Thematic Analysis: A Helpful Method for Literary Research

This is a humble attempt to provide a brief, yet a concise, guideline to the researchers engaged in literacy research. Although there are several research methods borrowed from the fields of Social Sciences and Humanities which are utilized and applied in the study of literary texts and narratives, because of their scientific bearing and religious systematicity, they fail to satisfy the philosophical and comparatively stronger analytical and critical approach characteristic of a piece of literature. In this article, I aim to facilitate the students doing their research in literature, in particular literatures written in English, to get their way through the complexities and demands of research degrees requiring the submission of thesis or dissertation. For this particular piece, I have focused on thematic analysis because of its relevance to and viability for most of the literature-based researches.

In contrast to the traditions of the past, it has become all the more important today for literature and language researchers to sound theoretically, epistemologically, and methodologically sound apart from being philosophically and conceptually thorough. The theory part fares well since there exists a plethora of critical models, concepts and isms such as feminism, ecocriticism, postcolonialism, etc., which inspire the researchers to formulate their own direction and perspective in their research. However when it comes to the method, most of the students would adopt their individual style of analysis that is often vague, haphazard and mostly an account of their personal ideas about the researched material.

Attride-Stirling (2001) emphasizes the need for qualitative psychologists to focus on ‘what’ and ‘why’ of a research but more so on ‘how’ they conducted their analysis. This observation is equally applicable to the researchers of literary texts.  Adding on to their problem, there exists a peculiar mind-set that takes its root from the biases and prejudices nurtured by the theorists and researchers belonging to countries with colonial background, where to reject the research methods originating from the West are claimed as a strategy of resistance.  This practice, does not only hinder the researchers of these countries to bring rigour into their research but also creates a conflict between their aspirations and training. What is important, then, is to make the research by literary researchers, on a par with their peers in other disciples in the Social Sciences and Humanities in terms of how they organize and present their research, but of course, ensuring that they do not jeopardize the individuality and the requirements of their field.

Those readers who are familiar with some of the popular research methods such as content analysis, discourse analysis, textual analysis etc., may have an idea, even though a faint one, that thematic analysis has not gained much attention even within the Social Sciences. This may be, as discussed by many methodologists, because of the method’s loosely demarcated boundaries and flexibility. It is somewhat surprising that even though qualitative in nature, it is hardly ever conceptualized within the parameters of language or literary research. Interestingly, and much to the benefit of literary researchers, both the field and the method under discussion are characterized by open-ended answers to the questions raised and flexible interpretative process of the data set. What becomes a limitation in the Social Sciences, may be used to the advantage of literary researchers. There is also a debate about whether thematic analysis is a method in its own right or a strategy that prevails across all methods. This point of view, however, has been widely discussed and negated in the face of growing research in the Social Sciences and Humanities which extensively draws from the method to analyse the data.

In Thematic Analysis, the data refers to the particular part of the whole corpus (which can be the whole novel, collection of poems, short story etc.) that needs to be analysed. More specifically, the data set (or text set, narrative set) may generate out of a particular interest in a topic as postulated by Braun and Clarke (2006). The themes are extracted out of the coded chunks/excerpts which are then analysed. The selection of themes/patterns is mostly dependent on the research question which underscores the interest of the researcher. Thematic Analysis is thus a method which helps identify and analyse repeated patterns or themes within the data (text) for which codes have to be classified first.

However, it should be understood, no matter what kind of walls are created around the method to systematize it, the themes reside in the researchers’ mind and always demonstrate their subjective inclination or interest (Ely et al 1997). What is termed as ‘theme’ is an important factor justifying researchers’ selection. This factor is assessed by looking into the aspect of ‘prevalence’ which ensures the viability of a theme in terms of the space and presence it holds in the data set. The most important point to remember is to remain ‘consistent’ in assessing the prevalence, since even to check it may involve different methods. Unlike most quantitative methods, in thematic analysis, a researcher has the freedom to reflect on the prevalence by remaining non-specific (such as by using ‘a number of’, ‘many’ etc.) in the presentation of the data.

