If ever our five researchers were to meet one day and the conversation happened to turn to research in general, and to their experiences in particular, they would find they had faced many similar but also many different high and low points at various stages of their MEd or PhD. During the course of their voyages of discovery, they learnt a great deal. All made some mistakes but they learnt from them and it's unlikely they will ever make the same ones again. We say 'unlikely' because we've never known any researchers who can really claim never to have made the same mistakes twice. These things happen. We all say they will never happen again and, at the time, we mean it.
Only Jan was researching full-time, and it would have been very difficult to have undertaken her ethnographic topic as a part-timer. The other four were studying part-time, had full-time jobs and were studying at a distance. Fortunately, they all had experienced and supportive supervisors. Helen was only 50 or so miles away from her supervisor but Gilbert, Cher Ping and Tim were on the other side of the world from where they were registered for their degree. With e-mail, it may seem immaterial where students are based. All five were able to draw on the resources of their own university, local library or polytechnic but, as Tim rather sadly remembers, it's not the same as being there. You