Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Working through research translation (Ilan Abrahams)

Most of us want to translate our ideas into forms that connect with the world. To get that work out that we’ve nurtured over the hours, months, and years.

Maybe this translation is part of a series of translations happening all the time? From the basic sensations of what we smell, hear and see, translated through emotions and patterns, into words and phrases in our heads. Then onto the computer, and through successive edits to the world beyond.

But, hold on, isn’t good communication a two–way process? Listening to other people, audiences and participants, too? Or, at least, trying to imagine what life is like from their perspective?

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

La Trobe's Academic Writing Month kicks off this November!

Photo by neonbrand | unsplash.com
For the past six years, La Trobe's RED team has coordinated a multi-campus Academic Writing Month – or AcWriMo for short.

This year’s AcWriMo kicks off on Thursday 1 November with a special Shut Up and Write (SUAW) at Bundoora, and runs through to the end of the month with a writing retreat at Albury-Wodonga (28-30 November).

Between these dates there will be a fabulous assortment of special events that focus attention on academic writing for La Trobe researchers (including graduate researchers). While some offerings are still in the pipeline, here is a brief snapshot of the month ahead:

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Who are you at the University? (Clare McCausland)

Photo by Tseen Khoo
I enjoy recalling the blissful years of my undergraduate studies, when I went to “UNI” each day and I was a “STUDENT” (not a customer, as my pin proudly declared).

I was delighted to have a real student email address – my first email address (this was the mid-1990s!) – and login to all that new technology.

Sometime after I graduated, I got a nice office job at a university. I went to “WORK”. I was a “STAFF” member and my ID card said so. I had a nicer-looking staff email address and login.

Then I enrolled in a graduate research degree at the same institution. I was then going to UNI two days a week and WORK three days a week – catching the very same bus each day and effortlessly maintaining two email accounts for their different purposes. I never, ever checked my work email on my days off.

Then I got another job as a Research Assistant. Suddenly, I was a “RESEARCHER” – and also a “GRADUATE RESEARCHER”. I remember thinking to myself, ‘But isn’t that the same thing?’

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Dealing with your fear of speaking in public (Science Is My Favourite Colour)

Photo by David Laws | unsplash.com
When giving a talk, the worst thing a person is afraid of is making mistakes that will consequently lead to embarrassment.

Different people do have different skills on managing public audiences.

There are people who love giving talks, and those who feel that speaking in public is their worst nightmare.

However, when it comes to talking in front of an audience, everyone can experience fears.

In this post, we offer ideas that can help you make an astounding presentation!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Opening space for creative research methods (Sarah Houseman)

Figure 1: Creative exploration of NGO governance dynamics.
Photo: Houseman 2017
I am preparing for the forthcoming Creative Research Methodologies Practicum (hosted by La Trobe University), and I am excited.

There are a decent bunch of us from La Trobe, Melbourne University, the MIECAT Institute and RMIT University who are coming together to share our creative methodologies in scholarship.

I laugh to myself when someone outside Australia tweets: “Maybe something similar will be held in Europe or North America!”

It enlivened this tweeter, too. Yet such explorations are not ordinary occurrences in academia. If we consider that our methods of engagement in/with the world reflect how we make knowledge, and also what is deemed knowable, this is a worthwhile inquiry.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

10 tips for the overwhelmed researcher (Autumn O'Connor)

Photo by Kevin Ku | unsplash.com
Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem - we all have 24-hour days
   - Zig Ziglar

Feeling overwhelmed? Too many deadlines and too little time? Supervisor on your back to submit something? 

While it won’t solve all your woes, perhaps what you need is a little help with time management.

Here are 10 tips to help you manage your time better - use a few strategies, or use 'em all!

I highly recommend you take a breath and reflect on these. They might just help!

1. Focus on what needs to be done

Prioritise! I know it seems like a super-fun idea to check your Facebook, or watch that cat video, but writing your thesis should probably be the first port of call.

