Thoughts on Methodology

As I come to the end of my first year of the PhD and to the stage of handing in my first-year report, I wanted to share my thoughts on developing the methodology for my research. I should say, before commencing, that my methodology is a work in progress, and that I have a sense that it will not become ‘fixed’ for a little while to come.

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“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 Faculty of Education at Cambridge and my work focuses on mothers in Pakistan and the influence they have upon their daughters’ education.

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Returning to University and the Exhilarating Task of Research

Google was founded in the year that I first matriculated at Cambridge as an undergraduate.  We were looking forward to the Millennium, still a couple of years into the future.  When I arrived, my stereo was my only electronic equipment (I bought my first mobile phone after I’d graduated); and induction meant heading to the College bar to find second- and third-years to assure you that you didn’t need to go to all your lectures (you don’t).  Homerton, where I am now, wasn’t yet a Cambridge College.

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Tips and Tricks for PhD Students: The #PhDlifehack

This week a new cohort of PhD students is about to embark on their doctoral journeys in Cambridge. Although this is surely an exciting time, filled with many hopes and expectations, starting a PhD can also feel scary and overwhelming – How should you organise your work? Are there any tools or strategies that could be particularly helpful in staying on top of things? And how do you build good professional relationships during the PhD? With some of these questions in mind, we asked current PhD students and academics for advice and encouraged them to share their best #PhDlifehack with us on Twitter.

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Making the Most of Your Masters Programme at Cambridge

Hi, my name is Derk and I am a Malaysian PhD student at the Faculty of Education (EdFac), University of Cambridge. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you are about to matriculate for the Master in Philosophy (MPhil)  programme at our Faculty. I was in your shoes two years ago, and that’s why I was asked to write this blogpost. am sure you are very excited to be in Cambridge, and, knowing that the MPhil degree is really very short (about 10 months), you must be keen to find your feet quickly and make the most out of your limited time. Here’s some advice based on my experience, supplemented by insights from some of my friends.

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My #PHDshelfie: Julie

As the intellectual cousin of the word selfie, a shelfie is a photograph of someone’s bookshelf. In the next few months, the FERSA blog will occasionally feature shelfies taken by graduate students in the Faculty of Education, accompanied by reflections about some of their favourite books. The first person to share a shelfie is PhD student Julie Blake. 

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Planting Seeds, Nurturing Roots, and Growing Sideways: Transitioning from a Cambridge PhD to a Prairie Postdoc

On a hot June day in 2013, my friend Clementine walked with me through the infamous red doors of Cambridge’s Board of Graduate Studies to hand over my PhD thesis. While this celebratory photo is saved on my computer as “happy day,” I can still taste my anxiety. Having just dedicated three years of my life to a single project, what would come next? Beyond the frame of this photo are bags stored in various friends’ living rooms. I was days away from leaving a place where my roots grew deep. In this moment, I recall wondering where next? Would anywhere ever feel the same?

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Reflections on a Successful Viva Voce

In this short blog post I will share general tips on preparation for the final PhD defense, as well as ideas on publishing en route to the PhD. I believe these tips contributed to my result of ultimately passing without corrections. From my post-viva standpoint it now seems to me that the focus was on identifying the threshold at which my knowledge on the subject ended in order to challenge me to think beyond the limits of my philosophical and methodological approach

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