Thematic Analysis, according to Braun and Clarke (2006), can be conducted inductively or theoretically. Inductive analysis codifies the data without taking into account the researcher’s preconceptions. In this kind of analysis, the review of prior literature may restrict the researcher’s engagement with the data, so it is advised to first browse through the data carefully. In theoretical analysis, on the other hand, the codification process is theory-driven, hence good understanding of available and accessible literature is more helpful in this case.

One of the strengths of Thematic Analysis is that it can draw themes both from motivation, experiences and simple meanings (that reside in the data) which refer to the essentialist point of view and socio-cultural contexts which may refer to the constructionist approach. There can, however, be an amalgamation of both that may be suitable for a more rigorous analysis. The trajectory that may be taken to conduct thematic analysis is charted out below:

First, a thorough reading of the text twice, initially for general understanding, and then to pay close attention to detect the patterns/themes is required. It is important at this stage to note that in the assessment of ‘prevalence’ of themes, a prior perspective must be developed and this can only be possible if the text has already been read by the researcher. Starting with a theme/theory and forcing it on the text, which most of the researcher do, may result in a failure to produce a quality research. At this stage it is advised that the researcher gleans the preliminary findings, which may be tentative, and write them down.

The second step involves the codification of the text. The codes are the refined forms of a researcher’s preliminary findings/ideas which may materialize as specific elements/entities. However, since in Thematic Analysis, the analysis is done recursively, the codes may change as the research progresses. Whether the codes are semantically driven or latent, these little entities (data items) help organize the researched material and eventually cluster together in groups to form themes. While coding the data, it is necessary to collate each code with the excerpt / material it belongs to.

At the third stage, the extracted codes are separated and classified in terms of their similarities and then these clusters are titled as themes which are later named. There can, however, be small or large clusters and some of them may not appear to formulate a major theme. In this case sub themes can also be created out of the smaller clusters, whereas, bigger clusters may attain the status of main themes. A close look at the derived themes may be required in order to check their suitability, diversity and compatibility with the research question/s. In case of overlaps in themes, they should be carefully merged in order to make the set of themes more coherent and compact. It is necessary that the themes exhibit a pattern, if that is not the case, revision of coding process and thematization is required. In other words, a story should emerge out of the themes as discussed by Braun & Clarke.

The fourth and final stage requires the researcher to do the analysis based on the themes – their description, context, function, interpretation (apparent and latent meanings), implication – delineating their relationship with the research questions. This process is supplemented with examples from the text. The analysis part needs to be more than a re-writing of the material selected and a researcher should aim to rigorously engage with it from all aspects mentioned in the beginning of this paragraph. A good thematic analysis should provide a genuine proof of the contention raised or thesis proposed.

Although, it is difficult to provide a fixed rubric to any analytical method, even more so with reference to literary studies, methods can be adopted from other fields, they can be appropriated and adjusted to the requirements of the researched topic, and most importantly new methods can be designed and disseminated for the benefit of fledgling researchers, struggling to cope up with the challenges of ever growing academic requirements. The points shared in this article may prove helpful for such researchers and may pave way for better ideas.

 

#MYPHDSTORY: The extraordinary cocktail of pregnancy, postpartum depression, sleepless nights and studying for a PhD.

I am writing this article in hindsight few years after the successful completion of my doctorate studies in Microbiology and I am currently a public health microbiologist in California, USA.

I got married a year into my two-year Master’s program in Massachusetts, my husband at that time was living and working in Nigeria. That same year, I applied for doctorate studies in Alabama, and I was offered a place. Not too long after getting married, I became pregnant. Being pregnant wasn’t a profile as I felt fine however, I experienced some challenges. I experienced a number of emotions; embarrassment, the appearance of being unserious, stigma and later on, the occasional forgetfulness, tiredness and of course, heaviness. At this point, living away from my husband became very challenging and towards the end of the pregnancy, depression struck! perhaps due to loneliness and possibly hormonal changes.

