November is upon us which turns my thoughts towards my birthday, Christmas… and my end of year report. I find it hard to believe I’m nearing the end of my third year – I’m past halfway on the project and in naive moments I catch myself thinking ‘only 20 interviews to do and writing up, and I’ll be done.’ (Cue evil laughter from, well, anyone involved in doctoral research).

Happily my 3rd year report has pretty much written itself this year. I’ve made what feels like good progress: I’ve got interesting numbers from the content analysis of church websites. I’ve got interesting data on the number of churches with or without websites. I’ve got some great comments from pilot interviews.

This year, too, I’ve attended a couple of conferences which have helped me feel connected to the rest of the research community helping my PhD feel like a real project rather than just something to idle away wet weekend afternoons.

And I’ve learned to live with a never-ending to-do list. Living with the feeling that as one task is completed, two more spring up to take its place, and that there are surely more than 168 hours in the week if I just keep looking hard enough!

So, the formal end of year report will document the methods, the preliminary results, the training, the corrections made and the contacts nurtured. But perhaps the real progress has been in making that sustained effort over the marathon distance.