Thursday, 13 August 2009

JISC Study - PhD blogging

As a PhD student beginning in 2008 or 2009 and born somewhere between 1982 and 1994 I'm able to participate in a "groundbreaking 3-year study of the information-seeking and research behaviours of 'Generation Y' doctoral students". The Researchers of Tomorrow study is being commissioned by The British Library and the Joint Information Systems Committee and is being conducted by Education for Change.

The study's only just got going and one of the things they've asked us to do is keep a blog on their site tracking out PhD and how we go through it. This week they've posted a specific blog request and I figured I'd copy my responses in here too. The post is possibly a bit grumpier than it needed to be, I hate not knowing what I'm doing (the lack of real things to do has been quite useful for progressing on Brownies and wedding stuff though).
This week’s blog request…

We are keen to hear more from you on where you are right now in your doctoral journey."
So where am I? I'm coming to the end of the first year of my PhD and at this precise moment it all seems a bit up in the air. During the year I've worked on two or three projects all, in some way, vaguely related to what my PhD topic might be or, at least, what we thought it was when I applied.

On the plus side, I've had one paper published, I've attended a conference, participated in a Summer Spring school for my area of research, and I've worked on a project at an internationally renowned university other than my own. On the not so good side, I don't quite know where I'm going...
"What stage in your research are you at currently? Can you select one of the following to describe your present activities?"
My present activities probably best fit under ideas generation, with a sprinkling of background work and some preparing and organising.1

This particular week falls a bit into no man's land. I've just finished some work out in the US and we haven't yet worked out what's next now I'm back home (plus everyone's on holiday or going on holiday so there's not much chance of an immediate decision). Having spend the first half of the week frustrated, I think I'm going to spend the rest of today reading whatever papers I can find that might relate and that interest me - at least that should turn out to be sort of useful.1


1The full list of options was: ideas generation, background work, preparing and organising, analysing, writing or creating, dissemination of your research, none of these – please describe.

2Some of the papers I plan to read have been pulled from recent posts on Albrecht's blog, particularly this post about his Summer school reading.

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