Another PhD blogger…

…well, technically, another research student blogger.

As it stands I am a little over a month into my research degree, and the opening gambit above constitutes one of the many lessons I have learned thus far – that until I have earned my stripes (i.e. progressed to second year having met all of the necessary requirements), then I am not yet technically a PhD student. Perhaps this is the academic equivalent of basic training; instead of been broken down mentally and physically, they subtly undermine your self-esteem. And then you embark upon a process of being broken down mentally and physically…

Actually, I am not at all bothered what I am called. My intentions (at least for now) are pure. I just want to work hard and engage with my academic nature, which hopefully exists. So by way of a short introduction:

My name is John, and I am from a small but colourful town in deepest South Lanarkshire called Larkhall. For those of you not familiar with Scotland, it is about 20 miles outside Glasgow, which is where I completed both my undergraduate (Business Studies BA) and postgraduate (Information and Library Studies MsC) studies. I had a few years in between working in retail, followed by a stint as a trainee accountant (AAT qualified), and work in information services.

Currently, I am in Edinburgh at Napier University and am studying the impact of social networking on the labour market. Or to be more specific, how people network using social media as a tool to gain employment/progress within a career. In order to do this, the idea is to use a theoretical framework called ‘Social Network Analysis‘, which has been developed internationally by scholars over the past 40-50 years, and applied to various disciplines, albeit largely to study off-line networks. I could go into screeds* of detail here, but instead I will post up something a bit more substantial regarding the nature of my studies etc. in the ‘The Research‘ section. Additionally:

 1. This is going to be a learning process. I am not the master of my subject. Yet (staying positive).

2. At this stage, trying to give an erudite description of my subject is surprisingly difficult. But very common for PhD (Research!!) students at this stage, or so I am told.

3. The research is going to be a key theme of my blog posts, so I don’t want to overdo it.

I don’t want my blog to be purely academic, otherwise I fear nobody will read it. So hopefully I’ll stick in a few anecdotes about my life as a research student in Edinburgh, and will possibly find some tangential themes without veering too far off course. Basically, I am in this game for 3 years and would like to document the process as best as possible, from a relatively human viewpoint. So we’ll see what happens.

Lastly, please follow the ‘Contact’ link and fill in the form if you would like to talk to me about my research or have any feedback about the blog…constructive criticism is always welcome.

* This came out very naturally when I was typing the sentence, and having Googled it I’m pleased to report that it is an actual word (not to mention underutilised!).


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