Category Archives: University

The necessity of collegiality?

In order for you to understand where I’m coming from with this post, you need to understand a few things about me:

  • I currently rent in two locations, one with my partner (home) and one is a temporary home (caravan park two-three nights a week);
  • I am easily distracted by people around me;
  • I am usually quite happy to sit alone and work; and
  • I am a perfectionist (and not the good kind) – when I think that I won’t be able to do a good enough job at something, I won’t do it and I will stress about it. This means that I worry about the task, but never get anything done, as I don’t think it will meet the standards expected. This means that when I find a time and a place where I am productive, then I need to make good use of it.


For my PhD I am being most productive at the library and at my temporary home. When I am at either home, I will sit and study all day, all of a sudden realising that the day has whizzed by and I need to go do some exercise. I also really enjoy sitting outside and studying, rather than being inside a room and missing daylight. I have also found the university library to be a location where I will sit all day and work. I posit that the library and my temporary home are such a good places to study as I do not know anyone around me or do not have anyone around to distract me. At the library or at home, I pop my noise-cancelling headphones on and read/edit/write without distraction.


When I am in the PhD study room, I have people around me that I am starting to get to know. I quite like these people, would like to develop a working relationship with them (especially since we will be going into careers in academia together and may work together on projects in the future), and see the benefits of a collegial workplace, however I feel that there is an expectation to bond, to discuss projects, to share experiences, to talk… None of these are ‘bad’, in fact most people would find that sharing experiences and bonding will make the PhD journey better. I am in the first few months of my PhD and have put myself on a tight schedule – I have work, I have travel between homes, I want to have a social life. When I am in the PhD study room, I need to dedicate myself to my studies, otherwise I am losing time in other parts of my life.

Maybe when I am in a different place with my studies I will have a different point of view on this.


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Conferences, networking and PhD decisions

Conference presentation

Next Friday I will be doing my very first conference presentation! I am presenting at the Australian and New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies (ANZALS) conference in Melbourne.

This is the first time that I will be standing up in front of other academics and presenting my research. As the date draws closer I am starting to feel nervous. I am yet to submit my research as a journal article (although that is pretty close to submission), so this is a big test for how my research is received in the sport management academic community.

I am also looking forward to seeing what a conference is like and networking with people who have been around longer than I in the field. I am sure that I will learn a lot by attending a number of different presentations at the conference.

Networking and PhD decisions

Whilst I am primarily going to Melbourne for the ANZALS conference, I have organised a couple of meetings with industry to try decide on a tighter PhD research topic and see whether what I want to study fits with their research agendas. I have heard both positive and negative information to working with industry for my PhD, and am unsure which way will suit me best.

Negative: I understand that when working with industry I may not have as much flexibility if the topic needs to be altered and I may not have as much control over my research.

Positive: I realise the importance of developing strong bonds with industry, so that my research can have practical applications and real-world impact. Industry-led research can also provide links and introductions to associations who may be more willing to become involved in the research with a well-known name behind the research.

I have a little bit longer to work on my PhD preparation, I don’t need to start until February next year. I am currently working hard on finishing a couple of research projects before Christmas. Before starting I plan to do a bit more reading on the different theories that may be relevant to my studies, as whichever I choose will need to be defended and I will need to justify why I did not choose another theory.


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3MT (Honours) Competition at ECU

Edith Cowan University gave the Honours students the opportunity to participate in the 3MT competition, without having to compete against the PhD students.

I was lucky enough to be voted through to the ECU finals, as one of two Faculty representatives.

The ECU finals were held on the 13 September 2013 and I came third place of the Honours students. The video is on YouTube along with the other two winners of the Honours competition and all of the 3MT finalists.

I found the whole process to be quite difficult, and even though I had finished my research and written up my thesis by the time the competition was upon us, I still had difficulty putting my research into only a few minutes.

I would like to thank ECU for giving me the opportunity to try the 3MT in a safe(r) environment, although it was still quite daunting to stand up and present to judges, ECU staff and PhD students.

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15 October 2013 · 9:58 AM

Getting a PhD with a scholarship..

how-to-applyAs those of you who have started reading my blog know, I plan on beginning a PhD next year. As scholarships and PhD positions seem to be quite competitive, I am spending a bit of time trying to make my application stand out from others.

To aid my application for PhD I am taking the second half of 2013 to work as a research consultant and research assistant. This semester I am doing work that will help my skills as a researcher, which will aid my application for PhD and hopefully to get a scholarship, and help me to be successful at doing my PhD.

