Project

Erasmus+ Researcher Identity Development: Strengthening Science in Society Strategies (RID-SSISS)

Goal: • To reconceptualize the role of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in order to enable them to successfully face current societal challenges and establish satisfactory careers.
• To enhance the development of ECRs’ identities and careers through training.
Website: www.researcher-identity.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/researcher_id
Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union under the project 2017-1-ES01-KA203-038303.

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Anna Sala-Bubaré
added a research item
Doctoral students face many challenges when writing research articles. However, little is known about how they regulate their writing process in a natural context, due partially to the lack of methods to explore writing regulation from a situated perspective. The present study aims at demonstrating a method to explore doctoral students' writing regulation processes within their context of occurrence in ecological conditions. To do so, we focus on the writing process of Natalia, a second-year doctoral student, while she writes and revises an extended abstract for her first scientific article under natural conditions. Screen-recorder and keystroke logging software, writing logs, an open-ended questionnaire and drafts of her text were used to collect data about the processes and products, and about both her actions and perceptions. Analysis combining these different data allowed us to identify two types of episodes: production and regulation episodes, and six subtypes of regulation episodes, and link them to the section of the text and the challenges the writer addressed with each episode. Results also showed that regulation processes vary between sessions, in terms of frequency and in their goals, and that feedback promoted a problem-solving approach to writing.
Isabelle Skakni
added 2 research items
More than half of PhD graduates work outside academia. Yet we know little of the nature of their post-PhD careers and the conditions influencing them. Further, research to date tends to focus on either individual factors (e.g., graduate perceptions of PhD skills used) or structural factors (e.g., organizational interest in hiring PhDs). Few studies examine the intersection between individual and structural factors that actually influences career trajectories. Thus, this study was an exploratory examination of UK and Swiss non-traditional PhD careers in which we conceptually and empirically linked structural factors to individual experiences. The results provide a richer, more nuanced picture of PhD career trajectories, showing, for instance, how structural factors like distinct national economic climate and employment patterns intersected with individual factors like job-seeking strategies and job selection. The study’s originality lies in a narrative cross-case approach that merged empirical evidence from interviews with secondary data. We conclude by assessing the value of using such an integrative framework as well as suggesting areas for future research.
This paper addresses the subjective experiences of PhD holders from Switzerland and the UK who pursue careers beyond academia. Drawing on the concepts of organisational culture and culture shock, we examined the challenges that characterise this passage from academia to non-academic workplaces. With an exploratory aim, we analysed 32 semi-structured interviews conducted with PhDs engaged in non-academic careers in private, public, or parapublic sectors for ten years or less. It emerged that, when they entered non-academic workplaces, half of our participants devoted a large portion of their time and energy to understanding a new organisational culture, including their workplaces' daily functioning, the values shared within their organisations, and the statuses to which they were assigned. This puzzling experience, which we define as organisational culture shock, was reported more frequently by those who entered non-academic workplaces directly after the PhD and those with little or no work experiences prior to the PhD. These findings contribute to the ongoing global conversation about how to prepare PhDs for careers beyond academia.
Isabelle Skakni
added a research item
Purpose Teamwork has long featured in social science research. Further, with research increasingly “cross-national,” communication becomes more complex, for instance, involving different cultures, languages and modes of communication. Yet, studies examining team communicative processes that can facilitate or constrain collaboration are rare. As a cross-national European team representing varied disciplines, experiences, languages and ethnicities, we undertook to examine our communication processes with the aim to promote better qualitative research practices. Design/methodology/approach Viewing reflection as a tool for enhancing workplace practices, we undertook a structured reflection. We developed an empirically derived framework about team communication, then used it to analyse our interaction practices and their relative effectiveness. Findings The results highlighted two under-examined influences, the use of different modes of communication for different purposes and the need for face-to-face communication to address a particularly challenging aspect of research, negotiating a shared coding scheme to analyse diverse cultural and linguistic qualitative data. Practical implications The study offers a procedure and concepts that others could use to examine their team communication. Originality/value The communicative processes that can constrain and facilitate effective cross-national research team collaboration are rarely examined. The results emphasise the need for careful negotiations around language, epistemologies, cultures and goals from the moment collaboration begins in formulating a project, through applying for grant funds, to when the last paper is published – timely in a context in which such work is increasingly expected.
