I don’t need to convince you that research is at the heart of most graduate school programs. Not only for thesis-based programs, research is also an essential aspect of professional-degree programs in the form of research papers as course assignments.
The research that you have dedicated your graduate degree to is at the centre of all learning and pride that comes from engaging in the graduate learning journey. It is imperative to celebrate our successes and milestones and be recognized for our continuous efforts towards knowledge generation, exchange, and dissemination. However, I feel that the majority of new graduate students are unaware of the many avenues that acknowledge, recognize, celebrate, and enhance their work. The objective of this blog post is to describe some of the many avenues that I have come across to promoting graduate research.
Heading to graduate school, you know that you will be presenting your research at local and international conferences. So, I am not going try to convince that you need to share the findings of your work at academic conferences. Rather, I am going to describe multiple ways to use the conference platform to your advantage.
Lesson 1: Create a list of conferences relevant to your field that are either at your institution or an institution nearby. Set a deadline to visit the websites for each of these conferences yearly to find out how to submit an abstract.
Lesson 2: If you attend a conference, submitat least two abstracts(perhaps one poster and one oral presentation). Two presentations are always better than one.
Lesson 3: You don’t have to attend a conference to get your abstracts peer-reviewed, “accepted,” and provided feedback from peer-reviewers. The process of submitting abstracts, without the intention of actually presenting it, will force you to summarize your research in a succinct manner and use the feedback from peer-reviewers to enhance your work.
Lesson 4: Rework any course assignment to the format of an abstract and submit it to a relevant conference. Ensure that your objectives are aligned with the theme and topic of the conference, which will increase the chance it is accepted.
Lesson 5: You can rework any abstract previously submitted to a conference to the topic and theme of another conference. It is discouraged to submit the same abstract to the same conference more than once. However, you can submit the same abstract to multiple conferences, although I limit submitting any abstract to three distinct conferences.
Lesson 6: Submit work that is in progress or not yet complete (either your graduate dissertation or supplementary research) as poster presentations. This will provide you with the opportunity to develop and deliver a pitch of your work when it is early in its development, which will enhance your work through the feedback you receive from the conversations you have with conference attendees.
Lesson 7: Present completed work as oral presentations to cultivate a deeper discussion of knowledge generated and the next steps of your research. Oral presentations generate richer discussions and insight on your topic.
Lesson 8: You can also present completed work as panels or plenaries if conferences offer this option. If you choose this option, the focus of a panel or plenary should be the implications of your research and less on the design and conduct.
Online media platforms
Traditional avenues for knowledge translation and dissemination are academic journals and research conferences. However, conferences come at only one point during a year and publishing a manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal can take anywhere from six months to two years!
There is an easy solution to disseminating your research beyond traditional media platforms. There are online media platforms that provide you the opportunity to describe your research to a lay audience. These publications aim to disseminate the essential findings of your work and its implications on policy and practice to a general readership. These publications may be around 1000 words and briefly summarize what you found instead what you did (i.e., methods), and the impact of your findings for different communities. Although these platforms are less utilized by graduate students, they usually have a more profound impact on policy and practice because they are more often read by decision-makers.
Some examples of media platforms in the health sciences/policy field are:
- Policy Options: http://policyoptions.irpp.org
- Healthy Debate: http://healthydebate.ca
- Evidence Network: http://evidencenetwork.ca
To some of you, this may sound odd. Academic Twitter is a massive platform to engage in knowledge exchange with likeminded academics and decision-makers around the world. Twitter is a strong and fast force to learn, criticize, and engage in a dialogue about research. Worldwide, researchers regularly engage in academic Twitter because it allows them to build off each other ideas across space and time.
Make a Twitter account and search and follow some of the most foremost academics in your field. It is okay if they don’t follow back. Read their tweets. Reply to their tweets. Question their tweets. Retweet their tweets. Through this dialogue, you can start to engage with their work and share your own work in this process. Followers will follow.
Most institutions provide graduate students with the opportunity of sharing their research on their institutional radio talk show. This is a novel way to share your research findings and a great experience in and of itself. Queen’s University offers an opportunity as well.
Grad Chat is broadcast ever Tuesday at 4pm on CFRC 101.9 FM. If you are interested in coming on the show for Fall 2018, give me a shout! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you complete this formand return to the same email, I will contact you to set up a recording time.