As a full time worker and part time doctoral researcher I don't often get the time to join in the academic research community. I decided to right this wrong by attending my first research conference as a researcher (I've attended lots in my professional role representing my University employer, but never just representing me). I opted for the ProPEL Conference at the University of Stirling. ProPEL
is... ' a collaborative, multi-professional international network to promote research and knowledge exchange in leading issues of professional education, practice and learning. ProPEL
was launched in 2010 when Professor Tara Fenwick joined the University of Stirling' http://www.propel.stir.ac.uk/about.Top 5 reason for choosing ProPEL
1.The research themes of the network a seemed to fit pretty well with my research into the career narratives of higher education careers professionals.
2. It wasn't too expensive and involved only a train journey as opposed to a flight
3. The Higher Education Academy generously agreed to fund my attendance in exchange for a short report and agreement to disseminate.
4. I like Stirling - its got a great castle and the Wallace monument (that's the view from my window!)
5. I could submit a poster instead of presenting a paper
Anyway, I went, the keynotes were interesting, some of the papers were great but the most useful bit was getting to meet and chat with fellow researchers from all over the world. And sometimes I even knew what they were talking about! Seriously, it was great to be able to discuss grounded theory and Nvivo without getting strange looks. I met researchers from Norway, Finland, Canada, USA, France and more. I collected email addresses and offers of help. People were genuinely interested and wanting to make connections.
My poster, to be honest, wasn't great. My first effort and done in Power Point - apparently there is specific poster software you can use - who knew? But I stood proudly and trepidaciously next to it in a room full of poster people and talked about my research to whoever stopped by for a look. They asked some questions that I couldn't answer and some I could but mostly made me realise that I need to do a lot more reading before I go to another conference! Next time I'll do a paper, it can't be that hard....