Kelsey Inouye
added a research item
Over the past two decades, identity has emerged as a concept framing studies of early career researcher experience. Yet, identity is an amorphous concept, understood and used in a range of ways. This systematic review aimed to unpack the underpinnings of the notion of researcher identity. The final sample consisted of 38 empirical articles published in peer-reviewed journals in the last 20 years. Analyses focused on (a) identifying the dimensions used to define researcher identity, and (b) characterising the meta-theories—the underlying assumptions of the research—in relation to these dimensions. We identified four different stances towards researcher identity (clusters), based on variation on the identity dimensions in relation to the meta-theories. We characterised these as (1) transitioning among identities, (2) balancing identity continuity and change, (3) personal identity development through time and (4) personal and stable identity. These stances incorporate thought-provoking nuances and complex conceptualisations of the notion of researcher identity, for instance, that meta-theory was insufficient to characterise researcher identity stance. The contribution of the study is first to be able to differentiate four characterizations of researcher identity—important given that many studies had not clearly expressed a stance. The second is the potential of the four dimensions to help characterise identity, in past as well as future research—thus a useful tool for those working in this area. Many questions remain, but perhaps the biggest is to what extent and under what conditions is identity a productive notion for understanding early career researcher experience?
Isabelle Skakni
added a research item
Dans un contexte où les carrières scientifiques se sont diversifiées et précarisées, il est de plus en plus difficile pour les chercheures en début de parcours d’anticiper leur avenir professionnel et de s’y préparer. Si de nombreuses études ont été réalisées jusqu’ici afin de mieux comprendre les enjeux de la formation et de l’insertion professionnelle des doctorantes, peu de travaux s’attachent à comprendre les effets de cette diversification et précarisation sur la construction de leur identité professionnelle. Pourtant, c’est notamment à travers la construction d’une image de soi en adéquation avec le rôle professionnel qu’il anticipe que l’individu en arrive à maîtriser les compétences propres à son champ de pratique. C’est aussi en fonction de ce soi professionnel anticipé qu’il oriente ses actions et fait des choix (Ashforth et Schinoff, 2016). Afin d’examiner cette question dans le cadre des parcours en recherche, une analyse exploratoire a été réalisée auprès de 98 doctorantes et 37 postdoctorantes suisse romandes. À partir d’un devis mixte, il s’agissait plus particulièrement de comprendre comment les compétences développées tout au long de leur parcours en recherche participent de la construction de leur identité professionnelle. Cette analyse révèle, d’une part, que le soi professionnel idéal de la majorité des participantes demeure celui de professeure d’université, et ce, même pour les personnes qui n’envisagent pas une carrière universitaire. D’autre part, il apparaît que les participantes tendent à développer, au fil des années, une forme relativement inédite de compétences que l’on peut qualifier de « compétences de carrière » (Akkermans et al., 2013). Ces dernières renvoient à une capacité réflexive leur permettant d’anticiper et d’orienter les suites de leur parcours, en réponse à un contexte professionnel marqué par l’incertitude et l’ambiguïté.
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added a research item
Prior studies have reported high levels of PhD stress resulting in exhaustion and cynicism related to negative institutional factors. Yet, we know little of the possible influence of personal lives on exhaustion/ cynicism. This mixed-methods study examines the interrelation. We drew on exhaustion, cynicism, life-work relation scales and free-write responses about managing life and work of 123 Swiss PhD students. Respondents typically reported positive life-work relations, with this experience particularly buffering exhaustion, which can lead to cynicism and possibly burnout. The analysis of free-write responses supported this view. Respondents reported they largely balanced/managed to balance life and work, with family most frequently referenced in this regard. Finally, we combined the scaled and free-write responses. Individuals, even if reporting exhaustion and negative aspects in their life-work relations, consistently reported being able to combine their career and life goals. This alignment may serve as a mechanism for buffering other life-work and institutional challenges.
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added an update
Three members of our team, Lynn McAlpine, Isabelle Skakni and Kirsi Pyhältö just published an article in Studies in Higher Education about the PhD experience:
PhD experience (and progress) is more than work: Life-work relations and reducing exhaustion (and cynicism).
Congratulations!
 
