Life after PhD
Career advice, tips and hope from those at the other side of the tunnel.
Professors Kevin O’Gorman and Robert Macintosh provide ten hints to early career researchers when going for an academic job interview.
Professors Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman develop on ten valuable hints for ECRs starting on a new job.
As a junior academic researcher, the issue of ‘innovativeness’ in academic research has been a continual cause of anxiety and doubt: is it wise for a Junior Scholar to be innovative?
By about the mid-point of your PhD journey, it becomes apparent that getting a successful completion signals not the end per se, but the end of the beginning. For some, the PhD is the summation of their academic endeavours, allowing you to retire undefeated from the world of education bearing its highest accolade. For others, especially those aspiring to an academic career, PhDs are the entry ticket to a world where reputation is all. So how do you build your academic reputation?
Now, before we go any further, clearly articulating you theory, context, data collection, and data analysis is not enough to get published, however, not doing is enough to get your paper desk rejected.
Clear articulation of all three things is subject to a sensible selection process; a general review might not require the application of any particular theory, whilst a conceptual paper may not involve the collection and analysis of original data, but once you know what type of paper you are writing, you should be able to break it down. Being able to explain your paper in relation to each of these sections is of great help when considering both the ways in which to frame the paper, and the gaps that your research addresses.
Recently, I had a journal article published in the International Journal and Management Reviews titled “Expanding the Domain of Festival Research: A Review and Research Agenda”. The paper undertook a systematic literature review whereby myself and my co-authors recognised the critical role festival founder’s (entrepreneurs) play in the initiation and continuance of festivals and the importance of the wider networks in which festivals are locally embedded.
I recently got an acceptance from a journal for my article: “Exploring the disconnect in policy implementation: A case of enterprise policy in England” but only after nearly 3 years of writing, rewriting, editing, and addressing comments from colleagues, reviewers, and the editor. No-one told me that the publication game took so much time, patience and perseverance not to mention pain. The only mantra I heard over and over again was “publish or perish” – this old adage is alive and kicking, and more often than not, keeping me awake at night!
The newest kid on the block in academic search is a British-based company called Sparrho. With over 21,000 sources and 5 million search items, the platform allows from a more customised and research-led user experience for the academic world. I always welcome new tools that can make research easier to conduct, so I was excited when I read about this new platform.
Whether or not you want to continue into a long-term academic career, a Post-Doctoral role will give you the valuable and eminently desirable experience of working on a fixed-term project (or projects) as part of a highly skilled team. If this appeals, then ideally you should start looking for specific Post-Doctoral roles whilst writing up your thesis , as advertisements often appear several months in advance of the start date.
The specific activities and responsibilities of a Post-Doctoral role will vary between disciplines, departments, and institutions, but the overall expectations are likely to be similar: an individual emphasis on either teaching or research, with minimal supervision and plenty of opportunities to collaborate with senior academics. This is another step towards the end goal of Professor Emeritus! My current (primarily research) role sees me working simultaneously on multiple projects with multiple authors, and one of the principal challenges is time management.