Following the birth of our baby girl, I stayed home for only 2 weeks because I felt my laboratory work was lagging behind and there was no publishable data; this was the second year in the PhD program and time was running out: the first mistake!!! Mind you, I had not been away from the lab for long, as I had worked until the day of the birth (Yes, I was in the lab, the morning of the day I had her). As a hardworking person, I plunged myself back into the hustle and bustle of lab work and research experiments.

My mother-in-law came in from Nigeria to help with the baby for six months, this was our first time in close proximity for such a long period, and as you might expect, this came with its challenges. At times, this added more stress to my situation, because I had to manage both my academic and home affairs. Following her stay, I was left alone with a 6-month-old, and my day would start with taking her to the day care, followed by attending my classes and later in the afternoon continue with my laboratory work, until I pick her up at the end of my day.

At home, I would bath and feed her, rock her to sleep before studying for my classes, doing my assignments, reading manuscript for research ideas and possibly coming up with experimental designs. Going to sleep between 2 and 3 am for 4 or 5 hours was the norm for my best night, this was aside the nights she would wake up for feeding or colic which could go on for hours. I started experiencing anxiety, fear and postpartum depression. My mental health deteriorated, and my appearance suffered as a result as often times I looked dishevelled and unkempt.

Read More PhD and Parenting: How to make it work!

At this point, I needed help and my mother-in-law returned, with her sister (this was after three very long, trying months). They both helped while I went back to the laboratory. Once again in the laboratory, I was not making any progress in my research and I had to switch projects and labs. I started a new project and I was now making progress. When my husband would come around, he would help in the laboratory staying with me until early hours of the morning. I had to put him to work :-).

When my daughter was a year old, I got pregnant again (I know what you are thinking, she must be crazy!). This time it was a little bit easier because I had someone watch over my daughter. On the work front, my supervisor had been fine with my first pregnancy but freaked out at the second. It happened to be a more difficult pregnancy with two emergency room visits, excruciating chest pain, sleepless nights, and finally our baby boy came.

Again, I was back in the lab after 2 weeks for the same reason as the first (my second mistake!!!). I went through severe postpartum depression and anxiety for the second time, but I just kept on going, mainly because I prayed often, I had trusted help and in addition, my supervisor and a new postdoctoral researcher were very supportive. I began working twice as hard as the average PhD student, night and day, always in the lab. I was working at two projects being mindful that I had lost a lot of time, plus some of my experiments required that I travelled 50 miles and over for data analysis.

This was an unusual situation for me and I was probably unprepared for some of the things I experienced. As a result, I did not discuss it or seek help from anyone at the University at the time. Looking back, some level of help or support would have been great, perhaps I didn’t believe I needed it or maybe I thought I would be put on medication. I would like to mention that this does not disregard medical intervention when necessary and advised by a professional. If you find yourself going through similar, I would advise you seek help or support as early as possible.

I am glad to say, it all paid off, I felt I had gone too far to give up. I came out of postpartum depression and anxiety by praying, listening and confessing the word of God’s daily. I also remember repeating words like “my mind is sound” over and over again and I believed it, regardless of my circumstances. I became one of the best graduating students. I was able to produce quality data and now a published author in some of the top journals in my field. Despite all the challenges I went through, I acquired tremendous research experience where no one thought I was going to make it. And I was also able to attend several conferences and received an award for my work.

As I reflect on my experience, I am not writing this to scare or discourage anyone reading this, however, I believe there are women out there who have or might be going through similar experiences.