‘OMG, my thesis is what’s making me feel overwhelmed!’ I hear you cry. Yes, I understand that.

What I'd suggest is, instead of looking at the thesis as a giant insurmountable task, change your concept of it to be a set of smaller, manageable tasks. How? By, assessing what NEEDS to be done first. Things that don't need to be done? Don't do them!

For example, if you don't need to learn SPSS right now, don't. This doesn’t mean you’ll never learn it, but that you are prioritising. Is the motivations section of Chapter 1 most important right now? If not, don’t do it. Yes, you will get to these in time but, right now, to manage those feelings of being overwhelmed, focus on what absolutely needs to be done.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Putting your event on La Trobe researchers’ radar! (Lise Leitner)

Photo by Hello I'm Nik | unsplash.com
If you are a graduate researcher, organising a university event for the first time can seem intimidating.

Organising something within and for your local research community, however, is a great way to gain leadership experience. You get to meet new and different people in your research discipline, and share knowledge.

That’s what initiatives like the Intellectual Climate Fund are for, so you can create these projects AND get some help and funding along the way!

So, once you’ve got the key event elements locked down, how do you make sure people will actually show up? Where do you go to promote your event?

I get asked these kinds of questions all the time as a communications professional working at La Trobe. Luckily, I can provide you with some tips and answers!

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Did you know about the post-submission blues? (Laena D'Alton)

Photo by Kelly Sikkema | unsplash.com
I used to think that the high point of my PhD journey would be submitting my thesis.

I would dream of celebrations (involving cake), and a massive high that I could ride into the next stage in life.

I’d never considered that anything other than sheer joy and satisfaction would follow completing what feels like a mammoth task.

Now, I know to prepare with a more realistic perspective. While this dream may be a reality for some students, I have learned that this is not everyone’s experience. Sometimes, students can be overwhelmed by ‘post submission blues’, including pessimism, worry, anxiety, sadness and depression.

I’m still pre-submission so I can’t talk from personal experience but I'm grateful to my peers who candidly shared with me their post-submission challenges and joys. I feel I can much better prepare for life post-submission.

I hope this post prompts other students to engage in such conversations, too.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Help the editor, help yourself (Andy Hill)

This is the third of the RED Alert’s ‘What do editors want?’ series! 

For this series, we solicited blogposts from La Trobe's experienced academic editors, and asked them to share their perspectives and experiences with us. We're often told about impact factors and citation metrics but it's harder to get to know how journals actually work and what editors look for in paper submissions.

In this third entry, Professor Andy Hill shares his extensive experience in academic publishing. Andy’s had key roles with several scholarly publications, and shares with us his Top 5 tips for making your publishing life a lot more efficient. 


I am an academic and associate editor for a number of journals including PLoS One, the International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and Journal of Extracellular Vesicles.

This generally involves handling manuscripts assigned to me by the Editor in Chief of the journal, finding reviewers of the manuscripts, and making decisions on the basis of the reviewers’ comments.

It is a task that is done outside of my normal working day and needs to be handled with some urgency. Nobody likes to wait more than necessary for their papers to be reviewed – me, included!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Career planning as a research project (Jason Brown)

Photo by Stefan Stefancik | unsplash.com
I have a confession to make.

I am a career development manager and a doctoral researcher, and I don’t know what I’ll be doing when people start calling me Dr Brown.

I do hope to find the ideal job where I can continue my research, do some teaching, present at international conferences, and perhaps in a faraway place people might start calling me Professor Brown. But I’m realistic enough to recognise that this may not ever happen.

Hey, right now, I’m making a big assumption that I’ll be able to sustain a full-time managerial job, family life and part-time study for another 4 or 5 years!

Given my dream of being a professor of career development, the traditional or deductive way for me to develop a career plan would be to identify all the steps I need to take from where I currently am to get to a professor.

But we know that life doesn’t play out in an orderly, linear path. Stuff happens along the way.