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Values in Design

Lenny van Onselen

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PhD experience

Learning loop

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I have these little epiphanies. Last week, I had a major one. I could say, I completed a learning loop. Kolb (an educational theorist) developed the experiential learning model composed of four elements: concrete experience, observation & reflection, formation of abstract concepts, and testing new concepts. According to his theory you have a preferred learning style, but you generally go through all four stages. So, what happend with me?

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Continue reading “Learning loop”

Should I continue my PhD?

I believe almost any PhD student at least once asks her/himself this question. I did to. Two times actually. It always came down to a yes in my case. I remember reading  blogposts and had conversations with my friend. I asked this question and two questions followed:

  • Why did you start your PhD?
  • Why would you want to quit?

If the answer to the first is “for myself”. The answer to the main question is Continue reading “Should I continue my PhD?”

The little epiphanies

Why do I research? Why go through so much effort and long, long days of pondering, going through my data, writing small bits of a paper? It is these little epiphanies you experience after a day of hard work. The insight you gained. The proof you found. The piece you were able to write.

Epiphanies, may be small, are the things that make you tick. I find them in my research. I make sure to have at least one per day. How? Continue reading “The little epiphanies”

Doing a part-time and external PhD

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My occupation is lecturer at a University of Applied Sciences. Dutch law dictates these universities are not allowed to promote PhD candidates. My employer does like lecturers to get a PhD and supports this by handing out PhD vouchers. This is a small grand provided by our University, to which you can apply for as lecturer. I received this grand 2 years ago and will receive another 2 years. However, I am not doing my PhD at my own University, but at Delft University of Technology where my promotor resides.

Doing a part-time PhD is hard, because Continue reading “Doing a part-time and external PhD”

Going on a diet

I dieted last couple of weeks. I worked on two conference papers with other researchers. Writing well is hard, especially writing a research paper. Academic writing gets wordy and boring quickly. Then I found this website: the writer’s diet. Continue reading “Going on a diet”

Observing an interview

Observing, purely observing, a researcher taking an interview. Educational. What did I learn?

  • The hour is gone before you know it
  • Opportunities for probing are so easily missed
  • It is not a monologue; it is a conversation
  • Repeat, summarize and probe
  • People speak abstract and in metaphors
  • Making a person angry helps (to a certain limit of course)

Ok. Interesting to learn more about open interviewing. But I also learned something else…  Continue reading “Observing an interview”

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