Inspired by YouTube

26 April 2012


I had a moment of true YouTube happiness yesterday!   (Maybe I am a bit slow to catch up on that, but still, for me it was an inspiring discovery. So if you already appreciate YouTube as a great source for academic knowledge you need read no further, unless  you  like reading our blog …).

I am in the midst of writing my PhD proposal. For anybody who has never done that sort of thing, I can assure you it’s a pain in the neck. You go through the motions of asking yourself WHY on earth you bring this kind of thing onto yourself and HOW your brain can go so fuzzy with information-cramming.

Some of the questions I have been asking myself in the past few days are:

  • Is my brain not working properly?
  • Is this normal?
  • Isn’t there better (more fun) stuff to do in life?

The answer to all these questions is probably ‘yes’. Still, I am plodding on, because after all it’s interesting and fascinating to immerse yourself deeply into a topic. You read, for example, a paper on methodological issues, and  and universe after universe of discussion, topics and controversies opens up. Fascinating, mind blowing and, above all, time consuming…

But let me talk about YouTube. I have to date used YouTube mostly to entertain myself with cute cat videos, music clips, Monty Python sketches, or plain rubbish, but yesterday, I discovered it as a source to supplement my academic learning. You see, I am much better at processing information that I hear,  than taking on board stuff that I read.  Still, recently, I have read stacks of papers on epistemological approaches and I got awfully confused with some philosophical concepts. Sometimes things are just too complicated for my tiny brain…So out of despair (and a deep seated need to be entertained by someone), I searched for videos about phenomenology on YouTube. And hey presto, I got lucky. I found a whole series of lectures on qualitative research held by an excellent lecturer. And now I am hooked. Instead of looking to facebook for distraction (yeah, I know I previously said that don’t  like FB… but times are desperate)I try to get a break from writing and reading by watching lectures. Only  today I found a whole series of relevant approx. 90-minute lectures published on YouTube by Stanford University. I think this is awesome! For someone like me who is working on a project far away from my supervisors, this kind of input is incredibly valuable.

So I am now a happy bunny who has shed a hitherto held belief that the long distance between me and my Uni means I am a bit unfortunate, because I can pick and choose lectures from brilliant institutions and lecturers, I can design my own programme of study and get inspired by a whole bunch of brilliant academics from around the world. Wow.


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