June 30, 2020
FEEDBACK FROM MY FIRST PHD MILESTONE (14TH DECEMBER 2019): CELEBRATE EVERY STEP.
After enrolment as a Doctoral Researcher at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), my first milestone was to revise and review my research proposal with dedicated guidance and scrutiny from my supervisory team led by Dr. Julie Anne King. My school refers to this first stage as “Stage 2 Milestone”. My first draft was about 15 pages but with guidance from my supervisors, the copy I submitted to the school was 43 pages. It was an exciting process where my supervisors critiqued every line of my work. Therefore, it was worth it when the feedback came in numbered 1-6. In fact, the reviewer who is a Professor with massive experience in HIV and Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) has left an amazing recommendation that my stage 2 proposal is in the top 5% and can be used as an exemplar for other students. This is worth celebrating and is evident of the dedication of my amazing Supervisors:
A. Dr. Julie King
B. Dr. Jo Durham
C. Dr. Kaeleen Dingle
Massive thanks to my supervisory team for this achievement. Now, it is time to focus on the next milestone which is the “Confirmation Seminar” coming up next year. One step at a time until it is over.
When you read the feedback numbered 1-6, you will understand why I am blushing right now.
NOTE: Pictures are screenshots of the email conversation with my Principal Supervisor.
1. This is an excellent Stage 2 proposal. The rationale for the research is very clear and the guiding questions extend logically from a comprehensive review of the literature. The project is highly relevant to priorities in Public Health and Social Work. The work at this stage is of such high quality that I am confident it could make a significant contribution to evidence-based interventions to reduce ART non-adherence among PWD in Nigeria, and to the broader international scientific literature on care for PLHIV.
2. The proposed design is solid. The qualitative research design is precisely what is needed to answer the guiding questions. The theoretical framework is appropriate for the research of this type. The literature review shows that this student already possesses a sophisticated understanding of prior research. I was similarly impressed by the depth of knowledge of methodological considerations. The proposed sequence of activities from literature review through to data analysis is clearly articulated. I can see that this student has benefitted from immersion in methodology that has been applied successfully by his QUT supervisors to similarly complex research problems.
3. As far as I can tell, the student has addressed all of the above matters. This Stage 2 proposal is remarkably strong, and the associated workplan for the student and supervisors to manage the project is clear, logical and feasible.
4. Stage 2 Approval is recommended (i.e., no changes or minor changes to the satisfaction of supervisor/faculty)
5. I believe the student should proceed. Having supervised research of this nature, including two studies of medication adherence in complex sociocultural environments, I think this student should be congratulated for producing a sophisticated proposal at this early stage of his PhD journey. I have just a few suggestions: Page 13: The review of barriers to adherence is quite brief. It has less depth than the review of research on other matters. Be careful here. You seem to be too quick to critique (or even god forbid, tend to malign) research that emphasizes individual factors affecting adherence, in contrast to structural drivers. Try to avoid simple dichotomies – even though they are fashionable in some fields of inquiry, they don’t fly well and usually land with a dull thud. Don’t rely on a critical review by others to do the work for you. The perspectives in that paper by Jancey et al may be good, but that does not allow you to by-pass your own deep analysis of the literature on individual factors. This point may be pivotal to the rationale for your thesis. In reality, the two dimensions are not in opposition; they are complementary and at times, intersect. You should try to capture individual, family, neighbourhood and higher-level structural influences. In section 126.96.36.199: Rephrase the cumbersome text “…estimated 15% of PWD make up the world’s population”. You should say that approximately 15% of people in the global population are living with a disability. There are some minor grammatical imperfections. For example, see p24, section 4.2, 3rd line from the bottom of the 1st paragraph in that section, you have an inappropriate s in “reveals”. I point this out half-jokingly, because the writing overall is almost flawless.
6. Exemplar Proposal: This submission is in the top 5% and may be used as an exemplar for other students.