Introduction – a ‘messy’ approach to research
Research can be a messy business, often involving multiple complex and complicated processes. Every researcher brings a unique set of work and personal experiences to their research, handles a diverse research protocols, practices and timelines, and juggles multiple other issues in their personal lives.
Universities already offer plenty of excellent trainings for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) on how to conduct research. My workshops complement university-led training by helping PGRs to feel more comfortable and prepared to deal with the messier, emotional and personal aspects of doing research.
What my trainings address
My workshops cover components of the doctoral experience that are less commonly discussed and for which there aren’t always clear ‘how-to’ guides. These include, among others:
- maintaining wellness, balance and joy throughout the research journey
- fostering greater academic confidence and joy in research
- learning to trust individual research intuition and work rhythms
- developing and claiming personal identity in/during research
- dealing with unexpected problems and surprises in research
- responding to work guilt, shame, demotivation, imposter syndrome
- reframing negative experiences or feelings during the research journey
All my training stems from a belief that peer-led sharings and insight provide some of the most effective and helpful advice for PGRs. So my workshops encourage plenty of discussions between participants, generating dynamic and interactive exchanges, collaborative peer-generated advice, and valuable opportunities to connect with and learn from other researchers.
The benefits of a messy approach
By providing a wider, range of practices with which to navigate the diverse challenges ofthe doctoral journey, PGRs will be better equipped to:
- increase confidence and awareness of their own skills and abilities to successfully complete their PhD
- meet challenges or problems in their research with greater resilience and versatility
- create better balance between doctoral work and other extracurricular activity, such as teaching, public engagement, part-time work etc.
- find and implement strategies for experiencing more joy and pleasure into their doctoral journey
- develop the necessary skills, leadership qualities, experience and confidence to facilitate efficient transition into postdoctoral roles or alternative career paths
- find better balance between their academic responsibilities and their other personal and social commitments