It is January 2019 and I am currently feeling a little flat after being poorly over my ‘Christmas and new year break’ and feeling like my PhD has not progressed since this time last year. I have decided to reflect upon my 2018 PhD journey and the milestones I have reached throughout the year to prove to myself that I did make some progress after all. So here it goes…
In January 2018 I managed to finish ALL PHD DATA COLLECTION. This included data collection in Scotland (a large case study), data collection in Finland (a small case study) and finally data collection in England (another small case study). My data collection was fully complete by mid-January, ticking off one milestone in the PhD journey. This was particularly satisfying as it was a struggle to organise the final case study, get ethics passed and finally organise the data collection at a time and place to suit me and my participants.
In January I also submitted two applications for the SGSSS internship schemes. I submitted one for Skills Development Scotland and one for the Scottish Government scheme in the hope that I may be offered one.
My final January milestone was the decision to start applying for jobs. I did not really know what I was looking for, or whether this would be part time or full time, but I knew that submission would be looming later in the year and decided that I wanted to start and prepare for this very early (but please note I did not actually apply for anything in January 2018).
In February 2018 I was offered two internships – one from each scheme that I applied to. I was pleased with both offers and struggled to decide which one to take as I really liked the sound of both projects. Eventually, I decided to take the internship with the Scottish Government as I knew this would broaden my horizons employability wise and I knew I already had some experience in working with Skills Development Scotland as my main PhD funders. Reflecting back on this I definitely chose the correct project for me and my career.
In February 2018 I also got married. This was something very important and I have the best team around me who understood completely when I said that my (now) husband and I wanted to do this (even though it may distract me from my PhD a little).
In March 2018, I submitted a poster to the ISIC: The Information Behaviour Conference. This was kind of a good milestone but kind of not. I had planned to submit a paper to the conference but lost all of my data analysis that I had completed for this paper and this meant the submission deadline would not be met. Either way, I was able to submit a poster to another international conference even though I had hoped for a paper. Alongside this I also submitted to the ISIC doctoral workshop to present my work, and discuss my PhD with other PhD students and academic mentor.
Towards the end of March I attended the iConference held in Sheffield. I had not submitted to present a paper or poster as my data collection and analysis had nothing new in it yet but I submitted to the doctoral workshop as a chance to share my work with the iSchool academics and students.
Whilst in Sheffield, Skills Development Scotland held a networking event in Glasgow. This was a change for PhD students to share their work with others, academics and SDS staff. I was unable to attend this in person due to being in Sheffield but was able to present a poster of my work here (from afar).
April to June 2018
From April to June 2018, I suspended my PhD study to undertake my PhD internship with the Scottish Government. This was valuable experience and something I would recommend all PhD students consider doing (if/when possible). Whilst I was working on my internship, several milestones were reached over the three months:
- I applied for a place at the ASIS&T 2018 doctoral workshop in Vancouver;
- I submitted a paper for the ASIS&T conference in Vancouver to present the findings of my Finnish case study;
- I presented my PhD work at iDocQ in Edinburgh;
- I found out that my ISIC poster submission had been accepted;
- I found out that my ISIC doctoral workshop application was accepted;
- I found out that my ASIS&T paper was accepted (a major milestone as the acceptance rate was only 49% and it’s a very well established conference to present a paper at);
Before I started my internship (in around March 2018), I submitted an application to the Scottish Government for an Assistant Statistician post. During my internship I was assessed and was offered a full time role in May 2019. By the end of my internship in June 2018, I had agreed between my supervisors, funders and my university research department that I would begin my post at the Government in November 2018.
In July 2018 I submitted my ASIS&T paper revisions and these were formally accepted. I was also accepted onto into the ASIS&T doctoral workshop and was awarded funding for this workshop and the full ASIST conference.
August and September 2018
Between August and September I worked tirelessly to get all of my data (interviews, focus groups and survey) analysed. Once analysed, I drafted all three findings chapters and submitted my larger case study for feedback from my supervisors. This brought the total drafted thesis chapters to seven out of ten to write in total.
October 2018 was particularly busy. I drafted and practiced my ASIS&T presentation as this was an important one to get right and I was the only person from Napier attending the conference so I knew I had prepare and present well.
In early October I also travelled to Krakow, Poland to present my poster at the ISIC: Information Behaviour conference and attend the doctoral workshop. These were both good opportunities to get feedback on my doctoral work and my empirical findings in the ISIC community.
As students one thing we forget is that we are learning all of the time. In October, with the help of one of my supervisors I learned how to carry out and write up a binary logistic regression. This is a milestone for me as, although I have been taught this technique before, I have never needed to use it in my work. Now I have and am able to write this up with confidence!
A final thing I did in October was present a short PowerPoint on research impact within the PhD to some of our PhD students. This was part of a workshop series from 2017 and symbolised the end of the series itself.
I think November 2018 was the busiest of my PhD. Firstly, I travelled to Vancouver, Canada for a week and took part in the ASIS&T conference. This involved taking part in the doctoral workshop and discussion my work with an academic mention. Two days after this I presented my paper at the same conference, which was received very well. The paper proceedings were published soon after and can be accessed by ASIS&T members at the moment.
The second major milestone was dropping my PhD down to part time to begin my job as an Assistant Statistician in the Scottish Government. This has been challenging at times, but something which appears to have worked out best for both my work and also my PhD (as long as I can still make PhD progress in 2019 of course!).
As well as starting my new job, I was also able to present my PhD work and discuss my ASIS&T paper with the knowledge management students at my university (twice). This was a good opportunity to share my work and get students thinking about writing a conference paper from PhD findings. It was lovely to be invited into the class to have this opportunity.
December’s progress was slow. However, I managed to finish a redraft of my Finnish case study findings chapter and also make a start on my final findings chapter redraft.
I decided to review my progress from 2018 and this blog post was formed from what I found. It has not been all that bad really!
So this review takes my total of international conferences to five (2 based in the UK, 2 in Europe and 1 in Canada), and increased my count of counties visited by three (so far we have Zadar in Croatia, Finland, Krakow in Poland, Vancouver in Canada and various locations across England and Scotland).
So I will not give too many details of that I aim to do in 2019 PhD wise but the picture below might give some clues…