Posts Tagged ‘Research Support’


September 2, 2011 1 comment

Who would have thought one could find real connection and support for researchers on twitter?  I certainly would not have guessed it.

Well, if you’re a post graduate student I thoroughly recommend you check out the twitter group #phdchat created by a group of UK researchers, in particular – Nasima Riazat aka @NSRiazat.  Here  you will find more than a thousand PhD-ers, MRes-ers,  MPhil-ers, DEd-ers, DPhil-ers, and other students/graduates who regularly post their tweets.

There are many beneficial ways of interacting with the community:

One way is simply the ad hoc following of peoples tweets and sharing your own tweets whenever you feel like it 24 hours per day!  I use the application called tweet deck that keeps me updated – but I do find it necessary to switch it off as twitter can be a real useful procrastination tool for researchers :o) There are loads of people posting their blog entries, sharing links to articles and other resources, and sometimes just sharing an emotion or two of joy or frustration.  If you have a question that you want to crowd source then try tweeting it – more often than not someone with more experience than you replies.  For example: I had some trouble with #NVivo – and I was knocked over when QSR support contacted me directly…after seeing one of my tweets.  Another member of the group  helped me out with a few other NVivo things, and as my own experience grows I find I’m doing the same for others.  On tools generally, there is loads of discussion on things like #papers2, #scrivener, #mendeley etc. that all take time to learn.

Another way to get some benefit is to join the weekly scheduled session at Wednesday 730pm-830pm BST… for me at 10:30pm UAE time.  Even though I’ve been following this community for months, I finally joined one of these regular sessions this past week and found it a lot of fun.  I was a bit overwhelmed but I did my best to follow the fast moving conversation threads.  I picked up some real gems including one conversation thread on the question of voice and representation – and in particular how others are navigating this conversation between literature, data, and themselves as the researcher/author.

There is also a wiki with various resources there that members can tap into.  Here is the link: 

I’d like to make it clear is that before #phdchat, as I took on my studies as an international part-time student – it would not be uncommon to feel a bit lonely or somewhat disconnected.  I now tap into the community almost daily, and thanks to #phdchat these feelings of isolation are now almost completely gone.   You can tweet, or read tweets at any time any place e.g like a couple of nights ago while I was waiting for Popeyes for my food order, or waiting for my son to come out from the service station, or I’ve even been known to tweet on the loo!  I have my own tag for this #TOT for tweet on toilet.

One final benefit I’ve noticed is that I feel much less of a need to be bothering my supervisor with adhoc questions or emails.  I’m not saying that #phdchat replaces your supervisor – of course not – but that I’m ok with a bit more space between meetings/emails etc.  In sum, the #phdchat community for me is a group of talented, interesting, intellectual, emotionally connected, and funny researchers who help each other through a journey that few understand.  I hope I’ve motivated you to at least take a look.  Introduce yourself – either anonymously as some do (I’m known as @kiwicito) or with your name.

We will look forward to welcoming you.  I’m 100% certain you will find #phdchat useful – and you’ll make some new friends guaranteed!