely the furthest behind I’ve felt so far.  Today is the first time I’ve felt I’ve had a chance to write up a meeting with Nicola that happened a month ago…The combination of end of year finishing off, planning for the new year, attending the Threshold Concept conference and managing as a single parent for a long weekend when my husband was away are beginning to take their toll…

Having said that – a month isn’t too bad is it?  Not irretrievable at any rate I hope.

I met with Nicola at NBS to talk about by paper presentation at the forthcoming Threshold Concepts conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada).

The conference organisers didn’t appear to be expecting a full paper, but it seemed clear that a power point presentation of some kind would be a good idea, with perhaps a few copies of a supporting paper to hand out.  She encouraged me to concentrate on what I wanted to get from the conference and to plan accordingly.  I decided that I wanted to get the following:

  • Feedback on my methodology
  • Contacts with people whose experiences I could learn from
  • Understanding of the community of people interested in and researching Threshold Concepts

Nicola commented that my paper fizzled out a bit towards the end – understandably as that where my staged design is least thought through.  I’ve definitely done more at the front end and it shows.

We agreed that I would present the design of the study and then focus on the beginning – explaining that was what I was doing explicitly.  I should include a diagram.

Gaps to address were:

  • Definitions of Entrepreneurship from the literature – the historical development of the terminology
  • Methodology – interpretivist – spiral of constructivism….
  • My motivation for the whole thing – a stronger clearer voice from me personally

plus some linking paragraphs and a section on definitions.

We also talked a little about the progress of my data collection and some of the questions I was considering:

Should I use the term “Threshold Concepts” with my Entrepreneurs?  On balance I think not, and subsequently I have undertaken interviews without mentioning threshold concepts without any issues.  I just refer to “concepts” or “key concepts”.

I am a little concerned with “level”.  Should I be looking for concepts that are unique to entrepreneurship?  At one level all things become the same.  I think perhaps the concept may not be unique, but the concept in the context of entrepreneurship will be.  Like RISK.  Everyone understands the concept of RISK, but perhaps entrepreneurs have a distinctive way of interpreting and understanding RISK.  I need to identify the right level to be meaningful enough to make the distinction.

When I am concerned about the best use of my time – I need to apply a test…”Am I writing stuff that could be useful for my thesis?”  and if the answer is NO then, I should question if I should be spending time writing it.

For example – I have a potential paper on the Delphi Study part of my research.  This ticks both boxes of potentially publishable and potentially contributing to the thesis – so that’s definitely a good use of my time.

I also have another paper potentially on self-selecting students – this is potentially publishable but does not contribute to my thesis.  How much time will it take to be publishable?  Is it worth it?  Nicola recommended sending it to an Entrepreneurship Journal rather than a Educational one – call it a practitioner paper for an Entrepreneurial Education Journal.

My PDW from the 3E conference may also work up into something publishable – but again does not contribute to my thesis.

If only I had 48 hours in every day.Too-Many-Choices