But, journals are for girls! – A case for research journals

german_smallFür die deutsche Fassung bitte hier klicken!

researchjournal_klein(Photo by me – here they are, my research journals!)

 

What happened?

… maybe journals are mostly for girls, who knows. But they are also for researchers. Journals in general are pretty handy little things: they keep your thoughts safe, and when you look back, they might contain very valuable information. So, just as a diary that serves as a reminder of what one did on a particular day, a research journal does quite the same. However, they seem to be quite rarely used, at least by the people around me. This should change!

First of all, what is a research journal? As already said, it is a journal that very much works like a diary, just for academic work. In a research journal one notes down thoughts on the research process, like on the topic, hypotheses, literature, possible interpretations, you name it. A waste of time, I hear? No, not all.

What do I think about this?

So, why do I think that a research journal is the essential tool in academia? Let’s cover the obvious first:

* Keeping stuff in order – first of all, everything is kept in a journal, which implies some kind of a bound notebook. In my opinion, scattered loose-leaf collections do not count as research journals since they are rarely put away in a fashion in that one can access what’s written on them quickly. And for me, time is crucial when it comes to finding and using my notes. Apart from that, if everything is kept in one place – whether in a notebook or in a folder  – things do not tend to get lost as quickly as they would otherwise.

* Keeping thoughts safe – related to the first point, but not quite the same. While going through a few things of my first year as a PhD, I found many, many notes scribbled on journal articles, worksheets, to-do-lists and so on and so forth. Many notes which would be lost if I did not decide at that very moment to transfer the most valuable ones into a notebook. Some of these scribbled notes helped me a great deal, over a year later that I wrote them! So, keeping things in one place helps not to forget what might be valuable information in the future.

* A nice memory and encouragement – okay, probably just me being girly here, but I like to look at old stuff. Also, it helps me to pick myself up at times when I think I did not achieve anything in months – not true. It’s all in the journal. Some days were slower than others, but all in all, I did achieve at least something and got nearer to my goal. So, a research journal can also help to get motivated!

Conclusions

So, all in all, just keeping a research journal can help the research process a great deal, especially when one is working on a single project for years, like a PhD. But I also think that keeping such a journal is very valuable when writing a bachelor’s or master’s dissertation. Even though the time frame is considerably shorter, gathering ideas and literature can be quite daunting. So, noting thoughts can be of great help when trying to figure out a topic or just checking which books were already read.

My experience with keeping a research journal is great. So, get one, too!

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Summer, hot weather… and writing journal articles

german_smallBitte hier für die deutsche Fassung klicken!

journalarticleKlein(Photo by me)


What happened?

What to do – it’s over 30 °C outside, and it has been that way for the past two weeks or so. Not the best weather for getting work done (I admit, I work best in winter, but then again, who doesn’t?), but alas, I attended a writing course – yes, yet another, but this time on writing journal articles. This course was part of the Leuphana University Lüneburg’s PhD student training, and was taught by Dr Isabell May.

What do I think about this?

As said quite a few times before, I appreciate these kind of courses a lot, and think that they’re very important in any PhD programme. Why? That’s easy – a lot in academia may work through ‘learning by doing’, but I think that focused efforts on helping young academics, such as PhD students, can prevent quite a few pitfalls and obstacles.

Just like this course. It was open to all PhD students of the university, natural and social scientists alike. This led to disciplinary strains at times because of differences in conventions, but all in all, the advice I got was very valuable. So, what did I learn? Here are what I would like to call the ‘three top tips’:

Know Your Journal: Don’t start writing your article before you know the journal you want to publish it in (or maybe two to three journals). What do the articles normally look like? What kind of stylistic elements do they use? How would your work fit in there? Do not start before you know all this because this will increase your chances to get accepted quite a bit.

Use The Hour Glass Model: Imagine an hour glass, with its broad top and bottom, and its slim middle. This is what a good journal article could look like. Start broad in the introduction by getting from a wide question to your specific topic. Then get slimmer and slimmer, going from the literature review to results, and then get broader again in the discussion and conclusions part. This structure focuses on your specific findings, but also leaves room for showing how these findings fit in the broader academic debate.

Structure Your Sections: Do not only structure article as a whole, but also the sub-sections. Whether it’s the methods section or the results section, if there is a lot going on, sub-headings can work wonders. The reader gets a quick overview of your work even when just skimming the paper, and this could be a definite plus in a world where people have a lot to read,.

