What to do when things go wrong

Using challenges, messiness and discomfort as resource

Instead of rushing to ‘fix’ problems and/or ignoring difficulties, participants will be guided in this workshop to find ways to accept and engage with the more uncomfortable moments of research. This could include occasions when things go wrong, personal or family problems, etc. and to engage them as helpful resources within the research journey.

This session will feature a mix of whole group discussions, small group (peer-led) discussions and a substantial teaching component. The workshop will explore the following subjects:

  • Clarifying the aims and often messy processes of doctoral research
  • Exploring how problems in research can ultimately be beneficial
  • The “Yes…and” game for finding creative solutions to problems that may arise in the research
  • The Next Moment Method, for addressing the difficult emotions that may arise in the research – this comprises a simple practice that recentres attention on personal agency and the ability to select a ‘better-feeling’ thought in each moment
  • Journaling / meditation prompts for working through blocks

Participants will also be encouraged to discuss problems they are currently facing or which they anticipate at later stages of their PhD; and to brainstorm possible solutions and alternative approaches with each other.

By inviting participants to share their experiences, this workshop will also draw on collective experiences and wisdom, and offer participants reassurances that they are not alone in dealing with challenges in their research.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the workshop, participants will have learned:

  • new perspectives and practices for addressing and responding to problems that may arise in their research
  • how to recognise messiness and unexpected problems as a useful resource that both enriches their research and enhances their personal and professional development
  • how to take back control of their research and decision-making process when things go wrong
  • a creative practice for finding solutions to the problems that may arise during the research
  • a method for managing and working with the difficult emotions that may arise throughout the PhD

Workshop details

  • 2-hour workshop
  • Maximum attendance: 30 participants
  • This workshop can be conducted in person or online
  • Participants will be provided with a workbook that can be used during the session and kept for future reference

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