The Realities of Our Lives, Syrian to Syrian

 In this blog entry, Hiba Salem shares the complexities of being a Syrian researcher studying the voices of Syrian students. Hiba discusses her fieldwork, where she researched the experiences of Syrian refugee students aged 13-16 in Jordan’s schools. She provides a rare insight into the realities of being a Syrian refugee student in a segregated school, where access is highly restricted for researchers. 


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.

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.

“Do You See What I See?” Prompts From a Mother

I was born and raised in Peshawar, a small city in the north of Pakistan. It is heart-breaking that Peshawar once known as “the city of flowers” has been torn apart in the name of terrorism. In 2014 a blood curdling attack on a school left the city in the state of mourning that has taken a long time to fade away. The strength of the mothers who lost their children in that attack and their desire to keep sending their children to school has inspired me to do what I do today. I am a PhD researcher at the…

On Being an Ethnographer

I’m writing in the arid, breezy shade outside my £10 per night hotel in northeastern Uganda. This weekend I’m taking a break from PhD life. Not really. I’m actually here to interview alumnae from the secondary school where my research is based. Being an ethnographer, everyday and every moment can be a research moment.  There is taking a break, but not turning off. My master’s supervisor, Dr. David Mills, with Morton, describe on the first page of their book that ethnography is ‘being, seeing, writing.  Simple participles that belie the complexity of their meanings.’ (Mills & Morton, 2013). They write…