Read MoreNever too late or too old to learn something new

I would also like to share a few pointers to other women embarking on or already carrying out doctorate studies and want to have babies while studying:

1) Don’t! 😊 – On a serious note, if you can avoid having a baby, or you can wait, perhaps plan having a baby towards the latter part of your PhD…
2) if you and your partner decide to, ensure you have trusted help; your mum, aunt, friend, in-law or someone you trust to take care of you/your baby. You need that supportive network at the home front and at the University.
3) Discuss your plans with your principal investigator or supervisor, so you both can be on the same page.
4) Before you apply for your PhD, find out what type of support is available at the University for PhD students or researchers e.g. mental health, maternity leave, time out during the PhD etc.
5) Plan, plan and plan. Utilize your time wisely. Take time off after the birth of your child, rest for a minimum of 6 weeks. Don’t throw yourself into heavy work load immediately. Take it really slow. You might have to graduate a year later than the average, but don’t worry, the race is not to the swift.
6) Don’t overestimate your mental capacity
7) Most importantly, be PRAYERFUL. Guard your ears and heart by listening to God’s word daily.

Read More – So you want to do a PhD? – Your survival guide…Part 1

About the Writer: Dr Frances Dosunmu is a Senior Public Health Microbiologist in California, USA. Her PhD research was focused on investigating the antimicrobial properties of nanoparticles with findings from her research published in several high-profile microbiology journals. She can be reached here

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Research Method & Methodology Revisited

Editor’s note – An important aspect of learning in Higher Education is undertaking research. Research methods and methodology are terms students often come across, many HE institutions run ‘Research Methods’ modules but what do these terms mean? In this article, Dr Nadia Anwar discusses both terms and tackles their use when preparing students for research. Enjoy – AA.

Most of the books on research prefer the titles ending or highlighting the words ‘method’ or ‘methodology’ such as, ‘Introduction to research methods’ or ‘Research methodology’, ‘A primer to research methods’, ‘A handbook of research methodology’, ‘An overview of research methods’, ‘Research methods in social sciences’, ‘Current methodologies in life sciences’, ‘A guide to methodology’ to name a few. Please note this is a general list of prevalent and popular book titles gleaned from hundreds of available books and in no way targets any specific writer or book. These are indeed very helpful resources, carefully designed to assist the readers initiate their research journey with a solid footing and base. Some even taking the responsibility to prepare the researchers in advanced level research.

However, through experience I have observed that because of the variety of uses and meanings given to research methods and methodologies, they also generate a very disturbing problem for the researchers (especially from social sciences and humanities disciplines) whose acquaintance to research jargon is still at its primary stage. This article, specifically, is going to look into the chaotic nature of labels given to research procedures which in turn, create multiplicity of interpretations and confuse students and researchers. Moreover, it will also try to challenge the mismatch between the titles of the books and their contents. In other words, the targeted question is whether research method and research methodology can work both for the specific role they play in the overall research and used to encompass the whole research procedure at the same time?

Let us start with the etymological understanding of the problem words. From Latin ‘methodus’ and Greek ‘méthodos’, the lexeme ‘method’ refers to the ‘systematic course’, equivalent to Greek ‘hodós’ meaning road or journey. Naturally, the meaning evolved to reflect the procedural dynamics of conducting a research. In academia, method, which is sometimes replaced with mode, takes into account the way something comes about or happens. For many critics and analysts such as Griffin (2013), Dawson (2002), and Kothari (1990) to name a few, methods are the tools or techniques used to collect data or conduct a research. In other words it is the operationalizing of research. For a researcher, it turns out to be the most appropriate and logical procedure that suits his/her research.

As analytical tools research methods can be used to collect data (observations, interviews, questionnaires, opinionnaires, surveys, case studies etc.), establishing relationships between variables through statistical tools (standard Deviation, Correlation, T-Test etc.) or checking the accuracy of the results. They may, at the level of structure, guide the researcher step by step to walk on the tightrope of analysis. For example, methods such as content analysis, discourse analysis, thematic analysis, textual analysis, visual analysis, narrative inquiry, close reading, ethnographic etc. prove very useful for the researchers from social sciences and humanities.

Conflation of ‘method’ and ‘ology’ (field of study), the word ‘methodology’ comes from modern Latin ‘methodologia’.  It takes the concept of method to another level by systematizing the set of methods by referring to the underlying principles governing a given discipline. These are the rules of organization that provide a framework to a given research. In humanities, for example, these are the critical / theoretical or philosophical frameworks which define the rules under which a given research is conceived. It is that particular stance, attitude, or perspective that lends originality to the research.

