Interviewing friends

a thoughtful reflection on researching our friends as research participants


This week’s guest blog post on interviewing friends was co-authored by Jennifer Tesler, Sarah Stice, Jennifer Johnston, and Areeb Gul, who are graduate students at the University of Georgia.

When it comes to qualitative interviewing, there has always been a focus on the relationship between the interviewer and the interviewee in terms of how to build rapport and get the best stories and data out of your participants. But what are the ethics when you as a researcher already know your participants, either as a family member, a friend, a colleague, or just an acquaintance? Many researchers use network sampling in order to gather participants for their study, so our team began with the research question, What are the ethics of interviewing people you know?

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Changing the shape of Doctoral Supervision Training at Coventry University

doctoral supervision for real people

A community blog, on doctoral supervision relationships and pedagogies

This is a guest post by Nikki Harkin, Assistant Lecturer – Research Capability & Development at Coventry University. Nikki delivers the Doctoral Supervision Programme at Coventry University.

A crop field with a wind turbine close up, and many other wind turbines far away in the background.
The ‘winds of change’ as we adapt supervisor training for the contemporary context

Coventry University are host to around 800 PGRs across 13 Research Centres. In September 2020, Coventry University had one of the largest PGR intakes we have seen with 139 PGRs starting their research degree with us. In response to the ever-increasing numbers of PGRs, Coventry University’s approach to doctoral supervision development has changed over the years.

Preceding the current Doctoral Supervision Programme at Coventry University, we ran a single, 7-week long course with compulsory weekly face-to-face meetings and online activities. Difficulties with attendance at all of the meetings and completing all online work meant that only a third of the registered participants were able to complete the course. Academics were…

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What do doctoral writers mean when they say: “I think by writing”?

creative thought during writing


Doctoral writers often say: “I find out what I think by writing about my ideas”. It is a statement that puzzles me, and doesn’t seem to resonate with how I imagine my own writing process occurring. What follows is an attempt to unpack this notion to help us see how we might encourage doctoral writers to use this approach effectively.

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Academic Irregularities AT 100

Academic Irregularities

This 100th post for Academic Irregularities has been a difficult piece to write, and I’m not sure whether it is a celebratory piece or a summary of the blog I have been writing over the last six years. I think back to what urged me to start it. Primarily, it was a rage at what Derek Sayer has called the ‘insult’ of the REF, and feeling obliged to take refuge in Thomas Docherty’s clandestine university. It was increasing alarm that workers in universities were being forced to abandon their values, their curiosity-led research and instead allow their careers and academic worth to be defined by criteria that might have emerged from a management consultancy.

In terms of inspiration, I owe much to some early pathfinders: Thomas Docherty, Derek Sayer, Dorothy Bishop, Eva Bendix-Petersen, Bronwen Davies, Kate Bowles, Richard Hall, Helen Sauntson and too many others to mention. Despite ‘leaving’…

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