Our guest blogger this week is Ailsa Naismith, a third-year PhD student at the University of Bristol, England. Ailsa is researching the active Fuego volcano in Guatemala through satellite imagery and interviews, looking to discover why the volcano erupts and how previous eruptions have been experienced by local people. We have thoroughly enjoyed her thought-provoking reflections on “research languages”—and we’re sure you will too.
Ailsa can be found on Twitter (@AilsaNaismith) and through the occasional blog post (www.reasoningwithvolcanoes.com).
What language do you do research in? If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that it’s English, this being the “lingua franca” of much of the academic world. So far, so conventional. But – wait! Could it be that you are secretly more talented than you think? (Based on the overwhelming proportion of doctoral students that reportedly experience Imposter Syndrome, versus what it actually takes to achieve a PhD, the answer is probably “Yes”.)
Despite our fears and reservations, throughout the years we spend studying we learn a wide range of research skills, from communicating our ideas with confidence, through networking, to presenting our arguments clearly in written form. I think these skills can be viewed as a group of “languages” in which we become fluent during our training. Continue reading