I was able to take some leave from my Scottish Government internship and attend iDocQ this year. iDocQ is a great way for information science PhD students to network, present their work and get to know others in the field. In its eighth year, iDocQ was held at Edinburgh Napier on May 3rd 2018 and we had a blast. This blog post is just a short overview of the colloquium and some of my own reflections on the day.
The programme for the day was wonderful. There were ice breaker activities, presentations and workshops for us all to enjoy. Our ice breaker for the day saw us creating a ‘brain’ figure out of paper pictures and making up a story of his/her life and the PhD related issue they faced. In our group, we created Alex, a PhD student who needed help with writing – quite fitting considering the PhD stage I am at.
We then heard from our keynote speaker, Professor Brian Detlor from McMaster University who spoke about his digital storytelling work. You can find a copy of this slides here. It was interesting to see how his methods have been deployed and to hear about the research he has done. I must be honest his research area is not something I have been interested in in the past but it is definitely something I will be looking into soon!
Brian’s presentation was then followed by a series of student presentations, 20×20 format presentations to be precise. There were six of us students presenting before lunch and there was a good mix of research interests in the bag. I must admit that my presentation was not the best given that it was rushed in preparation and I did not have much time to run through either (we shall blame the internship!). A copy of my slides can be found here and you can also see slides from the other presenters here too. Bruce Ryan was also wonderful and created a video of presentations. Many thanks to Bruce for doing this. Mine can be found here. Admittedly, I was more pleased that I introduced myself with the correct name and not my maiden name as I feared that I may do. However, I was pleased that I managed to present my work as it has been a while since I have done so and it is sometime us PhD students tend to forget we need to do (every now and then). I won’t go into too much detail about presentations and preparation but one of our PhD students, Frances Ryan, has given a lovely overview of the 20×20 presentation and you can see this information on her own PhD blog post – 12 tips for a 20×20.
Our afternoon workshops were just as good and even better that they were relevant too. We participated in a writing workshop delivered by Grainne Barkess, our Leader of Researcher Development, who talked about writing techniques to keep us going and things we can do to keep us writing. This was a particularly interesting session for me as I am current yin the process of wiring my internship report, something very different to that done in academics. That being said, I will return to my PhD at the end of June and I will be I writing mode form then on so I am hoping that this workshop and my internship work act as a bit of a motivation when I myself ned to keep writing until I submit.
We then heard from Dawn Smith, Napier’s Public Engagement Officer, who talked to us about engaging with and present our work. We were given some handy hints and tips on how to make this work, some do’s and don’ts so that we can consider these when we next present. This workshop was particularly fitting given that I have four presentations to deliver in the near future and I often feel the nerves. I just wish that I had had this type of training early on in my PhD so that I could have prepared myself for what was to come.
Our final workshop of the day was on the topic of mental wellbeing in the PhD, or in research. Two of Napier’s Mental Health Advisers, Angus and Leah. References were made to the techniques we could consider to keep maintain a good level of wellbeing even when things get tough. They both made reference to a couple of blog posts that I had written whilst in their ‘care’ and training sessions and the links to the blog posts are here and here.
We finally had a panel Q&A session where students asked questions about all things PhD. We had plenty of questions on the topic of careers, literature reviewing, saying no to your supervisor and much much more. We did run out of tie for any final questions but this is just because the day was great and we were having too much fun to fit it all in.
Overall, a huge thank you to Dr Laura Muir and the local organising committee (Dr Bruce Ryan and Alicja Pawluczuk). Also thank you to the rest of the organising committee – I do not have links for you all but you can find information on the picture of the programme below.