Thursday, 31 October 2019

The Accelerated Completion program: Helping researchers plan their way toward the finish line!

The Semester Two 2019 ACP crew at the finish of the program
The Semester Two 2019 ACP crew at the finish of the program 

There’s no way to put it without understatement: finishing a PhD is just hard yakka.

At the start of our degrees we often see a vast expanse of time ahead, and the day-to-day of a research degree often feels different as we pick up and spin all the plates and learn all the things!

After years of dedication and careful work, the end sometimes creeps up on us. The end stages of a doctorate are often some of the richest intellectually (if not always financially!). For many of us, the end is a time of crystallisation where the small parts of our research begin to add up to a bigger picture. So, the end is not only an exciting time for a doctoral project, it is also an exciting time for the doctoral researcher, as we observe ourselves stepping over the threshold from novice to expert knower.

This special time is also one where we have an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, and who we need to be for ourselves in order to finish significant projects, like a PhD.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Bridging research cultures: A reflection on graduate researcher orientation with an overseas cohort (Dan Bendrups)



In this post RED team member Dan Bendrups reflects on his recent trip to Manila where he worked with a new cohort of La Trobe graduate researchers. 

Every year, the La Trobe University research environment receives a new injection of energy from the arrival of international PhD candidates from all over the world. Some are supported by home country scholarships, while others have been successful in obtaining funding from Australian sources, but for the most part, they come here individually, joining our research programs and finding their feet. We often know very little about their home research environments to begin with, but contrasts and comparisons inevitably emerge over time, and these discussions become part of the international PhD experience.

This year, a new element was added to this mix. Under the terms of a new collaborative agreement with Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, a group of six PhD candidates joined La Trobe as a cohort. The agreement means that their candidature time will be shared between Ateneo and La Trobe , thus, their home research environment will pay a bigger role in their doctoral experience. Their supervision is also shared between La Trobe and Ateneo, with a supervisor at each end.


Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Musings on Open Access and fairness (Jenny Fafeita)








Next week La Trobe University will be celebrating Open Access Week along with researchers all over the globe. From 21-27 October there will be a series of conversations, workshops and online offerings which are all about open access, and the questions of fairness that arise when thinking about accessing knowledge. Check out the activities here!   

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working with library staff to coordinate a series of activities for Open Access (OA) week (21-27 October). ). This international event is an opportunity for us all to reflect on the meaning of OA and what it means for us as members of research communities.

The theme of this year’s OA Week, “Open for whom? Equity in open knowledge”, is timely as many La Trobe students are graduating and will no longer have access to research and educational resources sitting behind paywalls. How will they get access in the future?  


Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Research in the regions (Ruth Hardman)





"Great, you’re doing a full-time PhD. But don’t you live in Mildura? Isn’t that really isolating?"

This is a response I have had from many people when they find out what I'm up to. 

My answer is "Well, actually, no..."

I’m doing a PhD in the School of Rural Health on an industry scholarship, and I have just completed confirmation. I’m writing this blog to challenge a few assumptions about what research on a regional campus looks like.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

What is a literature review? Imaginings and re-imaginings (James Burford)

Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash

A desk that has become overgrown with piles of paper.

Puzzle pieces, some of which are currently blank.
Idea bubbles that are linking and sometimes looping back.

This week I have been coordinating workshops that encourage researchers to think about writing literature reviews.

Somewhere in the middle of each workshop I have asked participating researchers to pause and reflect on a question or two: “What does a literature review look like for you? What comes to mind when you think about it?” The sentences you see above are just some of the many images that researchers conjured at these workshops. On the back of these descriptions, I want to use this blog post to think about how we might imagine literature reviews, and the lessons these imaginings might teach us.