In preparing to re-launch our Blog I thought I’d look at how PhD students, researchers and those supporting PhD students and researchers were using their Blogs in the hope that this will inspire me.
First things first: when you put “PhD Blogs” into Bing don’t click on the first hit, unless you want to read about the training routine of Men’s Health models (what exactly is a ‘Glute-Ham raise’?!) - PhD it turns out is a sports nutrition company providing ‘optimum dietary solutions for the modern athlete’!
Lots of PhD students write their own Blogs describing their experiences of being a research student as well as reflecting on their actual research. My PhD Blog recounts the journey of Malene Charlotte Larsen a student in the Department of Communication at Aalborg University. Although this journey is over now – she successfully defended her thesis more than 12 months ago – her Blog stands as a fascinating record of her 4 years as a doctoral student; the trials and errors, the highs and the lows. Andy Coverdale’s Blog, a current PhD student in Education at the University of Nottingham, equally captures the ups and downs of the experience; while Adventures in Gradland has a slightly greater proclivity for the downs. The value of following such Blogs lies, I guess, in giving those in the early stages of their PhD a clearer sense on what lies ahead; those in the midst of the wilderness years – that period between ‘finishing’ the research and handing the damn thing in – the knowledge that they really aren’t on their own in this; and those of us who have made it out the other side a chance to reminisce about those long lovely days in the library and the many hours spent checking all the references were right – they weren’t by the way.
Blogs have also become a tool for supervisors and those generally responsible for researcher development to reflect and advise on the experience. A favourite of mine is Robert Macintosh’s Blog, a Professor in Strategic Management at the University of Glasgow. Set up as a way of addressing the FAQs of his own marketing students it actually provides a wealth of useful information on all aspects of doing the PhD for students of any discipline: check out, for example, the mechanics of doing a literature review; or your PhD contribution. Unsurprisingly, Vitae also hosts a Blog entitled What’s Up Doc? offering all manner of advice, guidance and comments for and from PhD students.
The path to finding yet more PhD relevant Blogs lies with the Top 50 Blogs Every Graduate Student Should Read but I wondered whether anyone out there would like to recommend a Blog to follow or whether any of you keep a Blog yourself who would like to share how and why they do so…?