These are only three tips out of many, many more, but I believe these are very valuable. Whoever is interested in learning more, here’s the website that accompanied the course: http://writingajournalarticle.wordpress.com. Quite a lot of things to read, but it’s definitely worth it when a journal article is coming up.

Conclusions

All in all, I learned a lot in this course. With these things, it’s more about becoming aware of things than anything else – what are the conventions in my discipline? How do other authors structure their articles? And, most important, what can I learn from this and apply to my own work? So, I would definitely recommend to any PhD student to look for a course like this.

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Writing at university – a piece of cake?

german_smallPlease click here for the German version!

 

blockklein(My photograph)


What happened?

I attended a workshop (three weekends in total) on a topic that does not seem to get enough attention at university – at least it does not in Germany – and that is writing. Nobody ever talks about that, the common stance seems to be that everyone know how to write, how to string words together, and thus, everyone is also supposed to know how to deal with essays and final dissertations. This is what my own time as an undergrad and also postgrad was like – I always worked according to the “try and error” system, which was sometimes working out fine, sometimes not so much. Some essays took forever, some I wrote fairly quickly. Well, I wrote somehow, that was it.

But, the question is, is it really necessary to leave students alone with this? Is this really part of the daily “uni struggle” just because “this is the way it is”? Well, I don’t think so, and the workshop called “Supervising essays/dissertations” at Leuphana University Lüneburg, lead by Prof. Dr. Ingrid Scharlau and Christine Heß, showed me that there are quite different approaches to this.

What do I think about this?

Well, as for myself, I rarely struggle with writing. No writer’s block, nothing. Why? Well, I only thought about this during the aforementioned workshop, and I came to the conclusion that even though I have never attended any sort of formal training, I went through the “school of life”: during my master’s at the London School of Economics and Political Science, I always had to write something during term time – essays of around five pages, short answers to given questions, all-the-time. But, that was no piece of cake, and even though I learned a lot from just doing it, I would not recommend this way to everyone.

And that there definitely are other ways to deal with writing at university – this is what I learned during the workshop. The first weekend gave some theoretical background on writing and writing psychology, and so we, the participants, worked our way through the writing process. Concerning the drafting stage, we looked at techniques like mind maps and clustering, and scrutinised our own writing habits. The next step was the writing process itself, so we focused on topics like writer’s block and several strategies to deal with an essay or a bigger piece of writing. The last weekend was all about giving (and receiving) feedback – that is especially important for us lecturers!  Giving “good” (and thus, “useful”) feedback is quite a feat and does not come naturally.

For every single step we did all the proposed exercises ourselves, and often discussed them afterwards. There was a plethora of different exercises – ranging from a “writing talk” in a group, in which the question “What disrupts my writing?” was discussed (of course only by using a pen and not the mouth!), or writing a fairy tale, and so on, and so forth. I think that this was crucial, doing it all myself – yes, it was not easy to get started with “that stuff”, but now I know exactly how the exercises work and how I (and others) feel while doing them.

So, what to do with this new knowledge? I will plan and conduct my own writing workshop, where I will see which techniques and exercises work (and which don’t) for students. We will see how that works out, but I believe that students do not have to be left alone with their (writing) worries. Solutions can be easy – I would’ve never believed that just sitting down and “free write” anything that comes to my head for five minutes on a given topic would help to get my thoughts back on track!

Conclusions

So, why did I attend this workshop even though I am not a typical “writing worrier”? That’s easy: since I do not suffer from these problems, I also struggle with giving advice when students of mine come to me and ask for help concerning their writing. Well, I know how I do it, but that’s not how everyone writes. So I decided to learn about that, and I am actually looking forward to the next essay phase. And, well, concerning my own PhD thesis, knowing things like that never hurt…

 

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Conference Report: Back from the USA!

eusa_schild(My own photograph)

 

Well, I went to the United States of America to attend a conference. It was a great experience, and I would like to share a few impressions.

I went to the 13th Biennial European Union Studies Association Conference (short: EUSA) in Baltimore, Maryland, a nice city just an hour away from Washington, D.C.. EUSA is quite a big conference which is solely dedicated to European Studies, and everything in that area may presented here, from papers on defence policies to European directives on wine regulation (I’m not kidding here! Check out panel 1J in the program!). Around 500 people were there, and a plethora of panel sessions were on at the same time over the three conference days.

