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Tell us a bit about yourself (who you are and where you are from)
My name is Tim Clark; I’m a student on the Ed.D programme. I live in Bristol with my partner and three children and I work full time as the Head of Family Services for an organisation called the Southville Community Development Association.  We are a charity and social enterprise, working to develop and facilitate projects and services to improve quality of life and wellbeing of people across the local community. My work involves co ordinating and developing a range of services from early years provision through to projects to address loneliness and isolation for older people. 
What inspired you to do doctoral work?
I’ve always been quite ambitious and, if I’m honest, I think embarking on the Ed.D was really about wanting to challenge myself. I hadn’t previously completed a Masters Degree, but given the flexibility with the entry requirements, I decided that I’d apply and let the university be the ones to decide whether I was up to it! I was a little surprised when I was offered a place, but it also provided a great source of motivation for me. 
What is your research about?
My research is about the methodological assumptions and journeys of researchers themselves. I am interested in the idea of the researcher as philosopher and exploring perceptions of how individual ontological, epistemological and subsequent methodological assumptions may be socially constructed.  I intend to use collective biography and life history approaches and have an interest in the role of reflexivity in research. 
Why did you choose Reading University?
I was first involved with the University of Reading in 2010 when I did some work as an Assessor for the Early Years Professional Status programme.  In 2011 when I started to look at the opportunities available for further study, I contacted Geoff Taggart who suggested I consider the Ed.D programme. The varying entry requirements of the universities I was considering effectively left me with the option of either studying for a Masters Degree locally, or travelling to Reading for the Ed.D.  My enthusiasm for the challenge and my existing positive impressions of the university meant that this wasn’t a very difficult decision to make! 
What aspect of your doctoral studies (so far) are you most proud of accomplishing?
Studying alongside a demanding professional role, whilst having three young children has been quite tough at times, so firstly I’m proud just to have passed Part A! I’m also pleased with the standard of work I’ve produced, and I think that both in terms of confidence and ability the journey I’ve been on over the past two years has placed me in a really strong position for my thesis. 
What tips would you give to other students?
1. For part time students in particular; make time to talk with others about your work, especially if you reach a difficult point or decision. Often I found that explaining an issue to someone, or better still trying to verbalise the potential justification for a decision, methodology, argument or approach, would progress my own thinking, even if the other person didn’t actually have any suggestions or ideas. I often find opportunities for discussions with contacts through my professional role, but also with other students or teaching staff involved with the programme. 
2. If you’re struggling with writing, then stop and do more reading. The worst moments for me over the past 2 years were when I sat down to write and 2 hours later had fewer words than when I started! I found that if having made these attempts, I then returned to more reading I’d usually find a way forward quite quickly. 
On a scale of 1 to 10 (best) how would you rate your student experience at the IoE?
I think this programme has been a great fit for me. I’ve really enjoyed the taught sessions, it’s (just about!) manageable alongside my other commitments, I’ve found it really useful to be part of a consistent cohort for the first two years, and I’ve really enjoyed coming to Reading for the study weekends. For those reasons I’d give it a 9 without hesitation!