In response to Emma Rees’ article on “mesearch” (“My work is my life”, Features, 19 March), I’ve been thinking about my personal biases as I’m writing up my PhD on the theology of music. When I started, I was seeking an objective perspective on theology and music. I was easily persuaded and found it difficult to construct my own arguments. This filtered through to my writing, where I used the passive voice to disclaim any claims I made. Academic tomes had the final word. I realise now that my perspective may be different from those of established academics, but it is equally valid.
Researchers have to be selective, and choices are always guided by a variety of personal and academic factors. I am likely to write about music that I like and am familiar with, but still I have left out far more research than I have put into the final thesis. My research interests reflect my leisure interests, but if I wasn’t interested in it I wouldn’t research it.
My musical experiences have also been significant: concerts have helped me to clarify my ideas on the work performed, and I have been introduced to new music. I am not the same person at the end of the PhD process as I was at the beginning; the “me” in my “mesearch” is now a more knowledgeable and confident “me”. I appreciate that no piece of research can be comprehensive or final, and as I continue to develop, I can imagine my research perspective changing.
PhD researcher, University of Leeds