Reflections from our research day

On Thursday 24 February we held our second research day at BDRA. It involved Natalia, Ali, Brenda and Tony, plus several BDRA staff including David Hawkridge, Palitha Edirisingha, Simon Kear, Ming Nie and I. The day was organised as part of our doctoral programme and had the following intended learning outcomes for participants:

1.  Gain further experience in presenting work in progress and having it critiqued by peers and tutors

2.  Benefit from opportunities to critique the research of others and relate that critique to own work

3.  A shared understanding of key issues and concerns in relation to:

            a) the literature review

            b) chosen research design

            c) writing, including habits, sustained motivation and quality outputs

4.  Be in a stronger position to tackle research-related tasks, and

5.  Build stronger links with peers, tutors and the wider BDRA community.

It was rewarding to see how our students have progressed in the last few months – and in Tony’s case, his motivation to get started on his research. Tony joined us less that 4 weeks ago and joined the full-day session from Edmonton, Canada, via Skype! We had excellent presentations and ran a series of activities with input from students and tutors alike.

Perhaps one of the key messages that once again became clear to all is the need for sufficient amounts of protected quality time to conduct our research. We all appreciate how difficult this can be, especially for part-time students studying at a distance. Life does get in the way sometimes. Honest procrastination confessions were made too (though it was also argued that part-time students don’t even get time for that!) However, without a sustained commitment, motivation and enough periods of ring-fenced time for research, a PhD is not achievable.

We very much look forward to the next PhD research day, scheduled for 8 June.

Dr A Armellini
Beyond Distance Research Alliance

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