Off the grid

Social media tools have become major parts of how I live my life, but I also believe that there are times when you need to protect yourself from new information and create a special space with a singular aim: full immersion in the PhD thesis – the writing-up and production of arguments and stories woven through introduction, methods, results and discussion. Envisioning the whole story requires all of my concentration and commitment.

I am about to step into an intense writing period of 2 months. To achieve this, I am going ‘off the grid’. This will be my last Web 2.0 offering until March. It will be a small achievement to see a two month gap in my Facebook activity when I resurface. More crucially, I’m looking forward to handing over a full draft of the thesis to my supervisors!

If you do email/message/comment, I will read and respond in March. I look forward to a more solid engagement with everyone post thesis submission.

Thanks to everyone for their support and patience.


Process vs content

So far, my posts to Drugs, Internet, Society have focused on drug-related issues I find interesting and important. I also want to write about the research process. This is the first of a series of posts more orientated towards process than content.

Why bother discussing process? Because how we come to know something is as important as what we claim to know (perhaps more important). The validity of a person’s knowledge claim is difficult to assess without understanding the argument or the methods used by that person to arrive at their conclusions.

While this may seem obvious, people accept knowledge claims everyday without having access to the process that informed those claims. We may be trusting an expert, we may not have access to the processes behind the claim, we may not have the expertise to critique those processes and/or we may not have the time to do so.

Drug policy discussions in the public sphere are an area fraught with knowledge claims that require critical analysis. It is therefore important for you, as readers of this blog, to read about at least some of the processes I participate in when I ‘do research’.* This is the aim of the ‘process’ category of posts that I’ve just started today.

* These posts are, of course, my own account and reflection upon research processes. This is a discourse in itself that cannot provide an unbiased account (or mirror) of my research.