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The Nordic PhD

Surviving and Succeeding

Edited By Christopher McMaster, Caterina Murphy and Jakob Rosenkrantz de Lasson

The Nordic PhD: Surviving and Succeeding is an edited book written for prospective and current doctoral students by a mix of doctoral students and those who have recently completed their doctorates. The premise is simple: if you could go back in time and talk with yourself when you began your studies, what advice would you give? Isn’t hindsight a bonus? If only I knew then what I know now!

The Nordic PhD: Surviving and Succeeding follows editions focused on study in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, the U.K., U.S., and South Africa. What sets The Nordic PhD: Surviving and Succeeding apart from many others on the market is its down-to-earth and practical approach. Furthermore, its originality also lies in the fact that it is grounded in the context of doctoral studies in the Nordic countries.

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Chapter Eight: But Do I Really Have Anything to Say?: Conferences and the PhD Student (Bethanne Paulsrud)


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But Do I Really Have Anything to Say?

Conferences and the PhD Student



At first, you are just happy to become a doctoral student at a Nordic university. You refine your research plan, you meet your supervisors, you take your courses, and maybe you even start field or lab work. You create a community with your fellow students. Then the conference announcements start trickling in: you see a call for papers in the copy room or you sign up for an e-mail list and receive notices of exciting gatherings around the world.

Attending conferences is not only for the accomplished and seasoned researcher. Attending conferences is for all researchers at any stage of their career. A goal of any conference is, ‘to bring together scholars for the purpose of sharing ongoing research’ (Semenza, 2005, p. 181). I submitted a contribution to my first conference less than six months after commencing my program of PhD studies. Did I have results? No, but I had a research plan and had started some pilot work. This is what I presented at the conference, and the feedback I received from senior researchers with vast expertise in my area was invaluable. This first experience made me realize the importance of conference participation and the integral role it plays in your PhD studies—even before your results are complete. By the time I earned...

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