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Supporting academic writing for early career researchers

Learning Exchange, Nepal, 2017. Photo: GAGE

  1. Tell us how this proposal came about.

Catherine, Ernestina and I know one of the most rewarding and challenging parts of a research career is communicating your ideas to others and sharing what you’ve learned through work in the field, and benefiting from others’ insights. However, researchers who are early career, from the global South, users of qualitative and mixed methods, and female are under-represented in international journals. This is a problem for the researchers, but also for the field as a whole which doesn’t benefit from their knowledge, perspectives and insights. Over the years we’ve worked with many researchers during masters and PhD courses and in non-academic contexts. We’re looking forward to engaging with a new set of insights and working with researchers to tailor these to different academic audiences.

  1. What are your aims and how will you measure success?

Our aim is to increase the confidence and skill level of researchers who participate in the course and online mentoring programme. We will measure this through self-report questionnaires and through the submissions of writing projects worked on during the course to peer-reviewed journals.

  1. What do you think will be most challenging about the proposed course of work?

It’s possible to progress in a fast and satisfying way on a short course. However, the hard work begins when participants return to their home institutions and need to make time – with support from their employer –  to develop their projects further. That’s why the mentoring component is so important as it will keep participants motivated and provide critical feedback as their ideas develop. We will work closely with the qualitative Hubs to ensure that the outputs are useful for them. Hopefully this will ensure that participants have the space and support they need to bring their work to the point of submission.

  1. What do you think will be most rewarding about the proposed course of work?

Leaning more about the work done by other parts of the project. Seeing how people’s ideas develop and how the process builds their confidence. Watching people who have participated in the course become mentors to others in turn. Seeing participants become successful and independent authors.