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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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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Corpus Linguistics: More than Meets the Eye

As a PhD student, one of the first questions I get asked is “what is your research on?”. When I respond with “corpus linguistics,” many people either raise their eyebrows or proceed to ask me what that is. The brief explanation of this is: A corpus is a collection of written or spoken texts that offer systematic insight into how a language is used in the population that the corpus represents. However, it goes without saying that corpus linguistics encompasses much more than scrutinizing the use of certain words and/or expressions. It is a powerful tool that can offer new insight into both language teaching and learning. It is also a tool that has made a tremendous impact not only in the field of linguistics, but also in various areas of education and material development.

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Inclusive Approaches to Researching Disability in Children’s Literature

The catalyst for this doctoral project was the realisation that there was very little research within the growing field of disability in children’s literature that asked for children’s views of such texts and only one project so far had begun to consider the views of disabled children. To me, this seemed to be a fundamental gap in the research: I firmly believe that disabled children should be asked for their views on the representation of their own lived experience, on which they are the experts, in line with Article 12 of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).

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Embracing Open Science

Openness is becoming an integral part of the research process as more and more researchers are adopting its principles and practices. Our research group, INSTRUCT, led by Dr Michelle Ellefson, has been increasingly interested in the idea of Open Science this year. Nearly all of our group members are attending lectures and training sessions across the university with the aim to understand Open Science and create strategies to practice its principles in current and future research projects. In this blog, we will share an overview of what we have learned so far, and encourage those who are interested in learning more about openness in research.

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Multimodality, Transcription and Educational Research: Learning Beyond Verbal Language

In my doctoral research, I studied 4-year-olds’ meaning-making processes when reading digital literature with their parents where observation was the central method of data collection. So what could I learn about meaning-making (and learning in general) by looking at these reading events? The answer, I found, can be significantly different depending on the methods employed for recording and analyzing these observations.

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