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Academic in Progress has been facing an existential research dilemma recently. This dilemma can be simplified as: which comes first – chicken or egg?
3 Academics and 1 PhD Buddy (read: the most trusted PhD friend and sometimes a shoulder to cry on) have been consulted in the attempt to solve this dilemma, which the Academic in Progress lacks certainty to confidently address. Below are the outcomes of this consultation:

Academic 1: chicken comes first, full stop.
Academic 2: egg comes first (learned the hard way from personal experience)
Academic 3: chicken comes first (learned the hard way from personal experience)
PhD Buddy: egg comes first, full stop.

While it may appear that the above debate has been unhelpful in that it does not provide the necessary answers, several points that can inform the Academic in Progress’s decision making have been raised and will be applied in practice in the attempt to find a solution. The lack of a clear answer and of an agreement among the consulted subjects also indicates one of the challenges that individuals face in developing their academic personae, i.e. finding what works for you and dealing with uncertainty where there is no one clear answer.

May the good decision making forces be with me.