A brief panel reflection
I have tried to write this post several times already and am still unsure of what to try and convey about my panel experience.
Perhaps the first thing is to say how glad I am it is behind me. It seemed to consume far too much of my life and my thoughts for several weeks before. Maybe that is normal, although it all seemed far more rushed and last minute than I was hoping it would be. Perhaps the fact that there were several of us going through panel on the same day also added to the sense of ‘panel phobia’. All the hype was actually far worse than the real thing, which went by much more smoothly than I was expecting. In fact, I came out wondering what all the stress had been about. I do think we were blessed with an exceptionally nice panel though, which helped enormously.
Perhaps just a couple of thoughts then for those who will face this in the future. Firstly, I found the ‘practice’ opportunities organised by Pauline and the PGRSN very helpful. On both occasions, my proposal was not complete and I did not give the presentation I used in the actual panel, but the opportunity to get feedback and also see how others were tackling panel was extremely helpful and productive, so I do recommend taking any opportunity that comes your way to have a go at articulating your ideas, even if they are not fully formed. Richard also organised a mock panel, which gave an even better taste of what to expect on the day. In fact, the mock was scarier than the real thing!
Secondly, do make the most of that 15 minute presentation time to cover areas in your proposal that might appear weaker or perhaps not be quite as clear. For example, I am collecting data through everyday classroom activities rather than interviews, focus groups etc., so I spent quite a lot of time trying to clarify what that might actually look like in the classroom and the sort of data it would produce. The presentation really gives you an opportunity to ‘add value’ to the proposal, so try and make the most of it.
So now it’s time to move on – the ethics forms await 🙂