Through comparative insight into the problem words Griffin (2013) gives a comprehensive and succinct definition of methodology. He asserts: “Whilst research methods are concerned with how you conduct a given piece of research, methodologies are concerned with the perspectives you bring to bear on your work such as a feminist or a postcolonial one, for example”. The perspectives about which Griffin talks about are termed as the ‘philosophy’, ‘general principle’ or ‘overall approach’ by Dawson (2002). A very interesting observation about these two entities is that sometimes they can work both as method and methodology – for example, the research done from the perspective of deconstruction and hermeneutics – since they both allow a systematic method as well as a philosophical framework to the researcher to carry out a research.

From the above discussion, one can see that the methodology is like a mould which works as a container of the research material. It shapes it up to limit its philosophical outreach, while the method is that ladle with which the research material is stirred and mixed in the mould. The assimilation of research argument or thesis into the content or data takes place through method; however, what keeps the boundaries of the research in check is the methodology. This discussion also answers the question raised in the beginning about the loose practice of titling the books on research by referring to the individual aspects of the whole research procedure. A rather less confusing and better choice, I think, is to let the ‘method’ and ‘methodology’ rest in the body of such books as two crucial and inevitable parts of research, instead of standing as ultimate titles.

With all that said, an important issue still prevails. Can these methods and methodologies, which are rooted strongly into their definitive domains can also be adapted and appropriated for research in other disciplines? I believe, they certainly can and such a practice should be encouraged as well. Such an undertaking may solve many research related problems faced by less scientific fields such as encountered by researchers in humanities. Although fields of knowledge are in no way deficient in methodological frameworks, there is still a need to devise, design and create methods according to the specific needs and requirements of a discipline. It may save many a good research becoming a victim of someone’s deficient knowledge or field specific approach and face neglect to die an untimely death. However, it is equally important that the appropriations are done under strict guidance of the instructors and supervisors to avoid incongruous alliance between subject area and method. In any case one wouldn’t like to serve drink in a pan and egg in a jug.

About the author – Dr Nadia Anwar has a PhD in Nigerian drama from the University of Northampton, UK. She is a Senior Lecturer in English at the Education Department in Pakistan and is a visiting faculty member at the University of Management and Technology, Lahore. Her primary research interests are African literature in general, specifically focused on Nigerian theatre and drama.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please share. Would you like to share an article in The Hub? We would love to hear from you. Please get in touch – info@aspiringprofessionalshub.com.

#NationalInclusionWeek –Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in the Workplace, How are you Performing?

It is hard not to notice globally the topic of race and gender taking centre stage due to recent political  decisions in Europe, the UK and of course the US.  The impact of the politics has and continues to affect professional and work environment e.g. the uncertainty around #brexit and research, job mobility between the EU and the UK, #Charlottesville and the after-effects  etc.

What might have gone unnoticed, was that last week was #NationalInclusionWeek in the UK. This is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the importance of inclusion in the workplace and the benefits of an inclusive and diverse workforce to business growth.

What is #Inclusivity and why is this important?

“Inclusion” in itself as a term is self-explanatory and is “about making sure that people feel valued, respected, listened to and able to challenge. It’s about recognising and valuing the differences we each bring to the workplace and creating an environment where everyone has equal access to opportunities and resources and can contribute to the organisations success.”

Sounds easy doesn’t it? That should be the minimum expectation in any workplace however the reality is different. In all aspects of professional engagement: workplace, research and governance etc. there are several identified barriers to inclusion (NIHR)

  • Cultural and institutional barriers
  • Attitudes and beliefs
  • Emotional and psychological barriers
  • Issues of mental capacity
  • Financial barriers

In the educational sector, inclusion is also a key problem with some barriers more deep-rooted e.g.

