Top of page
Global Site Navigation

Research Week

Local Section Navigation

Help us improve our content by rating this page.

Page rating system

Please tell us why your content rating for this page is low.
If you'd rather not, just click Submit.

You are here:
ECU is currently converting this web content to a more mobile friendly format. If you find the content below is not formatting correctly during this transition please view on desktop browser.
Main Content

Nathalie Collins

Lecturer, Marketing

Faculty of Regional Professional Studies


Slowing down and enhancing critical thought

"Wax on, wax off": Research as a meditative practice

I was initially drawn to research by a combination of the challenge and the opportunity of finding my charismatic and responsive supervisor. I had worked with him on my Master's Degree, and a research component within the degree. Research wasn't as straightforward as coursework and, in fact, it was a whole other culture. My supervisor was an experienced researcher with international contacts and a publishing record which is long and varied. He had enthusiasm for my quirky side and I didn't drive him crazy.

My nature is to move quickly and directly to an outcome. I am a multi-tasker extraordinaire. Juggling is what I do best. Moving fast is my speciality - jump in first, ask questions later. I am rewarded for this in my personal and professional life. People tend to like results, and they like them now, and I can deliver. Pretty soon my life is racing around me in a constant swirl of ideas, projects, outcomes and excitement.

But at the hub of all this activity, I have realised a few things. One: I am a better practitioner in my field if I can understand and critically assess the research of others, and embark on research myself. Two: I need to slow down - to think and to consider. I need to engage in a process which cannot be concluded quickly, where I am not experienced, and where I am humbled by the experience of others.

Research has given me the opportunities to explore a different side of myself. Research has allowed me to flex muscles which are weak from years of study and practice that require similar skills and knowledge. I wanted to stretch and be forced to do something slowly, something hard, something that would make me a better critical thinker. I wanted to do something that would make me better at my job, something which is a socially acceptable and not boring, and something that has small tasks which add up to a larger picture.

Often I feel like Ralph Macchio in the "Karate Kid" movie. I am diligently waxing cars, under the guidance of a strict master. The work is hard and slow, but when everything clicks into place I will be able to rise from the meditative practice and flex new, big research muscles. I can't wait.

Skip to top of page