Annual Review

I’m not sure how it’s happened, but my Annual Review (AR) is coming up this week. The year has simultaneously sped past and dragged. On the one hand, I feel like I have been researching for years, with the first tranche of online courses a distant memory. On the other, I feel like a newbie, who has only just begun their journey.

What have I achieved so far? It turns out, a fair amount. I have jumped through various hoops to achieve ethics approval. My goodness me, what a thorny business that was. Quite right too, especially as I am working closely with children. My inexperienced self had no idea that it would be such a complicated process and I am forever grateful to my supervisors for their guidance.

The pilot study filled me with fire, ready to start the school-based studies in earnest. I have now completed the initial three that were planned. However, a chance meeting with the head teacher of The Hawthorns School has resulted in an additional school-based study in a specialist school for autistic children. I’ll be visiting after half term and am very interested to see if the setting will have an impact on the pattern of results observed so far.

What else? The lit review currently sits at just shy of 9,000 words. Obviously, this chapter will not be finalised until the end is in sight, as new material will continue to be published. The methodology chapter is rather skeletal at the moment, but shaping up nicely. I have penned a chapter which focuses on the pilot study. The pilot data was so rich that I couldn’t bear to leave it nestling in a notebook.

The reflection process which comes with preparing for the AR has made me appreciate how far I have come, and focus on where I am going next in this journey. For the first time, I feel proud of my achievements, whilst recognising that there’s a lot to do. And that’s alright. I’m continuing to move in the right direction.

Thursday is the day. I will be speaking (via Teams) to my supervisor and two esteemed members of the university about all of the above. Let’s hope that I don’t waffle on too much…I’ll report back soon.

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