You 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! 🙂
So 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.
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.
So data collection and arrangements are definitely in progress over the summer period.
As 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;
(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! 🙂
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 importantly 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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:
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.
Have some breakfast / lunch / a snack beforehand as skipping this can often mimic the feelings of anxiety when it is just hunger;
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;
Even the best academics in the field make mistakes and get nervous about presenting;
Take time beforehand to tell yourself you can do it;
Try and seek the room beforehand so you can see where you will be standing and whether you can see your slides;
Take a few deep breaths, and drink plenty of water beforehand to stop getting dehydrated as this can increase the nervous feeling and anxiety;
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;
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;
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;
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;
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
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.
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.
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.
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!).
So 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.
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!
The past few weeks have been very busy. I have taken some time off and then have ploughed straight into training and data collection, which means I have not had a lot of free time to blog!
I returned form leave and attended the Edinburgh Local Grad School training. This aimed to help students develop transferable skills in the PhD where opportunities to do so are often lacking. We did a lot of activities that focused on communication, problem solving and also developing Communities of Practice within the Scotland-based PhD community. I felt the training was well delivered and I enjoyed most tasks, developing skills along the way. I particularly enjoyed our ice-breaker where our group had to design a widget and present this to the rest of the PhD students and tutors – Labrodrone was quite an idea!
My second lot of training was the week after that and was the SGSSS summer school. I attended this it is the ESRC that fund my research and the ESRC work with PhD students and staff to deliver training relevant to all students. My favourite two sessions of the day were: (1) cracking the conference and (2) doctoral skills as these are the two most relevant to me and my work right now. This is because I am currently preparing my presentation for my paper submitted to the i3 conference in Aberdeen. It means I am in the process of writing and preparing the first paper presentation of my PhD and it is something I am quite nervous about.
My other favourite session was the doctoral skills as this focused on concerns of a ‘second year’. This is because students are often too far in to see their progress (and wrongly measure progress on amount of work done!) but they also cannot see the finish line in sight. AS I am 14 months in, this session was perfect me as I am just over half way there to the finish line. My favourite activity was the first one we did in class. We had to map our PhD journey as it was a mountainous climb (often lonely but such an achievement in the end) and as you can see form my picture, mine was a little rough. My journey started quite well doing literature reviews and being supported by my supervisors (you can see they are there in the picture). But the problems came with the RD5 prgression and when progress needed to be made on my secondary data analysis – something which took a long time to do!
You see, I placed myself nearly at the top of my second little mountain, but not quite at the top just yet. This is because I am just in the process of gathering data for my first case study and this has not been an easy trick. Firstly, I have has problems with arranging times for interviews and case studies and then problems getting people on board. So the main reasons why I am not at the top yet is due to the time it is taking to get my data collection done and we must not forget that second case study too (the less said about this in the blog post the better!).
There are a lot more details on my PhD journey picture but for now I will leave it up to you to decide what they mean and see if you can work it out.
It is quite well known in the PhD community that research is not the only thing students should (or could) do. You may remember that I have blogged about this a while back when I had a bee in my bonnet about wanting to do something extra. I am the type of person where one project just is not enough!
Anyway, I have been working on that something extra and I’m please I can tell you about this now.
A while back, my supervisor Prof Hazel Hall sent me an email as there was an information science related journal asking for help. Apparently Hazel thought I’d like to help out and forwarded me the email of the person who was asking for that specific help. Apparently, Hazel was right! I contacted the editor about the advert I had seen and got to know more about what was being offered, so here it goes…
The email was advertising for voluntary copy editors (a vague definition here) for a journal called Information Research. Now Information Research is an open access journal so the appointed person (or people) needed to have a belief in this and a desire to do something about it. I’m quite an open person myself and I believe wholeheartedly that research should be too. I delivered a talk not so long ago and I questioned what happens when research is not open access, and where do people go? If we don’t have our research open access then we are technically restricting who can see it and how… and that’s not the best approach as not everyone can subscribe to high price journals, or journals with a lots of restrictions in viewing (Information Research is not one of these journals I might add).
Anyway, I contacted the journal’s editor, Tom Wilson, who some of you may have already heard of. Tom is recognised for his work in the information science fiend and to be quite honest, I had not heard of his work before until I started my PhD at Edinburgh Napier. I heard of Toms work during the ISIC conference last year so when saw his email at least I could put a face to the name. I’m quite sure he cannot do that for me (yet!). Tom sent me a ‘test article’ to see how I handled the copy editing process, and to see if there were any mistakes I could not spot.
Luckily, before I edited the article, I had read the requirements for the journal type and style so I definitely understand my task. I found that it was not an easy thing to do, firstly as I was not used to editing articles where I did not understand some of the content, and secondly because it’s a generally hard task to do in the first place! The worst part of the process was knowing that I myself make some of the mistakes that I pointed out so I know how it feels to be corrected on these things.
It appears that I must have done an alright job in the copy editing test process and that my efforts were not unnoticed. I can now happily say that I am a copy editor for Information Research and that my editing skills are going to be put to the test!