First of all, having to decide on a single panel (out of approximately eleven on at the same time) every time was not easy. Many topics were interesting to me, however, I often attended panels which discussed the European Parliament or representation – topics which are very close to my own research. So I listened to talks on the “The Implications of the European Parliament’s Budgetary for Democracy in the EU” (Asli Baysal, University of Florida) and “The Role of EP Administrators in the EU Policy Process” (Christine Neuhold, Maastricht University), for example, but also to many, many more. All panel sessions were not only highly interesting, but also gave my insight when deciding on what to do next in my own project – after all, EU Studies often suffer from the same problems, e.g. from not being theoretically relevant (enough) outside of the sub-discipline.

I was on panel 10E „Inside the European Parliament and the Commission“, which was chaired and discussed by Wilhelm Lehmann (European Parliament). There were four presentations, including my own. Bjørn Høyland (University of Oslo) and Sara Hobolt (London School of Economics) (the third, but absentee author was Simon Hix, also from the London School of Economics) started the panel with their paper on „Career Paths in Legislative Activities of Members of the European Parliament“ and gave great insights on what the Members of the EP do after their time in parliament is over. The next presentation was given by Jessica Fortin-Rittberger (GESIS) and Berthold Rittberger (University of Munich) and concerned „Electoral Rules or Weak Diffusion of Gender Equality Norms? Explaining National Differences in Women’s Representation in the European Parliament“. They researched what determines why women are much more represented in the European Parliament than in national parliaments. The last presentation, apart from my own, was called „A Man’s World? Gender, Networking and Careers in the European Commission“ and given by Hussein Kassim (and co-written by Sara Conolly, both University of East Anglia). They studied very similar topic as the presentation before, but with a focus on the European Commission.
My own presentation went well, was well attended, and I am glad I got many useful comments on how to proceed with my PhD thesis. Of course, I was excited and nervous when I went on to the speaker’s desk, but everything, from handling the technology to the delivery of the actual speech, went well. I guess one really does grow with the challenge!

Apart from getting comments on my work, I also met many interesting people who I hope to see again in the future. I recognised quite a few names in the program, authors I read during my university studies – seeing them in person was quite the experience, too! Speaking of that, Andrew Moravcsik gave a talk on one of the evenings – and even though I did not agree with quite a few of his points (to cut a long story short: some of his opinions were just too strong for my taste), his speech was compelling.

All in all, EUSA was a great conference, and I hope I will be able to attend again in two years.

eusa_panel(Photograph by me – my panel from left to right:
Hussein Kassim, Jessica Fortin-Rittberger, Berthold Rittberger, me,
Bjørn Høyland, Wilhelm Lehmann, Sara Hobolt)

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Goodbye LSE – It’s been a pleasure as always!

german_small

Für die deutsche Fassung bitte hier klicken!

goodbyelse(Photo taken by me)

 

What happened?

Well, my time as a Visiting Research Student at the London School of Economics and Political Science is over. Six months can go by so fast! But it has been a truly enriching experience, as the master’s at LSE had already been. This post is just to wrap up and to draw an overall conclusion for myself and give some recommendation which may be of help to others.

What do I think?

To start with what’s at the very end of the PhD time: Just talking to other PhD students made me feel more sure about what I wanted to do after the PhD, and I found others who follow the same path. Just being able to talk to people in another university system about current or coming struggles related to this career path helped me to see opportunities (as well as obstacles, I have to admit) that I wouldn’t have thought about if I stayed home. I hope others felt the same way! In short, getting to know new people helped me personally as well as the progress of my thesis.
Talk to others, support each other and expand your network!

However, I have learnt that it’s not feasible to go anywhere just to go away. I knew LSE well since I did my master’s there. So I knew which facilities were open to PhD students and which courses would benefit me and my work. Of course there were surprises, it would’ve been boring without them, but getting a pretty clear picture of what is to be expected certainly helps. Six months might sound like a lot of time, but if you lose two months or so because you have to adjust to the place and hunt after basic information like course information, these months are over very fast without any real input. Also, don’t forget – make sure that your supervisor there knows your topic and your research area well!
Choose the institution carefully so that it fits your needs!

In sum, it was incredibly enlightening to go to another university for a few months. Many people have written and said this before, but changing your perspective can do wonders do your work. In my case, it certainly did. It’s not that I ran out of things to do before I boarded the plane to London, but I wasn’t brimming with ideas either. Just talking to other people – familiar with my subject or not – helped me to see my project in a new light and helped me to come up with many new ideas. This meant (and still means) a lot if work, but I think my thesis improved quite a bit because of this research stay. Also, I see my home university in a new light, especially the things I initially took for granted. Going away may be great, but don’t forget that coming home also is.
Go abroad to get new ideas and a new perspective on your work!

