• Denby Weller

Journal Prompt 3

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

At the end of every working day this week, write down three research-related things that went well for you that day. Write down what happened in as much detail as possible, including what you did or said, and if others were involved, what they did or said. Note how this made you feel. Write down when something didn’t go so well. Describe what happened and how you feel about it. Notice your emotions. Name your emotions. Now, imagine that a close friend were feeling these things. Write one or two sentences in the same compassionate tone you might use to comfort your friend to support the emotions that you’re feeling. Think about what made the successes possible, what might help to avoid a repeat of the setbacks, and how the setbacks might nonetheless help you grow/develop as a researcher.


Had such a great day of reading. Feel completely drained but also full. Like my brain has run a marathon. Summarised two chapters from Media Technologies and one from Deliberative Systems. I don't really understand what materiality means. Better find some definitions and check with Heather on Thursday. Really excited by the idea in Deliberative Systems of the importance of partisan publications in the public sphere. Must have another look at Habermas – perhaps this idea even comes from him? Lots of refs to his work in DS, which is very exciting to see. Still feel totally lost in terms of which community / digital location / physical location I'm going to target in my own project. It's frustrating to feel so lost but I know it's part of the process so I'm trying to be good-natured about the discomfort.

Gained access to early student feedback survey. What a way to ruin the afternoon. After such a great morning! OMG.

'Lecturer clearly knows a lot but doesn't know how to work Canvas. Why isn't Swinburne teaching its lecturers how to work Canvas?' No idea even what prompted that. Did I joke one night in class about forgetting to hit 'publish' on something? Students have no idea how this stuff impacts us. I'm so upset, I can't concentrate on anything.


Still upset about ESFS. Re-read the comment that got my goat, and I think the reason I'm so upset by it is that I'm concerned there's some truth to it. I have been pretty ruthless with my time this semester. Perhaps I've cut one too many corner and the student experience is really impacted? I think the real worry here is that I'm doing a bad job. Is this one student – whose key criticism is around the content itself – is he or she indicative of the whole class? Or is he or she just one person who disagrees with some of the content? Emailed my supervisor to ask what the department's expectation around SFSs is. At UTS there was a clear score goal – below 3.5, trouble. 3.5 - 4, not great. 4+ all good. No idea what they want here, but my average just dropped below 4.5 so I'd better find out. So crap to be going through this 5 weeks into a new job.

Read some more from Deliberative Systems and have started compiling a list of words I don't understand. Honestly. Is heuristic a noun or an adjective or an adverb? I've seen it used as all three. Since it has a plural, it must be a noun, right? This is one of eight words so far that the definitions just don't seem to clarify for me. Must ask Heather.


Met with PhD supervisor, Heather. So delighted when she said she 'hoped I would think that' on hearing my reflections from reading Deliberative Systems. That feeling of doing the work and getting the acknowledgement for it is so deeply pleasurable.

Still have no idea what community I'm going to focus on for my PhD. God I'm so jealous of Heather, choosing Wikipedia! Read first chapter of her book. Such a great, varied, enormous and rich community... the research narrative is is clear. Why am I obsessed with creating a 'strong research narrative'? Would it really be an issue if I look at conspiracy narratives in climate change denial circles this year and anti-vaxxers the next.

I'm so anxious to pin this down, but am also aware that I rushed into it a bit during the proposal writing, and now, not even a year later, I want to bin my proposal and start over. I suppose part of that is discovering Media Effects Theory (not just a mildly alarming commitment phobia).

Asked Heather about the Words I Don't Understand. She can't parse heuristics either. Feel less like a Bad Academic.

Also heard back re: ESFS and got a big fat 'don't worry!'. PHEW. Still feel upset about it though. I've given myself until Friday morning to feel glum.


What about conspiracy narratives? Tracking conspiracy narratives. But not the really extreme ones; the ones driving climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers, etc.

Made a list of characters at the centre of conspiracy narratives: Peter Ridd, Andrew Wakefield, Judy Mikovits. All surrounded by 'hard done by' stories and David v Goliath type stories pitting them against Big Pharma, the Greenies, etc.

Have now compiled 2.5 blog posts on this platform and decided that I don't like it. Good to have this experience before setting up a proper blog. Looks like I'll have a separate Wordpress thing going for my academic life. That concludes the project entitled, 'Can I Do My Academic Blog As An Extension of My Existing Website or Do I Have To Bloody Learn Another Web Publishing Platform?' Alas.

Some words for Denby: Hey Denby. You've had a bit of a shit week. Well done getting through it. You've made some awesome progress on your PhD this week despite being really upset about your SFS. And you've also occasionally had the courage to properly ask the question, 'was that feedback justified.' You've sought advice from your supervisor and your PhD supervisor – and that might be the most grown-up way you've dealt with bad feedback in... ever. Nice job! As you guessed, Monday to Thursday was enough time for feeling glum and getting over it. Thank God for getting older and (a smidgin) wiser.

This kid showed me where to find pippis on Gili Air in Indonesia.

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