It’s OK not to be OK!

bannerToday is world Mental Health Day 2017. I only found this out when I was on twitter and saw people using the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay2017 – funny that (not particularly)!

Anyway, my university has advertised some events to help celebrate this, raise money and knowledge share but I still think this is a problem within the PhD community everywhere which is under-addressed and quite often ignored.

Mental-Health1You may recall that quite a long while ago I attended a workshop on stress control and for me, in my as a first year PhD student, this provided to be absolutely valuable. Many students don’t realise that stress can be the root cause of mental health concerns, and that when stress or triggers of stress are not address, mental health will probably suffer. Students quite often start by feeling in control and then it’s when the work builds up, you get feedback and start to feel a little down that this cycle can start. When it hit me, I found that I was often just sitting in my office with far too much to do in one day and often I was just think ‘what the hell am I doing here?’. I decided to buy myself a ‘to-do’ list book so that I could note down the larger and smaller task I have/had to do. For me, this helped me to prioritise and see what I was actually needing to do. Quite often, my list would be large and then be small within an hour. The minor things looked like big tasks until I compared them to everything else I needed to do and I learned a little trick in the long run. When you have your daily / weekly to-do list, select only two or three things to complete that day. Make time for tasks manageable (i.e. don’t say you’ll write a whole methods chapter in a day!) and make sure the time you give yourself to complete tasks is appropriate too. That way, you can see your progress daily and not feel too overwhelmed with everything you need to do, or everything you have not done. I often found that Monday mornings were the worst, coming back to the office after a weekend off and then looking at a list the length of my arm. Making a cup of tea and sitting down to prioritise first of all made sure that I did not jump straight into work and also having my to-do list handy when looking through my emails meant I could keep track of important things to do and things that could be put on hold for now. Things have changed more recently as I now teach first thing on a Monday morning so my morning is not full of worry and stress – its full of nice students to teach!

I also wrote a blog nearly two years ago now (jeeeez!) about mental health in the PhD and things that can help. I wrote this blog after suffering a massive round of homesickness when I first moved to Edinburgh as it was my first time moving away from home. I then got poorly and that spiralled into me thinking I could not do the PhD and that I was not good enough to be there, and I had to ask for help. Quite often students do feel a little out of sorts and they may need help from time to time. It might be that cycle of negative thinking starts and the students can’t see how to get out of it. For me, I kept looking back on things that had happened pre-PhD and could not see my road or route ahead. I had literally just started the PhD so was in the literature review phases and I had not yet realised how important that initial phase was. I did not know that this part of the PhD helps to set the foundations to knowledge and helps with skills in searching too. Doing this ‘year of literature review’ type thing then helps to set the grounds for the methods you use and the techniques you will use but at that point in time I could not see this. I could see all of the literature I still had to search and I could see all of the analysis not yet done. I could also see all of the other students around me collecting data, going to conferences and doing other things ‘better than me’. I quite often put the other students on a pedestal and compared myself against them massively. At that time I did not realise (I knew, but did not process this information) that they were months ahead of me and that their progression was for their part of the PhD and I had not even reached that time stage yet. To help me out a little in this instance, I tried not to compare myself to others. The worst thing you can do is compare yourself to others. This was not easy when applying for funding that I did not get (and somebody else did), and when I was trying to plan my route for the next two and a half years, but I tried. I started to ask for help and advice from other students and found they were more than happy to help. I was then able to tell them what was worrying me and making me struggle and most of the other students had also had the same concerns too. I then started to get into the phases of PhD research that other students were in… the annual review, secondary data analysis and planning out my empirical work. I think some good advice I was given was when I was told that PhD students should embrace the phase they are in but also ask for help when they get stuck. Whether it is enjoyable, easy, fun or not, keep going at what you are doing and seek advice from as many people as you can. The more advice you get form others the more likely you are to succeed (whatever success means to you).

One day, when I was having a moment, I got talking to a staff member. This staff member kind of highlighted a point that PhD students often forget. The process of applying for a PhD is quite rigorous in itself and universities only choose the best. Therefore by the time you have got to the PhD stage itself, you have already been vetted, referenced and chosen for your skills, abilities and experiences, so you have already achieved something amazing to get where you are in the first place. 

