Life post a PhD

Theory was going to be my topic today but while getting my notes from Evernote, I saw on FB a friend of mine just graduated with his PhD (looks very flash in the photos) and I remembered the PG session from the APSA conference and thought I’d go into the life post PhD instead.

The PG day of the conference was really interesting. There were presentations from Inger Mewburn; Kerry McCallum; Patrick Dunleavy and others. I’ll be honest, I’m not great at knowing who people are and so I’ll leave it to the great minds who know these amazing people to know what I’m talking about. I know they are amazing because I listened to their presentations. While I didn’t agree with all their points, there were some great insights into the world of academia. This included how to manage your identity online, use of social media and the changing nature of the academic. These days it does help to be a jack of all trades both in abilities and in research too, as cross disciplinary stuff can open doors for employment.

What I found personally interesting is when Kerry asked who was blogging their PhD, in a room of about 100 PhD students (a lot younger than me) I was the only who put up their hand. Now, two things: 1) People are embarrassed to own up to the fact that they blog or 2) I really was the only one…..This seems unlikely in this day and age so maybe 3) They thought she meant who is putting their whole PhD into a blog and so they just misunderstood the question. I have found my blog so useful as a memory trigger I can’t imagine living without it now. And in fact I tried looking for some old documents I know I have somewhere on the system and am struggling. Here – click on a tag and take a trip down memory lane and find some gold I had forgotten.

Patrick’s session was about methodology and was really interesting. He has five forms of scholarship: discovery, integration, application, praxis and bridging. He also talked about triangulation and getting the writing correct. A PhD should be read, so make it readable. What was frightening was his statistics on citation of the humanities. By discipline, the percentage of uncited papers are: Medicine=12% Natural Science=27% Social Science=32 and Humanities=82%. By a leap of logic, this means 82% of humanity research is useless…..surely this can’t be the case. It’s sad regardless.

I should include in this post I met with David on the literature review I’d submitted (see post Sense of Belonging) and the feedback I got was great. He provided really constructive feedback and advice, knowing full well he will never see that content again as I will be fully re-writing based on feedback because it wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t unusable either which was my greatest fear so all is well!

I’ve also lined up today a possible joint paper with an academic I met at the Colloquium. We are exploring the disconnect (or connection) between accounting accreditation and university interpretation as represented in the learning outcomes for the course. It’s only our first chat and we’ve got a bit of thinking to do to see how we move forward and if there are enough legs to this, but it was great to talk discourse analysis in a context other than my thesis and accounting language disconnect with a practitioner in another university. It’s always great to have insights into how other people think.

So, big post – but the next few might be like this as I work my way through the APSA conference content. I’m also feeling good after a productive research day (although I wish Id’ stop finding out how rubbery all the numbers are! One forgets when leaving government how extrapolation occurs to make ‘truth’). I really love my research days and really appreciate the boss who lets me have them. Thanks!

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