Being the Insider-Outsider: Reflections from 10 years of research in the Dominican Republic

This year marks a decade of my travelling to and from the Dominican Republic, conducting research, taking classes, teaching, training teachers. ‘Tienes más tigueraje que yo,’ my Dominican friends tell me, insinuating that I have learned to acculturate and take care of myself in this country that is foreign to me. But at times I forget its foreignness. My foreignness. Since first travelling to the DR as a twenty-year-old college student I immediately felt connected to the Caribbean culture. My mom is from Puerto Rico, and Puerto Ricans and Dominicans refer to each other as ‘dos alas del mismo pájaro,’ two wings of the same bird.

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Perks and Potential Pitfalls of a PhD on Secondary Data

Secondary data analysis can be a great way to study relationships between constructs, particularly when large, rich, longitudinal samples are important. It supports learning of more advanced quantitative methods and software, and does not have to be used exclusively, i.e. can be used to augment primary data. As with any method there are potential pitfalls, but they can be planned for and managed.

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Reflections on Doing Educational Research in Business and Academic Contexts

If you’re interested in working as a researcher in an applied business or not-for-profit context in the future or are simply curious as to what the key distinctions are between conducting research in the two different contexts, I hope my reflections can be of use to you! I’ve whittled them down to five. These reflections are obviously based on my own personal experiences alone; I’m sure these would differ depending on the organisation you worked for and your reasons for pursuing a career in educational research.

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The Power of the Felt Tip: Drawing My Way Through the PhD Process

It can be really hard to feel like you are good at anything when doing a PhD, and so when I heard the advice to do something you are good at to keep you sane during the process, I knew mine was drawing. Having used drawing in my role as child psychologist and a conference illustrator, I wanted to use drawing in my research with Colombian children with disabilities. What I hadn’t expected was that drawing would also become central to my own journey through the process. Not only did it help me navigate the ‘should I quit my PhD?’ moment, but it also helped me clarify, and communicate, my research proposal. This blog tells my story before giving some practical steps for building your own creative talents (yes, you have them) and inspiration for how you might illustrate your final thesis.

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FERSA Oxford Exchange: Can Our Academic Life Be More Collaborative?

As one of the co-leads of this year’s FERSA Oxford Exchange, Carla Plieth is looking back to the first part of the exchange between the two Education Faculties and their theme ‘collaboration’. Many students find their graduate experience isolating and scary, which is why it’s important to use opportunities for collaboration. Being part of a student association is one such opportunity.

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