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I also found that my supervisor was a good point of contact when I felt that I had not achieved a thing. She is really good at being blunt and telling me all of the good stuff I have done and I would hope that (by now) she knows I don’t often accept positive with a smile! I often don’t see that I am doing well or even what good things I have done and my supervisor is good at telling me all of these things so that I process the information and see what I have done. Quite nicely, she tends to do this when I’m feeling a bit miserable, when I’m bogged down with work or when I’m feeling frustrated at things not going right and this makes me take a step back, take a breath and have a bit of a reality check that things are not as bad as I think. I also know what my supervisor talks about her students a lot, to everyone (the good stud, achievements I mean!). This makes me smile knowing this as people done talk about good things unless they are proud of them – I think my supervisor is proud of us all. She’s one of the only ones in our department who tells the world and blogs when her students do well and when her students achieve something fab and I think this makes a huge difference overall.

Supervisors also know that sometimes s*** happens and this can interfere with your PhD. For example, earlier this year my Grandma passed away and although this was not unexpected, I needed time off to travel home for her funeral. This time happened to awkwardly coincide with a trip some of the PhD students had planned, yet the decision to take this time off my PhD was not questioned at all. It was supported by supervisors, directors of research and the staff member in charge of PhD students in our school. Supervisors and staff know there are sometimes priorities over the PhD and that sometimes those priorities need to be dealt with first in order for the student and the PhD to flourish.

doctoral studentSometimes the s*** that gets in the way of the PhD can be things that are completely uncontrollable. Other examples can be ill-health, family concerns and even just needing to take a break. Taking time off for these types of things is okay too. One thing I have noticed is that PhD students (in general – not making any assumptions here) don’t take time for themselves, and this is something I try to do. I try to take a holiday every now and then so that I can rest, relax and be away from the PhD. I know that if I start to feel really overworked my productivity will slump. This happens almost every time the week before I go on annual leave where I reach the point to which I need a break – this is okay to! I also know that if I am unwell and I don’t take a break, I make myself worse. This was exemplified (accidently!) by a hospitalisation early this year when I had had a virus which had not gone away. I had not rested when stating to feel very not myself and then was hospitalised due to the consequences of this getting painful very quick. That s*** is what makes every student journey different in every single way and it is that s*** that can cause students to crumble and need help more than they may realise.

But I am now in my third and final year of my PhD. I have already panicked about the lack of job prospects once I submit, what I will do come September 2018 and how on earth I am going to get everything completed in the next 355 days! This will inevitably lead to me freaking out from now until the end of my PhD and inevitably lead to me crying my eyes out one day saying I can’t do this and saying how much I don’t want to be here. This is fine. This is okay!

I know the journey for PhD students is different for everyone and the issues faced by students are their own – and I’m not saying dealing with a PhD is easy. But I also know that I have had my own fair share of pain in my journey so far and I sure there will be more to come. The main thing to remember is that…

#ItsOkNotToBeOk

This blogpost is dedicated to Elizabeth Jenkins (Grandma Betty) who sadly passed away earlier this year after suffering from a major stroke. I will always remember the time I walked into your care home and you could not remember who people were, yet you asked me how my time in Edinburgh was going, and whether I could still see the hills from my window!

Images

http://www.rackham.umich.edu/blog/graduate-student-mental-health-matters

https://www.hypnotherapists.org.uk/7325/escalation-mental-health-issues-cause-concern/

https://www.rand.org/randeurope/research/health/mental-health-and-well-being.html

https://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-i-m-a-doctoral-student/

 

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Let’s keep writing for project PhD!

methods booksIt has been quite a while since I have blogged mainly as I have been very busy over the summer and following month. You may recall from a previous post that I was looking for a second case study. Well, I found one! This case study was quite unexpected, firstly because I had not contacted this organisation before and secondly because it initially started with a social media introduction (and we all know how they usually end!).

My second case study does require a lot of paperwork to be done as my research needs to be approved by this organisation too, just like my other case study too. This is not uncommon in many cases as organisations like to know that the researcher (ie, me) will be able conduct their research in reasonable time, collect appropriate data and make sure nothing bad will come of the research. So I have spent most of my summer doing this. I have prepared review documents and other supporting documents. I have written about my research objectives, methods, justified methods and also considered implications of my research. I have pretty much written a research methods chapter in letterone but this has not been for the purpose of my chapter, just preparation for my research review. This has been a lengthy process but it is finally coming to an end. I have been able to get stage 1 of this process all sorted and stage 2 is being checked over for me to submit. Once this part is done, all I can do is wait. I need to wait to see if my research is deemed as suitable for the organisation and deemed suitable to go ahead. If all goes well, I can then start advertising my study in the hope participates get in touch to help me out.

article-writing.jpgApart from this very lengthy process, I have also been doing other things. All of these things have revolved around writing and revolved around editing too. Firstly, I have now copy edited two articles for Information Research. This means I have been able to see research in its very pre-publication stages and research which is ready to go. I have been able to take in a lot of information and learning from this process.

