This time next week I will be travelling to the Information Seeking in Context (ISIC) conference held in Zadar, Croatia. It is hosted by the University of Zadar and I will heading to the conference with three of the other PhD students in our research centre – Frances, Iris and John. This is my first international conference, one which I hope has its benefits to my research and my own academic development.
I’m quite looking forward to attending the conference as I will have the opportunity to discuss my research with other doctoral students in the doctoral workshop the day before the official conference begins. This will give me the opportunity to talk about challenges I have faced with my research and get some advice from fellow PhD students and academics in the field. There are two main challenges I plan to discuss and these are:
- Developing a theoretical framework for such a multidisciplinary project like my PhD
- Managing relationships with a sponsor who requests actionable recommendations as an output of the PhD study
I have some ideas about how I am going to talk about this and we have provided some supplementary information to the conference committee already. However, I am very much looking forward to seeing how other individuals would approach the above problems to see if: (1) I am heading in the right direction and; (2) whether there are any changes or improvements I could make. At the doctoral workshop, there will be a variety of students form different academic backgrounds. Therefore I am hoping that the workshop will help me to discuss my research with academics in the field and bring back some information and advice to Edinburgh about what I have learned from the workshop that day.
On the second day of the conference I will be presenting a poster on my PhD thesis topic. Again, I will have the opportunity to discuss my research with other students, but this time there will be other academic delegates there too. This will provide me with good grounds for talking about my research in a more formal setting and receive questions on what it is that I am doing. I’m hoping to meet the academic who wrote a book chapter about my theoretical framework and question its relevance to my research. I have been told that this academic will be at the conference! I’m also hoping that I can chat about my methods and how these will be used to explore my research questions, but who knows? I don’t know what questions I may get asked but as you can see form a previous blog post I have been able to talk about my research before.
I still have problems with my confidence when speaking in front of others, mainly as I think it will all go horribly wrong. I did, however, prove myself (half) wrong earlier in the year at iDocQ. I think my main problem appears when I need to speak in front of other academics in case they criticise what I am saying and not the research itself. I don’t really have a problem with talking in front of others about other stuff, and I have managed to chair a couple of student-led conference sessions during the year. But my fears will be tested during this conference as I have two ‘one minute madness’ presentations to deliver. Fair enough they are only one minute each, and that means I am not speaking for long, but it’s still quite nerve racking and I fear that I will be hit by stage fright the moment I start to speak.
Overall, there is not a lot I can tell you about the conference just yet as I am not actually there yet. However, I will be tweeting a lot from the conference and Croatia itself so I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say when I get back. I am going to the conference armed with my little business cards and have updated ALL of my online profiles so hopefully these will come in handy when talking to others and chatting about our research interests!