From Tweet to Thesis is a blog that started with the question, how does a phd student come up with their PhD topic or research question. It has morphed into a collection of ideas around where ideas come from. Because a PhD starts with an idea.
I completed my PhD at University of Westminster in 2016. My PhD topic was the way the law is used to encourage environmental behaviour and, in the course of this research, I have become aware of how much it is influenced by my life experience. The theoretical framework is based on the premise that the development of society is influenced by the limitations placed on it by the environment and that society is in the environment of human beings and vice versa. One of the aims of this blog is look at how the environment of doctoral researchers influenced the origin of their PhD topic, but it has broadened somewhat to cover ‘where do ideas from from?’. The title, From Tweet to Thesis, is supposed to reflect how a doctoral thesis can often start with a flash of inspiration or tweet in the imagination. On the one hand, a thesis may start with a metaphorical ‘tweet’. On the other hand, it ends up as a ‘tweet’ when talking about it with others who may or may not read it. (Indeed, there is an argument for being able to summarise a thesis in 140 characters.)
Where do these ‘tweets in the imagination’ come from? How do they get there? When and why do they emerge? What is their purpose? Are they placed there by God, the muse or a random convergence of neurons? Or are they the logical next step of the imaginer’s subjectivity, their place in the world and the sum of their past and present? Is it possible to be an outside observer or are we always inside the environment? What do they say about our own nature and about the objectivity of our own research? Does true objectivity mean interdisciplinary and totality?
The purpose of this site is to explore the role of the imagination, background, environment and emotional baggage of the researcher by collecting personal narratives. It will hopefully demonstrate that PhD research come from the wider society and therefore cannot be divorced from it.
I and the various contributors to this blog always love to receive feedback, so please feel free to comment on any of the posts or subscribe to the blog.
Dr Pravin Jeyaraj