Conclusions

I could say so much more, ranging from how you also need time off when you’re gone as well as that it’s of course not all jolly all the time, but I believe I mentioned the main points. Just go for it if going abroad fits your topic and your needs. It takes a whole lot of preparation, but it is definitely worth it.
I would do it again in a heartbeat – but now it’s time to go back home. There are many exciting things in store and I promise I will be able to share some of them soon!

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People on Twitter are different – at least in their political opinions

german_smallPlease click here for the German version!

obama(Screenshot: Twitter, hashtag „#obama“)

What happened?

Being a user of Twitter myself, I love browsing the endless hashtags that define the mircoblogging service. The hashtags – a handy way to mark topics, e.g. “#politicalscience – provide a way into every topic imaginable, from the latest football game over grumpy cats and also to political discussion.

However, as the Pew Research Center found, these political discussions are not representative of the wider population and the opinions are often skewed.

What do I think about this?

Twitter not being representative of, well, anything, does not come as a surprise. Even though the service is flooded with new messages every second, only a small fraction of the population is on Twitter, and lots of the accounts are actually dead or have never been used at all. Apart from that, Twitter, according to Pew, seems to be a medium of the young, not unlike many other social networking sites like Facebook or Google+.

So, no surprise here that opinions on political issues and events are skewed in a certain direction. But what struck me is that opinion on Twitter is often negative when it comes to politics.

The Pew Internet Institute researched eight major political events (mostly revolving around the US presidential election) and analysed the “tone” of the messages using an automated method. Of course one can question this approach since automated research is often full of mistakes. However, I think this is a viable approach when considering that their sample consisted of thousands of tweets, and I think that an overall “tone” can very well be assessed like this.

So, why is political opinion on Twitter skewed in a negative way?

The answers are still out there, but first of all, my guess would be that Twitter is often used as a means to vent – “I dislike this, I dislike that”. The fact that it is very easy to set up an account and type a few words (after all, there is a strict character limit) that one may not think completely through does not help the matter.

Apart from that, one has to look at the context of the study, which was the US presidential election. This was a highly contested topic, even in the traditional media, and negative “news” about candidates is widely utilised in the US. So, one could ask if the sample was biased in the first place. People also tweet from local events with local politicians who do not polarise nearly as much. Maybe a comparison with other events, e.g. from local or regional elections, would show a different picture.

Conclusions

So, believe it or not, Twitter is actually not only a place for telling the world about what one had for dinner, but also to discuss political issues. I know what I’m talking about because sometimes I am part of these discussions. It’s not only fun, but it is also a good way to immediately see what other people are thinking on a certain topic.

I know from personal experience that politics and political events are not only seen negative by the people on Twitter. I follow quite a few highly active people who talk about politics most of the time, and their views are balanced (see Jon Worth or Twitter’s residential dragon fairy Puffles).

In sum, I think that Pew’s study is very interesting in pointing out what role Twitter can play in politics, but I also think that a wider study would be needed here.
If I only had the time… :)

Sources

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Plagiarism and so on – I’ve always refused to comment on that…

german_smallPlease click here for the German version!

dokt(My own photograph – however, please note that this is the master’s gown, not the doctoral gown)


What happened?

… but here I am. Well, there is something that is getting on my nerves quite a bit, something that may appear peculiar for anyone who’s not German. But here we go, let’s give it a try.

So, this isn’t about just any kind of plagiarism, but plagiarism concerning doctoral theses. In Germany, there is quite a discussion revolving around that since quite a few highly positioned politicians lost their PhDs because it was uncovered they – allegedly – cheated and took large quantities of text from other sources that they did not cite. I did not read any of these theses nor did I check their references, so I cannot comment on the individual cases. Since the debate has been going on for a while and is quite lengthy, I can only recommend this article in the Guardian by Timothy Garton Ash: Is there a doctor in the house?. It gives a good summary of what happened.

However, discussion does not stop with these singular cases. The thing is that many German media outlets seem to publish more and more articles on how doctoral theses in general are not worth much these days – or at all.

And this is why I feel the need to finally say something.

What do I think about this?

