My interest in the “23 Things programme”

Malo e lelei. My name is Dave Fa’avae and I am a doctoral student in Te Puna Waananga at the University of Auckland’s School of Education.

I like the “23 Things programme” because not only does it show us how to use social media tools but it also teaches us of the possible impacts of social media on our doctoral journeys.

I’d like to think that I am pretty up-to-date with technology and social media but the truth is, I’m not! Rarely do I use and engage with a variety of social media tools. Just because I use facebook and instagram on average 4 days a week, does not necessarily mean that I’m confident with social media. The level that I operate with these tools, I think is still at the basic stage.

I have just managed to create a blog and that wasn’t easy! Now here is a space that I can share about my research journey, thoughts, ideas, and concerns with other doctoral students. The first blog that I read (as part of Thing 5) was by Inez Von Weitershausen, a PhD student at the London School of Economics, talks about the PhD as being a book that you’re writing which nobody will read. Through the “ThesisWhisperer” blog, I was able to understand some of the concerns involved with the PhD journey, and gives advice on how to deal with such matters.

Have enjoyed the “Thing” tasks so far.

Malo ‘aupito.

Tu’a ‘ofa atu.


What to do first – ethics or proposal?

It took me about 6-7 months to complete the full research proposal. After several iterations of the research proposal, I was then able to attempt the ethics application. When I spoke with other doctoral students about which to do first, the proposal or the ethics, there was a variety in students’ responses. What worked well for me was the writing up of the proposal before I even looked at the ethics application. If i had started on the ethics application first, I would have struggled even more to complete the proposal. Having finished the proposal, many feedback sessions with my supervisors, and 4 iterations later, I not only completed and submitted the proposal but two weeks later, I submitted the online ethics application and attached all the supporting documents that were required.
Starting with ethics before the proposal may work for other people, however, I know for sure that this would not have worked for me.