North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership

“You are writing to dance with the reader”

Ting Liu, Social Statistics, University of Manchester (2019 Cohort)

In mid-November, I attended a writing training session “Writing from a reader’s perspective”, which was an interactive workshop examining ideas of academic style. Although writing is seen as the usual routine for a third-year PhD researcher, doing that well is not like a familiar job completed with ease especially for people like me whose first language is not English. I have been doing research on the UK’s climate change attitudes and green lifestyle based in the department of social statistics at the University of Manchester for three years, but I still found it hard to balance what I want the reader know and what the reader wants to know. Telling a good story is not only establishing your authority as a writer, but also getting into an interactive relationship with your readers. What the whole session made a deep impression on me was that the writer may want to dance with the reader.

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‘Collective Thought as Anti / Decolonial Practice’ Methodological Training.

Naiara Unzurrunzaga, Language Based Area Studies, University of Liverpool (2020 Cohort)

As I started my MRes programme last October, I was interested in exploring how existing Intercultural Education programmes for indigenous and other minoritized populations in Latin America, specifically in Brazil, were acting as a resistance strategy and a potential tool for decolonisation. As a former teacher myself, frustrated with my own experience on how, in my view, education systems are hugely reproducing social oppressive relations, I was interested to see how alternative initiatives of education may be addressing and challenging such logics. This was a continuation of a short project I had undertaken in the past before being offered a 1+3 NWSSDTP funding opportunity.

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Attending a one-day training course for managing challenging interviews

Daisy Harvey, Health & Wellbeing, Lancaster University (2020 Cohort)

I recently attended a one-day training course (held over two mornings) for managing challenging interviews, which was advertised through the Social Research Association (SRA).  I’m a second year PhD researcher based in the department of health research at Lancaster University, and my PhD is looking at how people living with bipolar disorder talk about risk-taking. The SRA provide regular practical training which covers qualitative and quantitative methods as well as other research methods and techniques. The courses that the SRA provide begin at £220, although if you are a member of the SRA the courses are £165 and student membership costs £25 for a year.  The course that I attended was delivered by Jane Kerr who is a senior researcher at the NatCen social research organisation. 

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Attending the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) conference

Alex Welsh, Social Statistics, Lancaster University (2019 Cohort)

In September, I went to a conference. In a normal year, this wouldn’t be a particularly unusual development, but it’s 2021, 18-months after the start of lockdown part I, and this conference was IN-PERSON. The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) conference was the first not on Zoom/Teams that I’ve attended since starting my PhD two years ago. Although four days in Manchester wasn’t quite the same as a jaunt to Bilbao (the formerly planned location of another online conference I’d attended), I was excited to get out of my home office and meet new people in my field.

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