Monday, 28 December 2020

Research project skills

Ah: the things we don't know until we see how someone else has presented them! I have been reading Machin et al's (2019) book, "Transversing the Doctorate". Chapter 1 has a lovely section, where the chapter authors - Bautista and Escofet - cover five elements which they feel PhD candidates require if they are to complete their doctorates successfully.

Those five elements are (Machin et al, 2019, p. 18):

  1. "Information: identify, locate, retrieve, store, organise and analyse digital information, judging its relevance and purpose". In other words, we can handle data, and we can turn it into information that adds value to our project.  
  2. "Communication: communicate in digital environments, share resources through online tools, link with others and collaborate through digital tools, interact with and participate in communities and networks, cross-cultural awareness". We can tell others about the data, and explain how we turned it into information, using expert evidence, in a way that is respectful and expansive.  
  3. "Content-creation: Create and edit new content (from word processing to images and video); integrate and re-elaborate previous knowledge and content; produce creative expressions, media outputs and programming; deal with and apply intellectual property rights and licences". We can fit that data and information into new frameworks, make it work in different environments, and see how other's work fits with our own. We can translate our research understanding into other fields.
  4. "Safety: personal protection, data protection, digital identity protection, security measures, safe and sustainable use". We know how to protect those whom we have promised to protect, how to keep our own data safe, and can see what there is of value, and how that too can be protected as much as it needs to be.  
  5. "Problem-solving: identify digital needs and resources, make informed decisions as to which are the most appropriate digital tools according to the purpose or need, solve conceptual problems through digital means, creatively use technologies, solve technical problems, update one’s own and other’s competences". We can extrapolate situations to their logical conclusions, and develop appropriate contingency plans. We get a feel for what we don't know, and set out to either learn, acquire or contract in the skills and tools we need to complete our project. We know how to stay on track. We have planned what 'done' looks like, and can manage to that.
This is a broad, but solid group of skills. It is also easy to see how this fits into almost any aspect of our working lives. 

  • Reference: Machin, T. M., Clara, M., & Danaher, P. A. (2019). Traversing the Doctorate: Reflections And Strategies From Students, Supervisors And Administrators. Palgrave Macmillan.

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