I have also been writing and editing my own journal article to submit along with my supervisors. You may remember that I presented a paper at a conference in June, well this is the paper being written. I have been able to draft it out and then send it to be edited (quite a lot – it needed it to be fair!) by my director of studies who managed to make it look fab. It has also been reviewed by my second supervisor too who was able to tell us what we had missed. It is good to get the opinions of my second supervisor as his expertise are not in the literature domain of the article we had drafted so he was able to spot some vital things that we had missed. As the deadline is the back end of this week, we are hoping this is done and sent off by then so we can have our very first journal article submitted (fingers crossed!).

IMG_4159As well as paperwork and journal writing, I have been trying to get some of my methods chapter written too. It’s really important that I get this done soon so that I can have a solid base for my work. I did do some form of methods writing for my RD5 review last August. This, however, this was just the start and now the work needs to step up and ‘beef up’ (ie, add more information so it looks like a good PhD chapter). I have had to draft out my chapter headings and then fill the gaps, something I do not find east to do. This has required a lot more reading than I had thought, and a lot more planning than I had anticipated but I am progressing fairly well on this. It has taken a while to find some decent materials (books, journals) for this chapter, but I have managed to get my hands on some books that are giving me the information I need… and then a lot more books to supplement this. So my life from now – until my case study 2 is approved –  will be writing of the methods chapter of my PhD. I do have my own deadline to work to and I do have other things I need to do…

Next on the list… qualitative data analysis! 🙂

Plans to visit Finland later this year…

TurkuYou may recall that I was awarded a John Campbell Trust Bursary earlier this year to help me with some of the practical elements of my PhD. With the bursary, I have decided to use the money toward a trip to Finland where I will be able to carry out come data collection for another case study in my PhD. From this, I will be able to explore whether an organisation in Finland works differently to the UK case studies I will be carrying out across England and Scotland on their workplace learning practices and how they support employees to innovate.

My trip is being ‘hosted’ by Åbo Akademi (university) in Finland and my main point of contact will be Professor Gunilla Widén from the School of Business and Economics. Professor Widén is currently working on a project very similar to mine but it explores information literacy in learning in the workplace rather than factors (including information) that support employees to learn in the workplace. Prior to submitting my application, Professor Widén agreed to be my host and to support me to find and access an organisation for my PhD case study in Finland. I am very much looking forward to this if we are able to successfully gain access as the application of my research to a case study eternal to the UK is something I have wane to do for a while (but finds have never permitted).

I have been working with our school office to help me book flights and accommodation for my trip, and to find something suitable for me to travel around Turku as needed. The only downside has been the time of year that I am flying – apparently December is not too great! I am therefore having to get six flights (three there and three back) during my visit to Turku travelling through Newcastle, Heathrow and Helsinki before getting to Turku then making my return trip to Edinburg.

Although the flights are not too convenient, I am looking forward to my visit and what Turku has in store for me. Whilst there, I will be visiting the school and department where Professor Widén is based and I will be able to present my research to academics who are slightly more international than me. I am hoping that the language barrier is not an issue, and that my accent holds up quite well. I fully understand that I will need to annunciate and make my speech clear but I also understand that my accent makes me who I am and I will not be changing the way I speak for anyone.

I do have some free time whilst I am there (I hope) so apart from keeping on top of my PhD work I will hopefully find some time to explore the local area whilst there. I already know there is a lot to see in Turku and I doubt I will have time to see anything too extravagant but I hope I can get out and about in the local area and see what Turku has to offer (that is after I have recovered from my 15 hour travel time from home to Turku!).

