Earlier this week, I gave my latest ‘Reflective Presentation’ to my supervisors, Dr John Littlewood and Professor George Karani, both of Cardiff Metropolitan University. This was part of my doctoral research project assessment, and entailed looking back over the last module and identifying key challenges I faced and skills I developed during completion of the module. I always find it useful to look back at where I have come from in terms of my knowledge and skills, and how my project has evolved. When I started this module about this time last year, I hadn’t yet found a focus for my project and hadn’t decided on a suitable output. As well as finding a clear direction as I worked through the module, I also had to get to grips with the theoretical framework for my research, including looking at the type of data I would be collecting (qualitative) and how I could analyse this data.
It was useful to look back at the start of my Active Building journey too, which I summarised in this slide:
A professional doctorate focuses on proposing change to organisations or practise. In my case, I helped change the course of SPECIFIC by steering the research towards building demonstrators and then developed mechanisms to share this information with the construction industry and to enable the design of further Active Buildings through developing design guidance. My supervisors pointed out that I am not just developing a Design Guide but more of an Active Building Protocol, which can be implemented through a suite of guides, including: an Active Building Design Guide for Architects; an Active Building Design Guide for Students; Active Building teaching modules; an Active Building Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work; Active Building CPD seminars; Active Building Case Studies; and Active Building support information for projects – all of which I am currently working on. Eventually there could be Active Building Design Guides for different building types and for retrofit, as well as an Active Building Standard and Certification perhaps (although these will be outside of my scope of work as part of this project).
One thing I like about the professional doctorate is that it is divided into modules, each individually assessed as you progress through your research project. This table shows the modules and the ones I have passed so far (ticked in red).
Just the big module to go now!
Another skill I have developed significantly during the last couple of years is academic writing. I was pleased to present a paper entitled ‘Active Buildings in Practice’ at the eleventh International Conference on Sustainability in Energy and Buildings, SEB-19, earlier this year in the beautiful city of Budapest. This has since been published online in Vol 163 of the Springer Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series as a book chapter: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-32-9868-2_47. I plan to submit a paper for SEB-20 next year. As well as improving my writing skills, having my work peer reviewed and finding ways to present it to others has helped me to be clear about my research aims and outcomes. I also like seeing how others present their work at conferences.
If you’re interested in a professional doctorate, have a look here.