Letting go of my comfortable bioscience identity

identity

It has been a while since posting, and this post has been brewing in the back of my mind for a while.

I have now entered the second year of my EdD at Anglia Ruskin University. I have passed two of four assessed papers, and have been lucky enough to have the first one published and the second one accepted for publication pending minor revisions. I’m still not quite sure how that happened.

I have now reached the stage where I have to “properly” start thinking about my research, the methodology and methods I plan to use, and offer some sort of justification for them. This is immensely daunting, and I am still on a very steep learning curve when it comes to social science research, paradigms, ontologies, axiologies and all the other “-ologies” associated with qualitative research. It is scary to think I am supposed to go into stage 2 at the end of September…

On the drive to work yesterday, and again today, I was mulling this position over. It is an odd realisation that I am experiencing feelings of accomplishment in my bioscience “day-job” while at the same time feel like a complete impostor when it comes to my EdD. Someone will soon find out I don’t know what I am talking about, right..? How do I reconcile these feelings, and how do I make sure they stay balanced?

I have been thinking about ways of conquering these feelings of inadequacy, and last night I woke up with a light-bulb moment: perhaps it is time to let go of the comfort-blanket offered by my professional identity as a bioscientist, and create a new blanket instead. I am supposed to transition to becoming this hybrid bioscience-education management practictioner-researcher with feet comfortably in two fields. There will probably always be tensions between the two identities, but they should be able to co-exist and each be called upon when required. Creating the new blanket is the process of doing the EdD, and the actual finished product will be the completion of this project in a few year time. I am ok with this.

This timeline also means it is ok to be insecure and uncomfortable for a while. I have been lucky enough that I have landed in a very supportive cohort of EdD students, and have met some great academic staff that are willing and able to advise where necessary. Last but not least, there is the brilliant Twitter EdD community for support. There are some excellent bloggers and tweeters out there doing EdDs who are struggling with similar issues to mine, and together we will get there! #EdD #ARUEdD to the rescue!

Upwards and onwards. Time to start writing about my research approach. Time to get my head around Grounded Theory. Time to keep up with #AcWriMo.

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putting the search into research – starting the phd

Some excellent advice on searching for literature here by Professor Pat Thomson over at patthomson.net This is an excellent blog to follow for all doctoral researchers.!

patter

Getting through a doctorate requires a finely honed information practice. You have to become pretty good at summarising, synthesising and categorising ‘stuff’ – otherwise known as ‘the literatures’.  But you also have to keep track of what you’ve read, and you need to be able to find things again when you have to.  So scholarly information essentials such as reading and noting are underpinned by practical strategies; these  include recording, filing and retrieving the stuff.

But, you also need to be able to find the stuff in the first place. One of the information strategies developed through the doctorate is that of searching. You know, locating the stuff that is useful, and interesting (and these are not always the same thing).

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Now, when I say searching I don’t mean going to one of those big data bases and hauling out a big list. No, what I actually mean by searching is…

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Dog safety in primary school children

Tomorrow and Thursday I will be presenting a paper on dog safety in children at the 2017 BSAS Annual Conference (#BSAS2017). This paper is the result of research done with one of my recent final year undergraduates, Evie Nyari. The paper can be found here, and will be presented as a poster (click to download PDF version). It has been three years since I have been at BSAS, so I’m looking forward to it!

BSAS poster

https://doi.org/10.1017/S2040470017001479

RCVS Knowledge Summary

RCVSKnowledge

My first Knowledge Summary for Veterinary Evidence has just been published. It is on raw feeding and periodontal health in dogs, and is the result of joint work with Matthew  Armstrong from Natures Menu.

The paper can be found here: https://veterinaryevidence.org/index.php/ve/article/view/88/0

On to the next one!

 

Reporting research

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I have recently published a letter to the editor in Veterinary Record regarding the use of reporting guidelines in veterinary research papers:

http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/180/3/78.2.full

Hopefully this letter will lead to discussion regarding the use of reporting guidelines, and raise awareness of their importance to enabling evidence-based veterinary medicine research.

Develop subject and transferable skills

Contributor: Nieky van Veggel @Nieky_WUC, Biosciences.

Idea: In order to encourage development of both subject-related and transferable skills in their curriculum, this assessment asks the students in groups to analyse a new animal feed in the laboratory. Then they are required to design a package and a commercial advertising video for this product. The product design and video were presented by students, after which they were questioned on their work. With some out-of-the-box thinking, this idea could easily be adapted to other disciplines by choosing discipline-specific products.

Practitioner comments: “Students enjoyed the opportunity to be creative and demonstrate their understanding through product design. Some students went as far as to role-play their commercial video or create a 3D model a feed package.”

Credits: Tracey Coop (@TraceyCoop1) and Rosa Verwijs

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