Normally I blog about things relating directly to my PhD. However, this blog post is a little different. It’s not different in being about social things surrounding my PhD, it’s different because it’s about research done outside of the PhD as part of finishing up the research internship I started before moving up North to Edinburgh.
It was back sometime earlier in 2016 when the decision was made to pursue a collaboration different to what we had already considered. As part of my initial internship plans, the idea of two publications or two outputs was not set in stone but it was something that my supervisor / mentor (Dr. Jeske) and I had in mind.
My internship supervisor introduced me to Ruoyun Lin, a PhD student doing her research into the psychological effects of social media use. This was great. We both were part of research groups with similar research interests. More importantly, we both had data from other research projects that we had worked on with Dr Jeske and this data had not been analysed. From this, the decision was made to combine two research studies into one as the themes overlapped and worked well as a pair. Combing the results of two research studies started our journey to writing a paper together and to search for a place to submit it.
Not long after deciding this, I got an email about a conference taking place in September (which coincidently had a call for papers out). My former internship supervisor and Ruoyun had chatted about the conference and decided it might just be the perfect place to submit. I agreed with their suggestions and we began working on the paper with a full paper conference submission in mind.
The conference took place at the School of Management (Swansea University) in September 2016 with the theme of ‘Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!’ This seemed like a perfect fit for our paper which looked at the benefits of using role models on social media and you can see more about what the paper is about here:
The current paper examined three research questions. First, what are the perceived benefits for social network users who have role models online? Second, to what extent does having role models online influence one’s self-presentation on social media? And finally, are users who expect more in return (greater reciprocity) more likely to have role models on social media? Using two opportunity survey samples and exploratory analyses, study 1 (N = 236) demonstrated that having role models was associated with greater perceived support for one’s career aspirations, and perceived access to information. The results of study 2 (N = 192) revealed that participants who had role models online reported that their online profile presented a more realistic self-presentation of values and priorities, as well as having higher reciprocity expectation.
We submitted the paper and found out in May that it had been accepted to the conference. I think we were all pleased knowing how much work we had put in and how much time the preparation had taken. Both my co-authors had both expressed interest in presenting the paper in Swansea. Unfortunately, due to external conference and academic commitments, I was not able to do so this time. I was a little disappointed about this but knew that my colleagues would do a great job and was happy to help out with presentation preparation when needed. I’m pleased this worked out in the end.
Feedback from Dr Jeske and Ruoyun was really good and they felt the presentation has gone well. Following the presentation, a number of colleagues at the conference expressed an interest in our work. The paper therefore helped us to start new conversations about research interests. For me, I like the idea that the paper started up conversations. It means it says that people responded positively and that interest was generated from the talk.
I was told of the biggest delight on the last evening of conference paper presentations, news I was overjoyed to hear:
OUR PAPER WAS NOMINATED FOR THE BEST PAPER AWARD AT THE I3E2016
… and I am still smiling about this now! 🙂
From my perspective, joint collaborations are helpful in a number of ways. Firstly, there are lots of people with similar research interests. You just need to go and find them. Joint collaborations enable researchers to learn how to work in team with people they may have never met previously. Secondly, it’s really beneficial to a PhD student’s development if they can get some multidisciplinary work under their belt. I know my PhD is technically multidisciplinary but the work with my two co-authors on this conference paper has taken this to a new level. Here is a list of learning outcomes: I have learned so much about working as a team and how people from different institutions can bring different knowledge to the project, and this helps to make research more appealing so we can work to get it published. I have also learned how to (politely) critique written work and get feedback on my own. This has not only helped my own writing style but supported my own development in making sure I present my own feedback in an appropriate and non-abrupt manner. I think most important of all, I have learned one more thing: I have learned that no matter what institution you are based at and whichever research group you are in, collaborating with others outside of this context is great for many things. For me these have been increasing confidence, reflective practice and also feedback on work you are doing both in and out of the PhD.
I also found out that there are benefits of searching for and responding to calls for papers. Searching for them means you are exploring all options in terms of disseminating your research. Quite often, the call for paper has both full and short papers available so at any stage of the research there may be the opportunity for each. Particularly helpful are doctoral symposia which are part of many national and international conferences. If this is not the case, sometimes poster presentations are good options – just like my presentation for ISIC 2016. Either way, attending conferences where you present your work means that you can chat to academics in the field and gain insight into research practise outside of your research context. Similarly, talking to academics who get to know your work can help you to access more support in terms of advice and guidance on parts of your research that you may have questions on.
If you submit for a call for paper, it benefits your research as you have a deadline to write a certain paper altogether. Quite often students potter on with papers but do not submit these if there is not a set deadline. Working towards deadlines (or responding to set deadlines) ensures students can manage their time effectively and learn how to plan and anticipate their research better over time. Had we not found the I3E call for papers, we may have had to wait for an appropriate call for papers in the future and we may have had to search in more detail for outlets elsewhere. As a consequence of finding the I3E call for papers we were able to make a great collaboration paper out of two projects that were otherwise separate.
Jenkins, L., Lin, R., & Jeske, D. (2016). Influences and benefits of role models on social media. In Y.K. Dwivedi et al. (Eds.): I3E 2016 Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Ch. 60, pp. 673-684). Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) 9844. Springer: IFIP International Federation for Information Processing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-45234-0_60 (http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-45234-0_60)