Changing focus / title of proposed research early on ESRC +3 studentship

08-Apr-19, 01:16
Avatar for laertesvkd
posted about 1 year ago
Hi everyone,

So I was recently happy to hear that an application for a +3 ESRC PhD studentship was successful but I have some concerns regarding the proposal I was accepted on. I have a topic I am very passionate about and have recommended a quite specific (mostly quantiative) methodology in the proposal that I think would be relevant; however, in hindsight, I am thinking that I might have gone a step too far with being overly specific in how I've framed the research questions methodology.

Namely, in hindsight, I think that the project could benefit from a more mixed-methods approach, also incorporating some qualitative research and a greater theoretical depth on top of some of the quantitative methods proposed originally. Despite sticking to the same overall topic , this may mean venturing into territory that is not explicitly stated in my original proposal and possibly changing the submitted title. ESRC regulations state that "significant" changes in direction are rarely permitted in a +3 studentship but there's not much guidance on what constitutes a "non-significant" change.

So I am very keen to hear if anybody had found themselves in a similar situation before and whether such changes are common at the early stages for +3 ESRC funded students.

08-Apr-19, 09:38
edited about 19 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
Congrats on getting the PhD!

You are still early and don't worry to much. Most PhD students change from the original proposal in some way, it is the nature of research. I have gone through something similar, were i have changed my methodology several times due to several issues. There was no problem with changing as I am still achieving the same objective but I would try the initial way first. Try it and if there are problems/too long, suggest a new approach to your supervisor.
09-Apr-19, 11:48
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 year ago
"Sticking to the same overall topic" means that you aren't making significant changes in direction in my experience - so don't worry about it! You're probably going to make loads more changes and venture into unplanned territory throughout the process. Congrats and good luck!


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