That being said, I do need to prepare for my trip and make sure everything is in place before I go both practically and emotionally too. I need to make sure I am able to push my PhD work aside for two weeks and just take with me things that I know I can get done That means, not taking lots and lots and lots of work to do and getting annoyed when I have little time, but taking things I know I can access whilst away and things that I can work on in small amounts. I also need to make sure I prepare for the weather as I have heard that Turku weather in December can be brutal. I will need to prepare for harsh conditions such as snow, wind, rain etc and make sure I have packed enough for my trip. I may need to see what winter clothes I have and invest in some more appropriate attire to keep me warm and dry. I have already carried out some google searches to help gather information on my location, conditions and my future trip! Next on my list to purchase is a travel kettle and a phrase book to help me fit in! 🙂

Image credits:

https://www.travellingbookjunkie.com/turku-finland/eurokartta1/

 

Summer tasks!

case_studySo this summer I have a lot of things to keep me going…

I had originally planned to have all data collected for case study 1 by now but this did not happen due to several delays. However, as of 10am today I can confirm that all of my data for case study 1 is collected and the remainder of this will be sent for transcription soon.

You may also remember that last in my last blog post, I explained about issues I was having with getting agreement from organisations and services as to whether they would like to take part in my case study. This has now (hopefully!) changed.

journal writing
Weekend journal writing

Apart from case study 1, I am in the process of going through an ethical procedure for case study 2 (who have agreed to be a case study organisation / service for my PhD) and I am also in contact with another company in the UK to see if we can come up with an agreement for participating in my study as case study 3. This is not set in stone yet and we are in the process of setting up a meeting to discuss this but things do look positive right now. I am also in the process of making travel arrangements to be able to carry out a case study in Finland. Whether this case study will be enough to go into the final thesis is another question but it will be a good experience for me to be able to sample an organisation in Finland and be able to make comparisons between UK and European organisations in the way they work.

RM writing
Research methods chapter prep

So data collection and arrangements are definitely in progress over the summer period.

Whilst doing that, I also have my methods chapter to write and a journal article to edit for the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. I am hoping my supervisor and I can submit this for the journal by September as it is the off-shot (or product) of the presentation I did whilst in Aberdeen a couple of months ago.

This means I have a lot to keep me busy over the summer… as well as making sure I take a little week off of course in the middle!

 

Image credits:

http://situationmanagementsystems.com/case-studies.php

 

Case study updates…

CASE STUDY.jpgAs part of my PhD, I am aiming to carry out two case studies of different organisations to explore the relationship between workplace learning and the development of innovative work behaviours. This involves asking employees about things in place to support their learning and how they (and other staff) learn.

I am happy to report that securing case study 1 was fairly easy but did not get off to a fab start. My data collection was delayed slightly, however, it picked up very quickly and I have progressed well. I have been able to organise 42 interviews and focus groups as part of case study 1 and I have 14 more left to carry out. Yes that means that 28 times I have explained my research and carried out interviews and focus groups galore and I am pleased it is going well. I’m hoping that in three weeks’ time I have all data collected for case study 1 and that I can begin analysing this ASAP. That is, if all of my plan actually go to plan! 🙂

Thank you to all of those people in case study 1 who have participated so far. Your interviews and focus groups have all been valuable and I appreciate every moment you took to respond!

Case study 2 has not been so easy to secure as this is taking a while to agree upon. I had an initial list or contacts who have all been contacted but very little response has come back.

This was a worry at first but it is something I prepared for as previous students have warned me of the problems they had. I have had some organisations and services interested in my research and I have some interest that I am definitely following up as these could lead to something fab! Now many organisations do not realise the benefits to them and some of these benefits are below:

(1)   The organisation would receive the collated case study data combined and would be presented with the ‘framework’ or factors influencing the relationship between workplace learning and innovative work behaviour (not the raw data or interview transcripts!) – they would be able to understand the learnings from my PhD in a way suitable to them;TALKING

(2)   The organisation would receive credit in the doctoral thesis (although this would be anonymised if published external to the PhD submission, unless otherwise requested);

(3)   The organisation would benefit from being able to incorporate external knowledge into its own practice on how innovation work behaviours may be developed within organisation and be able to assess their own needs against the framework or PhD results given;

(4)   The organisation would be able to incorporate knowledge form internationally collected data on innovation. This is because the data collection phases have had input form secondary data from across Europe (the initial PhD stages) which has helped to shape the interview and focus group questions asked to participants. This is also the case as the organisation would receive the learnings form my results (including a case study in Finland) – knowledge which often differs from that of the UK;

(5)   The organisation would be seen to support international academic research and support of researcher development in obtaining a PhD. This helps to foster the relationship between research and practice and show support from the organisation in terms of helping a student collect data;

So I’m hoping that my present company contacts will lead me to some great case study organisations and that I can build up those working research relationships with companies that I hope for.

