I participated in the open evening virtual event at Wolverhampton University where I talked to the same person who answered my initial email. He seemed quite approachable and gave me his contact information. So I filled out the expression of interest form, which seems to be a sort of cut down version of the PG research application form. The research statement is limited to 1500 words but when I pasted in my text, which was slightly longer, it did not error out.
I sent a longer, more complete one to the research tutor who I chatted with at the virtual event, however I am not a 100% happy with the research statement that I submitted. I am not sure it really adds up in its logic. But for now I think it is ok and I will see what the response is. If it is positive I might withdraw from the LLM and work on the research proposal. If not, I will discard the PhD idea in sociology once and for all
The reason why I am interested in this research is that it seems as if current career research does not consider the influence of women’s perceptions of themselves as an important factor in their employment decisions. I know there is an acknowledgement of the double burden of caring responsibilities and how child bearing influences a woman’s career but I think even these events only become triggers for certain behaviours when the identity of being a mother or carer is regarded as salient. Therefore I think that questions that explore career success, aspirations and work motivation need to be accompanied by questions that ask how the woman sees herself and what her primary identity is.
I also think that social identity is another factor in employment decision making and even the experience of work. We define ourselves in relation to others, so the question would be to what extent the external environment shapes the work experience and behaviour – this is where I think identity work and identity regulation could be worth exploring although this would probably be something for the interviews that follow the survey and would attempt to verify the survey findings.