Part of the way through my part time MA studies, I’m now at the point where the topics for my MA dissertation and general area for my PhD research have been decided on. This will be roughly in the field of parochial conflict in the Early Modern period. The MA dissertation will focus on a particular village in Shropshire, where the parishioners went to extraordinary lengths to try to get rid of their clergyman in the post-restoration period. The PhD will focus on clergy-parishioner conflict throughout the whole of Herefordshire.
This summer needs to be about putting in the prepatory work for the next year or so, with several aims:
- Doing the general literature reading for both my MA dissertation and PhD proposal;
- Establishing the availability of primary source material for MA dissertation and PhD;
- Beginning the research process for my MA dissertation (which is not due till Jan 2017, so I have time);
- Writing my PhD proposal;
- Doing a little extra research for an article I have already done a lot of work on, and just needs some extra to finish off;
- Preparing to deliver my first conference paper in November 2015.
The record office that I will be primarily working from is closed (they’re in the process of moving to a new building and I cannot WAIT to see it) so its been suggested that I spend the time working on the background literature.The general aim is to try to get this finished by the end of July; or to at the very least get to the point where I can a) put information from primary source material into context and b) understand the finer points of the material I will be reading when I get to the record office.
I primarily work from home, where I am lucky enough to have my own little study and can work uninterrupted. That solitude, while welcome (and I know a few people who would give their right eyeteeth for it) can also be very isolating and it can be terribly easy to procrastinate, hence the blog – if I have to report my achievements at the end of the day to something (if not someone), then I’m much less likely to procrastinate! Hopefully this will work and help encourage me to keep my nose to the grindstone, as well as giving people an insight into what is required to work on and complete both an MA and a PhD.