But wait, there is more…

I mentioned above that I was going to carry out two case studies. Well technically this is not true. Early this month I found out that I was successful in being awarded a John Campbell Trust Research Student Bursary and this is going to impact my research too.  Receiving this bursary will now allow me to carry out a THIRD case study of an organisation in Finland, something I could not do without the funding.

This means that my research will have international value and I will have international data. It means I will be able to compare the UK and Europe in terms of case study organisations although not make generalisations about the two.

It means I am a very happy data collecting student right now! 🙂

 

Image credits:

http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/pr/pr-opportunities/how-to-promote-your-business-by-writing-a-killer-case-study

http://www.yourmovemagazine.com/liverpool-comedy-festival-organisers-back-mental-health-awareness-day/22707

 

 

Reflections on conference season 2017!

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University conference poster

I’m sitting in my hotel room at the near end of the i3 conference for 2017 reflecting on the processes of conferencing I have gone through over the last two weeks. This post, however, will be posted a few days after as our hotel Wifi is broken and I still have one more conference morning to go…

As you were aware from my last blog post, I attended the Edinburgh Napier University conference, I presented a poster on my secondary data analysis (initial part of my PhD). My poster explained why I was going the analysis, data obtained, analysis and most IMG_3682importantly the results and it was designed so that other delegates could look at the poster then ask me questions about it. The poster itself (I feel) was designed fairly well as I knew it needed to reflect the serious nature of my analysis and results. You can see a copy of my poster here where I have uploaded it onto my slideshare account and you can see for yourself what it is.

I was asked mainly questions about the purpose of doing the analysis and also what types of innovation were concerned. I explained that the poster only reported part A of my data analysis as the next part is something my supervisors and I are hoping to publish so I am unable to publish those results in detail. I was also asked statistical questions about the analysis and what it all meant I explained why I used a One-Way ANOVA and also why I grouped my counties, and the conversation slowly turned to how to perform certain analysis rather than discussing my poster itself.

 

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iDocQ 2017 programme

My second conference event(s) were iDocQ2017 and also i3. For iDocQ I delivered my one minute madness presentation where I was fairly nervous to do so considering I had not prepared the text in advance. I think this went fairly well but I am aware that if I do not prepare for these things I do not do well and I get very nervous, so that’s why I prepared very much for my second contribution to the conference at i3 2017 – my international full paper presentation.

The purpose of my paper presentation was to introduce and justify the use of my theoretical framework for my own doctoral study (with the awkward moment when I told my supervisors about this), and justify this in terms of its use in the information science domain. As you can see from slide 2 of my presentation, I

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Lyndsey’s conference abstract for i3

discussed the value of researching workplace learning and innovative work behaviours as well as talking about the theoretical framework and its use inside and external to the information science domain. My slides give a small flavour of what I intended to talk about and tell my audience what to expect. As part of this, I was also able to report some preliminary secondary data analysis results (or mini results). The results were an extension of my poster from the university conference and explained this in more detail. I was able to explore my data sources, variable justification and choice of analyses before making my point on the factors which I found to influence national innovation across Europe.

 

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Sir Duncan Rice Library, Aberdeen

Overall, my presentation was attended by a few well-known academics in the field, some who I had met and some who I had not. I was pleased the audience was not massive but at the same time I was pleased to see some friendly faces so that I felt a sense of relief. I was second in the queue to present which meant I had to listen to another 45 minute presentation before mine. I admitted to the presenters (later on) that I had not heard a word of their talk as I was going through my presentation in my head, something they both said they understood completely. For some random reason, I did not feel a sense of sickening nerves during this time and I am not sure why. I was very nervous on the morning of my presentation but managed to eat breakfast (at the advice of a fellow PhD student) which seemed to calm me down a tad. I had to wait a few hours after than before I did my presentation as it was an afternoon session. I got the unfortunate time of presenting about 4.30pm which meant it was late in the day when everyone would be tired. However, it appeared that this did not influence my nerves for the presentation as I (somehow!) calmed down majorly whilst sitting in the room and was only hit with a few nerve as I loaded my slides on the screen. It turns out that I was not as nervous as everything else I had presented and this meant I was able to focus on the paper I was presenting. I felt more at ease at about slide 14 when I made a joke about my supervision

IMG_3719
Dr Theresa Anderson

meetings with my supervisors when we talked about my theoretical framework. It made me feel at ease knowing I took my supervisors absolute silence and turned it around to be completely all my fault (it was!) but this helped the audience understand the story of how my theoretical framework came to be. It was nice having my supervisors in the room with me to help support me with that point. Had I not had that moment of absolute silence, my theoretical framework would not have happened and I would not have made efforts to justify the use of it in my research. My supervisors do a really good job at supervising me, calming

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My first citation (technically)

me down and supporting me all of the way through crappy times and praising me for the stuff I am unable to see *shout out to team Lyndsey*.

