The Road from Pilot Research to Fieldwork

About a month ago, I embarked on the second phase of my PhD journey and started my fieldwork. The pilot I carried out last summer helped me immensely in shaping up my research questions and strengthening my research instruments and my overall research design. However, it is only now, after starting my fieldwork, that the full realisation of the benefits of piloting have dawned on me.

 To give some background, my research aims to critically understand the teaching and learning for children with special educational needs and disabilities within mainstream classrooms in India. This blog post is a reflection on how my pilot research helped me in shaping my research design and helped me to plan my fieldwork.


Research for Change: Inclusive Quality Education for Children with Disabilities

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) state that “no one should be left behind”. SDG#4 on education addresses both rights to education – through access; and rights in education –  specifically acknowledging that education must be of quality. In our recent report, Inclusive Quality Education for Children with Disabilities, we argue that if children with disabilities are to be fully included in quality education we must focus on the interlinked aspects of rights, resources and research.

My #PhDshelfie: Michelle

Hi, my name is Michelle and if I have any special talent it is approaching burnout and staying on the brink of it for far too long. For those who don’t know, “burnout”  is a term coined in the 1970s by the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, to describe the effects of severe stress and high ideals in “helping” professions, such as doctors and nurses. Today it is used to refer to the phenomenon in professions across the board, with main signs and symptoms falling into three main categories: exhaustion, alienation from work-related activities, and reduced performance. These signs can be both physical and emotional and are starting to be more recognized as a problem within academia.

Raising the Bar? Why PhD Students and Postdocs Publish and Perish, and How They Could Publish and Flourish Instead (Part 2)

I propose here that to publish and flourish the focus must shift from our obsessions with metrics to our contributions to knowledge. The metrics are merely (or at least should be) by-products of the research process. To flourish within this crude system, let me offer some tips on getting published frequently and publishing well to thrive in your first postdoctoral years in academia.

Raising the Bar? Why PhD Students and Postdocs Publish and Perish, and How They Could Publish and Flourish Instead (Part 1)

Publish or perish remains a popular maxim in higher education circles. Although it may ring of neoliberal institutional straight-jacketing or self-imposed bio-governance – and there is resistance against it by a number of academic groups – the experience for many scholars is that the mantra still holds true. It seems as though one must publish often in high-impact journals or expect to be relegated to a second-class citizen of the academy. The challenge is to face this situation without succumbing to the pressure. My task then in this short two-part blog post is to offer some tips from my personal experience as an early-career academic and recent graduate of the Faculty of Education in Cambridge on how to publish often and publish well.

LEGO and Philosophy

I recently had a chance to write about LEGO in the just released LEGO and Philosophy book. It’s the latest addition to the always interesting Blackwell Philosophy and Popular Culture series.

The LEGO and Philosophy book covers a number of thought-provoking topics – from LEGO and philosophical values, and questions of gender and race in LEGO mini figures, to Heidegger and ontology, and Lego and metaphysics. You can check out the book’s full table of contents on the Wiley website here.

My PhD Journey in 8 Pictures

I am Lina and I like pictures. If asked to introduce myself to a group of academics, I would say: “I am Lina and for my PhD thesis I explored how children engage with wordless picture books.” Given my love for visual stories and my PhD topic, I hereby succumb to a temptation I always had in mind: to summarise my entire PhD life in 8 pictures. A complete thesis for the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge is equivalent to approximately 80000 words. Based on the famous saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”, for the sake of this blog post, let’s equip images with even more power and try to visualise a four-year PhD experience.