First things first, I am a full-time PhD student. And when I say “full-time”, I definitely mean it – writing a doctoral thesis is a 24/7 project for me. It’s a project I love, however, it takes lots of time that I don’t have for other things, like for my hobbies. There are strict deadlines I have to make – the conference where I present my work won’t be postponed because I didn’t get my paper ready. Anyway, as said before, I love what I am doing.

I don’t plagiarize. Apart from the fact that I generate my own dataset and thus cannot steal any data, I already learned in high school that one does not steal ideas/writings/etc. from others. And I also learned how to reference others’ thoughts and work correctly. So, what’s the problem? I write a paragraph, I reference one or two sources, depending on the type of citation with quotations marks or without. That’s it and it’s not something that is worth discussing. Referencing is just a routine that every first year student is familiar with.

I guess there is hardly anyone who is on vacation 365 days a year, and that also includes me. As mentioned before, I am not lying on a beach somewhere, but work on my thesis every day. PhD students are not lazy, they are not partying all day and night, and they do not get their results and their certificates handed to them on a silver plate. I cannot speak for every single PhD student, of course, but all the PhD students I know are taking their work very seriously, and it’s irrelevant whether they are full-time or part-time students. Writing a doctoral thesis is not easy and it’s not some task one does while watching the telly.

Last but not least, I do not strive for a PhD in order to just put these few letters on my business card (which is quite a thing in Germany). Much of the media coverage these days implicitly suggests that PhD graduates are just craving for validation, and nothing more. No, for me, that’s not it. I want to stay in the academic world, to become a lecturer and more, so the PhD is a stepping stone on this way. But even if that wasn’t the case, if I wanted to get out to the “real world” after the PhD, that would be solely my decision. Also, being a full-time or a part-time PhD student is not a quality indicator for doing great research. Anyway, I would not do all this just for a few more letters on my business card.

Conclusions

It makes me sad to see that the media (in Germany, at least) are conveying the picture that a PhD is not of much worth. And why is that – because a few politicians allegedly plagiarised? Okay, fair enough, but what about the masses of PhD students who are working hard for their thesis and their goals for three or more years?

I don’t plagiarize. And I am tired of hearing people say the following: “Don’t plagiarize, okay?” Meant in a playful way or not, this is neither witty nor funny. I work hard on my thesis, and I do not want flowers or a nobel prize for that. But am I asking too much if I want these offending words to stop and a bit of appreciation for what I am doing?

Sources

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Turn the radio on! – Interview with Euranet

german_smallFür die deutsche Fassung bitte hier klicken!

radio(My own photograph)


What happened?

I was interviewed by the European Radio Network „Euranet“ at the beginning of this month. That was quite an experience! Thank God journalist Urte Modlich managed to calm me down… The pieces are in German only, unfortunately, but if you do understand German, I‘d encourage you to take a look… or better, listen!

What do I think about this?

Euranet deals with – as the name might already suggest – European news. I was asked to tell a few things about the European parliament, and of course I said yes! There is hardly anything better out there in the world of political science than the European parliament, eh?

In the first piece, I comment on something former chancellor Helmut Schmidt said; he appealed to the European parliament to „revolt“ and fight for more rights. This is what I said:

listen(Please click on the picture!)

The second piece deals with the European Year of Citizens 2013 (if you haven’t heard of it, I can only recommend to have a look). Here I talked about the European Ombudsman as well as the Committee on Petitions of the European parliament:

listen(Please click on the picture!)

Conclusions

Giving an interview was a great experience, especially since it was on a topic I like a lot! So, thanks for reading this – and if you know German, have fun listeing to it!

Sources

  • A big thank you goes to Euranet and Urte Modlich!

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The year that was 2012

german_small(Für die deutsche Fassung bitte hier klicken!)

jahres_1(Photo by me – this is Lüneburg!)

What happened?

Yes, what happened a few hours ago? Right, 2013 arrived! And that means that I would like to look back at 2012 and a couple of its (academic) highlights.

1. Becoming a PhD student

I started this blog back in October 2011 as a recent London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) graduate. Well, I am happy that shortly after that I was accepted by Prof. Florian Grotz, my supervisor, as his PhD student. In February 2012, I could finally officially enrol at Leuphana University Lüneburg. And going from there, not even a year has gone by, but so many good things happened to me – who knew that being a PhD student was so exciting? Well, of course there were challenges and obstacles to overcome, but I am glad to say that I managed to do that. My life now is so different from being an undergrad or a Master’s student – I am now (almost) all grown up in the academic world. That poses challenged but is also fun, so I hope that this continues just like that in 2013.

