I am in the fourth year of a part-time PhD. I have at least another couple of years left, the next two years are for writing up and this year was supposed to be for data collection.
I hit problems with research and data collection because of COVID, a lot of us did. But one of the things that has come to my realisation is that it is my supervisor who chiefly hindered my progress.
I cannot blame her for this, she is just doing her job and she is very respected in her field. I do like her. The main problems came in November 2020. I had a tutorial and I said, "I want to do X this way", she came back with "why don't you do it this other way?" I initially agreed but then, a few hours after the tutorial, I felt like the wind had been taken out of my sails. I didn't know it at the time, or understand it, but she had totally killed my enthusiasm, not only for the piece I was working on, but for the project. This has been going on since November and I have found it very hard to produce anything. In fact I haven't written anything since November apart from one piece.
The crunch time came a few days ago. I wrote a paper plan for her, something that I was interested and intrigued to get on with. The same thing happened again, she wrote back and said, "this is too broad, remove this [very interesting] part and focus on this [not so interesting but practical] part". Try as I might I could not muster the enthusiasm to continue and the paper has been shelved.
I had a discussion with her yesterday and we have agreed for me to take three months off. It occurred to me after our talk yesterday that the problem is that I am not given enough freedom to do my work how I want. YES she is the supervisor, and I am here to learn, I understand that, but this is not working for me this way. I now have three months 'off' but I am thinking of not not doing any work but doing things how I want to do them: I have enthusiasm again for the PhD and am starting to get filled with ideas. I have a research blog which I haven't updated for months because she wanted to vet anything I put on there, but, I asked her yesterday if I can put things up there ANYWAY in the next few months regardless of her input and she said yes.
I am worried that, after these three months, I will have put entries on the blog - much of the content/themes of which I want to put in the final thesis - but we will just go back to doing things the old way and she will say a lot of the stuff I wrote isn't that relevant and she will want me to focus on authors I am not interested in and for me to remove ideas I had.
How do I explain I need more freedom and her management style/suggestions are not working for me? Or should I not say that at all? I respect her and want to put this point across in the best way. Or do I just do three months of work my way and then, when she sees how effective a more hands-off approach is, she will agree to do things that way?