  • Physical barriers and accessibility still remains a major barrier in the UK and beyond. Students with learning and physical disability are less likely to access education and resources due to unavailable ramps, doors and well trained personnel.
  • Curricula is a key barrier to inclusion as closed or region-centric curricula does not cater for students from diverse background. In the UK, the National Union of Students (NUS) has started a campaign “Why is my curriculum white?”  aimed at challenging what had been identified as a non-diverse curriculum as a means of shining a light at the lack of diversity in education in the UK.

Overcoming the barriers of inclusivity is undoubtedly not a straight-forward process however there are suggestions to how to achieve this. The NIHR paper on diversity and inclusion in research highlighted three key ways that these barriers can be overcome through:

  • Organisational policies and procedures
  • Flexible ways of working
  • Innovative ways of working

Are there benefits to inclusion?

The evidence suggests that inclusivity and diversity are important in developing a richer culture in the workplace and very important, organisational growth. A recent report by the worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey & Company in 2015 showed that companies in the top quartile with gender diversity were 15% more likely to have financial returns above the industry means and where the ethnic and racial diversity were in the top quartile, the figures were around 35%.

Other benefits of inclusion include

  • Diversity of thought
  • Wider reach and wider network
  • More innovation

For more about the benefits, see the Forbes article here

Personal views

In the years I have been actively involved with the issue of diversity and now inclusivity, I have found that this conversation is often viewed through many lenses and it is important to engage with these different viewpoints however what should not be lost is that diversity/inclusion/equity for all should be a human right for all and the ethos of any good organisation should embody that.

Here are some lessons I have learned that might be of benefit for organisations interested in supporting and developing a diverse and inclusive workforce

  • Inclusion cannot be achieved without “Intentional” initiatives and thorough policy review. A lot of organisations attempt to address diversity without evaluating the impact of historical policies on promoting exclusion.
  • Inclusion, diversity, equity is not about deficit. It is about “It is about valuing all individuals, giving equal access and opportunity to all and removing discrimination and other barriers to involvement.” keystoinclusion.co.uk
  • The message of inclusion needs to start early e. children and young people need to be taught to embrace, welcome and respect the views of others and the abilities of the “different” others. In organisations or departments where diversity is lacking issues such as bullying, harassment and gang-mentality in the workplace are very likely.
  • One of the surprising threats to inclusion and diversity is fear! You are more likely to exclude others when you have “doubts”, feeling of “uncertainty”, questions about whether others will “fit in”. To achieve inclusion, organisations need to have bold and emotionally strong leaders.
  • Finally, leadership is an important drive of inclusion. Leaders need to understand the value and importance of inclusivity and to be champions of inclusion and diversity as it is very difficult to achieve without that.

A recent example of a leader using his platform to engage the conversation and promote the discourse was seen last week when Lt General Jay Silveria superintendent of the Air Force Academy addressed 4,000 air force cadets saying “What I wanted the cadets to see…I wanted them to see all of them as an institution protecting these values…I wanted to have a direct conversation with them about the power of diversity, about the power of our make-up. …we need those diverse ideas and that’s the message I wanted them to hear”.

The video of his address has gone viral and whilst the army operates differently from other organisations, the speech/initiative by gen Silveria has not gone unnoticed and shows there is mileage in taking a stand as a leader and it is possible for leaders to lead from the front on the issues of diversity and inclusion.

Is your employer  inclusive or diverse, or are you a new employer interested in developing a diverse workforce, you might find this simple checklist useful. See full article here

Simple checklist for inclusivity
http://diversityintheworkplace.ca

To my knowledge, the #NationalInclusionWeek went almost unnoticed across many organisations in the UK. Did your organisation celebrate or put on an event last week to celebrate inclusion? Do share with us! To find out about organisations who are participating in this campaign, see the link here

You can also read

 Hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you would like to discuss any aspects of this article or have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at info@aspiringprofessionalshub.com. 

