How Do We Manage Digital Distractions During a PhD?

I’m incredibly interested in the push and pull of digital distractions that we encounter during virtually every waking hour of our everyday lives. It can be quite easy to fall into certain patterns of behaviors and social media habits, and this is very much by design (for example, this recent article from The Guardian: “Social media copies gambling methods ‘to create psychological cravings”). And once they become habits, they are much harder to see them for what they are — hopefully this post can be a reminder and a refresher to check what is and isn’t working for us.

Distractions are very much a part of life and can be perfectly fine and enjoyable in the right circumstances — but here are some tips and strategies on how to cope with digital distractions when they might feel a little too disruptive for our liking. With the right motivation we can certainly re-train our habits.

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Why Not Film Your PhD Research?

Filming research gives researchers the opportunity to democratise access to their work, as well as to promote it in the academic market. In this blog entry, FERSA interviews Dr Mona Jebril about her experience in turning from MonaR (the researcher) to MonaF (the filmmaker), and what advice she would give for those who are interested in filming their research.

Want to Make Your PhD Better? Hang Out with an Animal

If you go around asking people in academia for things that would make students write higher quality PhDs, I doubt many people’s first answer would be a furry friend.  I doubt it would even be present on most people’s list.  I may be a bit biased (ok, I’m totally biased), but I’m here to say that it should be! Here are five reasons why pets are an excellent way to give your PhD a boost. Disclaimer – this post might just be an excuse to look at cute pictures of furry PhD assistants (but it’s still all true).

Dealing with Journal Rejections as an Early-Career Researcher

 Among the many encouraging positive comments I received at the BERA-BAICE Writing for Publication Workshop, a persistent message conveyed by other early career researchers was this: it was important for them to learn about not only my successful publication experience, but also my vulnerability in the face of rejections. Given space constraints, in this post I will focus solely on how I dealt with rejections. For other sharing of my publication experiences, please refer to this post and my upcoming posts on the BERA blog and BERA Research Intelligence.  

Over and above all, I want to demonstrate that, IT IS POSSIBLE TO PUBLISH, for somebody like me, who is not particularly gifted in writing, who does not know many grand English words, who does not speak English as a first language and whose article manuscripts kept getting rejected.

Research Poems – What Are They Up To?

Researchers in education tell me about their poems. I only have to mention that my research is in poetry education and before you know it I’m being asked about publication and performance, and what I think of rap. I go to conferences and there’s an education researcher freestyling about their topic. I open an education thesis in the library and there’s a poem half way through its reflexive workout. Surrounded by research poems, unsure what to make of them, I figured I’d better investigate.
So, what exactly are research poems?

The PhD Experience as an Apprenticeship into Academia

When I first started my PhD back in 2012 I wasn’t sure whether I would return to secondary school teaching afterwards or stay in academia, looking back I suppose I didn’t really know what it meant to be an academic. But throughout the three years of my PhD I had the opportunity to contribute to different research projects, to publish, and to teach; although it might seem like a bit of a cliché to say that the experience was an apprenticeship into academia, for me, that’s exactly what it was. It didn’t take long for me to realise that this was what I wanted to do with my life. So here are a few personal reflections on what I feel were the most influential factors in progressing from the PhD, to a postdoc position on the MEITS project, and ultimately into a lectureship.

Don’t Compromise: Nothing Less Than an “Enjoyable” Viva!

Just after submitting the soft-bound copies of my thesis, I started to feel anxious about my viva voce. I was worrying about the result I would get after five years of hard work for my PhD in Cambridge. But, almost everyone that I talked to seemed to have experienced a level of anxiety with regard to their viva examination as the situation could be difficult and quite unpredictable.