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Maps methodology methods PhD Research Social Sciences Teaching

The Mountains of Metaphor

Having the right working metaphors can make a difference to any long research project. Here, I set out why working metaphors are so crucial to our research processes, and how the Mountains of Metaphor can help us communicate better about our research journeys.

I’m so excited to be launching this project. I’ve mentioned it a few times (just a few) over past blog posts, but here we are… it’s live! You can visit the site here, and I’ll be posting more about the processes involved and how I’m approaching it here.

Copyright Clare Williams 2021, images reproduced here with the kind permission of tl;dr.legal

This project has been a long time in the making. I first started sketching out what my “journey” might look like in 2019, right after passing my viva and feeling that I could give myself permission to step away from the core content of my research for a bit. It had been a long 8 and a half years. In hindsight, it was worth every step. But there had been moments along the way where I’d sworn blind I wasn’t cut out for this and was going to quit.

Fortunately, for me, I had a wonderful support team of supervisors and mentors who made sure that the nuclear option never happened. But I’m not alone in having moments like this – any long research project has its ups and downs. Sometimes we want to give up. We don’t feel we’re good enough, or can make this lifestyle work.

So, the Mountains of Metaphor project is a way for me to share my story and reach out. Maybe you’ve experienced something similar? Maybe you’re considering a PhD but aren’t sure how to approach it, mentally?

There are some supplementary materials on the site that you can download and play around with – why not try creating your own map of your research journey? Where are you on the map? What’s going on around you? Can you still see your eventual goal?

Why not send us a postcard from where you are?

By clarewilliamsresearch

How we can do, talk, and think about legal and economic phenomena better? And what other possiblities emerge when we do?

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