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About the writer – Emmanuel is an academic, scientist and regular blogger. He has a PhD in Microbiology and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK). He is actively involved in supporting, developing diversity initiatives at organisational level and is keen to support local, national and global initiatives to encourage inclusivity.  For more about Emmanuel, visit the about us page here.

 

 

#UNIADVICE – Never too late or too old to learn something new

Widening access to higher education to non-traditional students has become quite an important target for Universities in the UK. It is known to improve the outcomes and opportunities for people who would not otherwise get such chances. On the aspiring professionals hub, we like to share inspiring stories about people from diverse backgrounds with interesting and inspiring stories about their experiences or career successes. In our latest ‘Reflections’ article, Anna shares her experience of higher education as a late-starter aka mature student and hopes her experience would serve to inspire others.

I am 46 years old and in my second year of an MSc degree in Social Work. I was one of 5 children raised by both parents who struggled financially due to unemployment. I left school at the age of 16 with two standard grades- Music and Art. I then went onto work in a shoe shop under the Youth Training Scheme (YTS). At the age of 17 in 1988 I started working in a electronics factory, this led me to working in international companies. However, as the electronic industry began to decline, with many people facing redundancies, I decided to take the step and go to college where I achieved a national certificate and higher national certificate (HNC) in social care in 2005.

Navigating a #Career as a Makeup Artist – Lessons Learned

It’s near spring and this year has been busy so far but we are very pleased to be back with our readers. In this article, Christelle Pellecuer, expert make-up artist with tremendous experience and high many high profile clients and events across the UK shares her experience as a make-up artist and lessons she learnt along the way 

Did you know? –  In 2015 alone, the beauty industry generated $56.2 billion in the United States, with hair and skincare growing very fast and projected to generate revenues of near $11 billion by 2018.

Christelle was born in Madagascar, raised in South of France and now lives in the UK. Christelle has been working as a makeup artist specialised in the fashion and editorial since 2010. Christelle has worked on many different aspects of the fashion industry including music videos, TV shows, magazine shoots, product launch and fashion shows. Her work has been published in several magazines for example The Resident, a South West London magazine.

#CareerChat – 4 Ways to Kickstart your Productivity in 2017!

productivityHappy New Year! It’s the second week of January and we are;
on our detox diets, #wholefoodchallenge, cringing when we look at our credit card statement, waiting for a treadmill at the gym (give it a few weeks) etc. We are also being bombarded by a plethora of adverts about the latest books, articles, podcasts etc. teaching us how we can lose weight, get a better job, find love etc. in 2017!
In the spirit of our tradition in the Hub of starting every year on a reflective note, I started thinking about how I would like 1 January 2018 to look like. Then I worked back to what I would need to get done in 2017 to ensure I hit my target(s). This ‘Beginning with the end in mind’ exercise was a great reminder that to have different outcomes in 2017, I would need to do things differently. In the words of Maya Angelou, ‘Do the best you can until you know better, then when you know better, do better.‘ In this article, I’ll share four things I am determined to do differently in 2017.
1-computernotepad‘Not resolutions but determinations!‘ – I have no problems with making resolutions at the beginning of the New Year because it indicates at least an exercise in reflection! I didn’t make any resolutions this year because sometimes my list of resolutions ends up looking like a wish list. I decided to change my verb from ‘resolve’ to ‘determine.’ If you have a list of resolutions, try adding ‘I am determined to…’ in front of every action. Making it personal is a reminder that we have an important responsibility in ensuring we get the outcomes we want.
How many people start each year with a resolution to find another job? If January 3 was a tough day for you because it took everything to drag yourself out of bed to a job you hate, why not make 2017 the ‘I am determined to get a new job’ year. There is a way using the word ‘determined’ forces one to set realistic goals. Make a list of 3 things you are determined to do this year and set at least two Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound goals underneath them.
For example, for someone determined to start a new job in 2017, some goals could be,
a. Update CV and LinkedIn profile by January 31 2017.
b. Upskill by attending x number of training workshops.
c. Send x number of job applications off each month.