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added an update
The Guide for the Researcher Development (GRED) is one of the Intellectual Outputs of the RID-SSISS project. It's a compilation of resources for the training and development of early-career researchers addressed to different audiences and groups: the ECRs themselves, their supervisors and other educational stakeholders and developers.
 
Private Profile
added a research item
This study examines the impact of career uncertainty on post-PhD researchers’ experiences. Drawing on an identity-trajectory approach and a qualitative design, we analysed experiences of post-PhDs from the UK and Switzerland. Our findings show that in the course of their work experiences, career uncertainty takes two different forms: intellectual uncertainty and occupational uncertainty. On a daily basis, both forms strongly impact the participants’ work and personal lives and can limit their ability to plan for the future, restrict their developing research expertise and networks and induce tension in trying to reconcile work and personal lives. While often struggling with a blurred institutional status, participants ‘hang tough’ despite their uncertain situation, notably by clinging to their academic researcher identity. Contributing to the previous work on the increasing casualisation of post-PhD positions and the resulting challenges, our study offers new insights into how different aspects of career uncertainty influence post PhDs’ work and identity.
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added an update
The study aims to understand the perceived affordances and constraints (e.g., personal, interpersonal and contextual) that influence PhD holders’ career decision-making and work experiences. We are especially interested in their strategies to explore career possibilities and the motivations and incentives that lead them to seek non-academic positions within or outside universities.
 
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added an update
The international seminar Early-Career Researchers’ identity development - individual, faculty and institutional implications, will be held in Tallinn, Estonia, on February 15th, 2019. 
The seminar will offer Early Career Researchers, supervisors and ECR training stakeholders the possibility to learn about ECR development. Workshops specific for each group and joint sessions will be held to combine hands-on training and discussion within and among the different actors involved in ECR education. All the sessions will be conducted by expert researchers on the topic.
You can check our program on the official website: https://www.tlu.ee/en/early-career-researchers-identity-development#programme
Looking forward to welcoming you to Tallinn! 
 
Montserrat Castelló
added 2 research items
Resumen: La escritura académica ha perdido gradualmente su etiqueta tradicional de discurso objetivo e impersonal y se ha convertido en una empresa persuasiva que implica la interacción entre escritor y lector. Sin embargo, la noción de voz dista mucho aún de ser un concepto unívoco y su significado varía en función de la perspectiva desde la que se aborde su estudio. Los problemas atañen tanto a su definición, a las relaciones de la noción de voz con otros conceptos afines como a problemas metodológicos respecto a las dimensiones necesarias y suficientes para abordar su estudio y los indicadores relevantes a la hora de observar, analizar y valorar su presencia en un texto determinado. El propósito de este artículo es triple. En primer lugar, pretendemos revisar los trabajos que en los últimos años se han ocupado del estudio de la voz en los textos, delimitando desde qué orientaciones disciplinares y teóricas han abordado este estudio; nuestra revisión no pretende ser exhaustiva sino representativa de los trabajos más relevantes de cada perspectiva teórica. En segundo lugar, presentamos nuestra aproximación conceptual a la noción de voz en base al análisis y la discusión sobre las aportaciones anteriores. En último término Abstract: Academic writing has gradually lost its traditional label of objective and impersonal discourse becoming a persuasive endeavour involving the interaction between writer and reader. Despite its popularity, the notion of voice is far from being a univocal concept and its meaning varies according to the perspective adopted. Problems involve its definition, the relationships with other related concepts, and methodological issues concerning the appropriate dimensions and the relevant aspects that should be addressed when observing, analysing and assessing traces of voice in a specific text. The paper has three main objects. Firstly, we revise research studies that in the last ten years have devoted their efforts to clarify the notion of voice considering their conceptual, theoretical and disciplinary framework. Our revision does not intend to be exhaustive but representative of the studies carried out from each theoretical perspective and its main findings. Our second aim is to build our own perspective of voice integrating the findings of previous research. Finally, a methodological proposal is established detailing three dimensions of analysis which are closely related, each one of them focused on the aspects that, according to the revision, we consider relevant for the study of voice.
The study we conducted aimed at identifying these difficulties experienced by doctoral students when writing and analyzing whether socially shared regulation helps students to improve their texts. Participants were six doctoral students revising collaboratively (in dyads) three successive drafts of their dissertations. Each pair of students' discourse (18 hours) and changes in texts were analysed (18 drafts). Results point out that the most frequent problems were related with connecting information. Detailed analysis of data revealed that in some cases communicative intentionality is not aligned with the discursive resources used by the students and revision strategies are only useful if students are able to appropriately define text problems. Educational implications are discussed.
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added a project reference
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added an update
The kick-off meeting of the RID-SSISS project took place Monday 27th of November at the Faculty of Psychology, Education and Sports Sciences Blanquerna in Barcelona. The project is officially launched!
Check our website (https://www.researcher-identity.com/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/researcher_id) to know more about it.
 
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added a project goal
• To reconceptualize the role of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in order to enable them to successfully face current societal challenges and establish satisfactory careers.
• To enhance the development of ECRs’ identities and careers through training.
Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union under the project 2017-1-ES01-KA203-038303.