2. GOR12 Thesis Competition

Back in March 2012, I attended a conference on online research – the General Online Research Conference (short: GOR). While being there, I took part in the “Thesis Competition”, a competition for master’s as well as doctoral dissertations. After a pre-selection, six contestants were chosen to present their work at the conference, and I was among them – wow! So I presented my master’s dissertation, not only for the sake of taking part in this competition, but also to get a feel whether my PhD topic – which is closely related to my master’s dissertation – was of interest to others. And well, I got my answer – since I won, I guess my PhD topic wasn’t that boring after all! That was a big thing for me, and looking at the photographs from the award presentation, which feature me grinning like a Cheshire cat, makes me more than just happy.

3. Back at the London School of Economics and Political Science

I did my master’s degree at the LSE, and I missed this university quite a bit after I graduated. For me, studying at the LSE was an extraordinary experience – all my favourite topics (Europe, of course) as well as exciting people in one place. I was very lucky that I got the opportunity to go back as a PhD student. While being there, I could (and still can) work with my then academic adviser and now supervisor Prof. Simon Hix – and I am back in London! Here, I learn about methods and attended workshops on a plethora of issues concerning academica and the life of a PhD student – all of which I will take back with me to Lüneburg in April 2013. There are three months left at the LSE for me and I will fly back in a few days – 2013 starts in a great way!

Conclusions

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of all my highlights last year. Many things happened, and I am grateful for every single one of them. Also, I am grateful for you, my readers – it’s good to know that this website does not go unnoticed.

As for this very new year, there are already lots of things planned – also in the academic sense. So, stay tuned!

With that, I wish everyone a Happy New Year and a great 2013!

 jahres_2

(Photo by me – a symbol for things yet to come…)

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PhD@LSE – The first term is over!


Für die deutsche Fassung bitte hier klicken!

lse_christmas(My own photograph)

What happened?

Well, there are quite I few topics I wanted to cover today originally, but then I felt I had to write a short piece on what happened in the last months. As some of you might have gathered, I went to the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in October to work on my PhD. My home base is Leuphana University Lüneburg in Germany, but since I did my master’s there and my second supervisor, Prof. Simon Hix, is at LSE, I went back to London.

And well, the past three months were amazing. Thank God I will return in January for further three months!

What do I think about it?

Since I went to LSE as a Visiting Research Student, there are hardly any compulsory programme regulations that I have to fulfil. I can essentially do whatever I want, go to the classes I want, and still have all the rights of a regular LSE PhD student. In fact, the status of a “Visiting Research Student” only appears in the official documents, and for the rest of the School I am a PhD student like anybody else. Which is a good thing – I never felt treated like a mere “visitor”.

So, what did I do, apart from working on my thesis? I took a few courses on methods, for example. A general course on qualitative methods, in which I not only simply learned how to do a participant observation or an interview, but I actually went out and did both (see the article „(Un-) Welcome to Downing Street No. 10!“ for a summary of my participant observation)! Also, I learned how to do quantitative stuff, that is regression analysis, something I missed out on in my earlier studies. Well, numbers in huge tables and plots are my thing now! I will need all of this for my PhD research, so this will come in handy quite soon.

Apart from methods, I mingled with other PhD students out of class as well as in a regular workshop, where we not only talked with the professors about how to pursue our projects, but also had a ‘clinic’ (lovingly called “Academics Anonymous”) where we could talk freely about obstacles and challenges we face concerning our lives as PhD students. This was very helpful, seeing that other PhD students deal with the same things.

And of course, I met so many people. People who were enthusiastic about my research,  people who were always there to give support on a plethora of issues, and people with whom it was just nice to have a chat and tea with.

So, I cannot wait to be back in January (even though I am technically not even gone yet – I’m sitting in my little room at my hall of residence while writing this) – this time with even more methods courses – I’m thinking about doing an advanced course in regression analysis – and again lots of opportunities to explore my favourite topics beyond my own research. There is more out there than the European Parliament!

Conclusion

I miss Leuphana University, I really do. But LSE is great, too – seeing new faces, getting new perspectives on my PhD topic. This is why I would recommend visiting another university for a few months during the PhD – and most universities do welcome visitors. Of course going abroad has to make sense somehow in the light of one’s own research.

In sum, week 10 of term is over – and it’s Christmas time! Almost, that is. Anyway, I wish everyone a great time with lots of mulled wine and mince pies (for the Brits)!

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