 

 

It is at this point that I would like to share some quick advice to those who are worried about presenting. For me, these things worked and these are pieces of advice I got for others:

 

  1. Before you do anything, tell your supervisor(s) you are nervous. They know you well enough by this time to know if you are going to succeed or fail so they can support you in every way they can to help you do your best. I did, and she appeared to have a lot of faith in my abilities compared to my own opinions – it appears she knows me quite well (I’ll never admit that my supervisor was right..!). My supervisor supported me from day 1 and through the crap of the dry-run session as she knew I was dreading this a lot. It turns out that I had support all of the way through and it was this support that helped me do my best at something I hated from the start.
  2. Have some breakfast / lunch / a snack beforehand as skipping this can often mimic the feelings of anxiety when it is just hunger;
  3. If you mess up, so what? Ohers do not know what you are planning to say so they won’t know if you make a mistake or miss something out;
  4. Even the best academics in the field make mistakes and get nervous about presenting;
  5. Take time beforehand to tell yourself you can do it;
  6. Try and seek the room beforehand so you can see where you will be standing and whether you can see your slides;
  7. Take a few deep breaths, and drink plenty of water beforehand to stop getting dehydrated as this can increase the nervous feeling and anxiety;
  8. When you go up to present, look directly at everyone in the audience as you are preparing to present. For me, this heled me see who was there and eliminated the shock factor half way through;
  9. On the more practical side of things, try and learn your presentation with little notes. This way, you don’t rely on notes in your presentation and can try to make eye contact with the audience;
  10. That taken into account, prepare your slides early. This gives you enough time to run through the talk and slides far in advance so that if you are feeling nervous you can work on the nerves nearer the time and not finishing your gig;
  11. On the above note, my supervisors always recommends having a policy of not leaving for the conference without having your slides finished. I would always take this advice given my onset of nerves and I could not imagine having to prepare them in the conference week;
  12. Try and enjoy the experience. This might sound hard and a bit obscure for someone who does not like presenting, but it’s true. I seemed to enjoy the process more than dreading it (on the day) as I knew my abstract had been accepted so my research was welcome by the conference academics.

I have to be honest and say I did enjoy the experience overall and did panic more during preparation than actual delivery which is not like me at all. I particularly enjoyed being challenged by the questions I got asked by the academics in the room as I knew they had

IMG_3740
Dr Alison Pickard & Dr Geoff Walton

listened to what I was saying by the type of things I got asked. I was asked to explain my own definition of learning I am using in my research which stumped me a bit. I have a definition of workplace learning but not learning itself but I feel I handled that question okay given I have not used this concept yet. I was also asked about the element of risk in innovation, something prominent in the literature and something coming out of my interview data already. I explained that I am considering this as part of my interview process and that I could only comment fully when my case studies have been done, something the individual questioning me seemed to take with a pinch of salt (although I did acknowledge the importance of the comment!). I was also asked about my interpretation of failure in learning as we all know failure is important. As with the previous questions, this is part of my interview schedule so I could only comment my own views and opinions on this right now and can comment when my interviews are done and analysed. I was also asked about context and how this influence my PhD and quite happily I explained that I was exploring what specific elements of context influenced the relationship between workplace learning and innovative work behaviours and this was something to come. For this comment, however, I acknowledged that context and the environment is important and that context can influence learning itself regardless of other things involved. This is reflected in my theoretical framework and I was able to explain how I am exploring this as a specific research question.

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Train journey home to Edinburgh

I was particularly happy with the questions I got asked as I have finally been welcomed into the information science community with my research. You may be aware that I did not feel so at home at the ISIC conference in September as I could not see the value of my work in the information science domain at that point in time. Not many people asked me about my research overall and I did feel a bit left out seeing everyone else talk about their research as I was only a year into my PhD. The conference itself was really good and interesting (and I’d definitely go back again!). The people I met there and the organisers of ISIC were lovely too but the lack of interest in my research topic did dishearten me a bit and I did not feel like my research topic fitted in at all (even though the acceptance meant it did in terms of the conference themes). I returned home from ISIC with a plan in place (See here: https://lyndseyjenkins.org/2016/09/27/participation-in-the-isic-conference/) to make my research (hopefully) fit into the domain and ground it in Information Science which meant I had to beef it up a bit more. I think this may have worked…

This time at i3 it was different as my presentation even stimulated conversations outside of my talk. This focused on the use of other theories of my theory was not there, and also my use of quantitative data analysis to make my points.

This then set me up for a good conference week and I was able to see a few paper presentation that took my eye. I loved the presentation by Dr Theresa Anderson who looked at collective and collaborative information seeking in learning as this has valuable links with my own PhD. I also enjoyed the talk by Bo Gerner Neilson who explained about context in research and how context can be categorised. His presentation got me thinking about my own definition of context and I even got my very own citation at the end of his talk too. I also enjoyed the talk by Dr Alison Pickard and Dr Geoff Walton when they explored information discernment as it incorporated researchers from multiple domains in one project and used a combination of research methods for this paper.

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My lovely starter at the conference dinner!

You can see my twitter feed for information on other talks I attended as I tended to tweet about these too. I found it helpful to tweet about events and then explore other twitter feeds to see interpretations of the talks I attended and discussions that took part in others.

 

Overall, I think my first i3 experience has been one of great success. I have been able to present my first full paper to an international audience (kindly documented on twitter by Prof Hazel Hall) and I was able to do this fairy well. I have enjoyed talking about my work and stimulating conversations about what I am doing, both in my presentation and during the coffee breaks too! I have also been able to talk to academics who I have never met before and academics I already have. I have been able to say hi and explain who I am and talk in depth about what we do. I have been able to socialise with people who I have never met before at the reception, conference dinner and countless coffee breaks and help me feel more at home with my research in the information science field now. I think a huge thank you should go to the i3 organisers (organising committee) and all of the people who made efforts to make this happen. You can see the long list of names on the i3 website above.

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More views on the train home

If you want to know more about the other papers presented by my research group you can see a preview here by Hazel Hall. She has included the abstracts and slides of each presenter in her blog post written as a preview of i3 2017.

 

And on a more personal note I noticed that…

There are a fair few ginger haired information science academics in our field (woo-hoo)* and even better that a nice handful of delegates came from where I do and speak with my accent too**. So thumbs up to the person who (before I attended this conference) told me that my accent needed to changed and how the way speak is not right. Thumbs up because I believe you were wrong, and it appears quite significantly that you were very wrong too! 🙂

*disclaimer – nobody has ever told me that ginger haired people cannot succeed in a PhD / academia or given me grief for my hair colour in academia.

** ginger-haired North East England folk rock (and everyone else does too!).

Conference season ahead!

conf SGSSSSo next week marks the beginning of conference season for me. I know we present at conferences all year round, but June is particularly hectic as I will be presenting both locally and internationally.

Presentation (1): Factors influencing innovation across Europe: Analysis of the Community Innovation Survey

Firstly, I will be presenting a poster at the Edinburgh Napier University research conference. This poster explains results from my secondary data analysis that I completed as part of the initial stages of my PhD. AS part of my poster, I have explained the methods and results so that the audience can see what factors influence innovation on the national level.

Presentation (2): Enhancing the capacity for workplace learning and innovation in Scotland

Less than a week after the university conference, I will be then attending a doctoral colloquium called iDocQ and you may recall that I helped organise this last year. As part of the 2017 colloquium, students are asked to present a ‘one minute madness’ presentation. I am not preparing this in full in advance so that it is spontaneous, but I have had to prepare a slide so that the audience know who I am and what my research is about.conf 2

Presentation (3): The application of Social Cognitive Theory in Information Science research on workplace learning and innovative work behaviour

This year, iDocQ is part of a larger conference – information: interactions and impact (i3). The conference delegates will witness me present my first fully fledged academic talk. This presentation was accepted as a full paper so I will be talking for 30-40 minutes on my theoretical framework. My presentation will focus on the application of my theoretical framework to both information science and my own doctoral study, something quite rare in information science (as you will see form my talk). You can find the abstract for my talk here so that you can take a look and see what I will be talking about. I am in the process of putting the final edits to my presentation slides and when these are complete, they will be made available by my SlideShare account.

I will report back at a later date as to how each of the presentations went!