I have given myself a few things to do this semester and I’ll hopefully be able to write about those experiences too. I have decided that there are three things that I need to work on to develop my application – research experience, publishing and industry engagement


It was important that I got some paid work, and I was lucky enough that the ECU School of Business required some research assistant help. I am working approximately two days a week as a Project Manager/Research Assistant on a major combined food experience project. This research project is a combination of seven sub-projects, which will culminate in a survey covering food shopping, food choice, preparation and consumption of food. This project is giving me the opportunity to work with a number of academic staff, in fields from recreation through to economics, and allows me insight into a wide range of project types.

Another research project that I am working on is looking at gaining an understanding of sport participation and recreation. This project is with David Russell and the “Rippa Sports” Consultancy Company, working with the Department of Sport and Recreation and five state sporting associations in Western Australia to understand how sports can create an environment where recreational participants are welcomed. So far the project has had a focus group with association representatives to understand how they can engage ‘sport recreators’ and what the benefits would be to the sport and to the individual. The second stage is a survey of current sport association members and a similar survey of sport recreators who are not engaged with the associations. Reports will be completed for the Department of Sport and Recreation and for each of the state sporting associations.


Having work published is key to academia, and having some work published will show my desire to conduct research and my ability to write for academic journals and that I can conduct research that withstands peer review.

I am working on getting my Honours project published. This is currently at the stage where my supervisors get to do their, hopefully final, work with me as an Honours student.

The first Phase of the Sport recreators project, the workshop, has been completed and results written. I have started the journal write-up of this piece of work.


The plan is for the sport recreators work to be finished and all reports submitted by the end of this year. This work will show my ability to work with industry businesses and that I can write reports that have ‘real-world’ meaning.

I hope that with the three above areas covered I will be able to move into my PhD smoothly (and hopefully with a scholarship), with proven ability to work at the required level and with some small measure of success to start me on my way.

Hello to the beginning of my academic career!

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Research to start research – The confusion of finding a PhD Supervisor

slider-search-for-a-supervisorRecently I have started getting organised to start my PhD in 2014. I have decided that there are a few things that require my attention in order to start off positively.

The supervisor-student relationship is very important to the success of a PhD, so firstly, I need to find supervisors who I ‘click’ with; supervisors who will be around to support me when I need it, who challenge me to keep going when I feel like an impostor, who are knowledgeable in my field, and who will direct (teach) me. Added to this, I want to attend a university that is supportive of PhD students, where I have the opportunity to lecture and tutor; where I can advance my experience in teaching, the other part of being an academic. Finally, I am debating how important the location is. I want to be around friends, and that begins limiting the locations that I am willing to move, as I have only lived in three states of Australia.

My research of potential supervisors has begun with a check through of the people I referenced in my Honours thesis. There are not that many in Australia. I then looked further and researched on the internet which Australian universities offer Sport Management degrees and therefore may have academics who research and teach in my field.

I am talking to academics, in particular my Honours supervisors, who can recommend particular people who they have met at conferences. This gives me some direct feedback on personalities, which relates directly to how I might interact with them. My Honours supervisors know me and can tell me what potential supervisors might be like as supervisors.

The next step is actually contacting potential supervisors. I have been reading blogs and information online about what to do and what not to do. This is quite a scary step for me, as I am extremely concerned about my choice. I am choosing people who I will be working with for the next three years. I am stressed about making the right decision and making the right impression.

I would love advice from people about what to look for, what their experiences have been like and, from current academics, what you are looking for – what would impress you.

In the meantime, I’ll keep doing my research!

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The Beginning of my Research Career

I have always had a passion for sport and been involved in sports as a player, official or volunteer since very young. I always knew that I wanted to have something to do with sport as a career.

I completed my secondary studies and decided to put off going to University while I did a traineeship with Canoe South Australia. A traineeship requires you to undertake a TAFE Certificate along with working over one year. I completed a Certificate III in Sport and Recreation, majoring in Administration. After finishing my traineeship I undertook a Certificate IV in Sport and Recreation, majoring in Events.

I then ended up going to University to do a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Management. I my first year of a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Management at the University of South Australia I had a Program Director, Dr Duncan Murray, who instilled in me a passion for university and I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in the tertiary system. Duncan is a passionate lecturer and very encouraging of students.

On completion of my undergraduate degree I went to work at the University of Ballarat in an administrative role in the School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, and then a marketing position for the University of Ballarat. Again, I was lucky enough to meet and work with administrative and academic staff who encouraged me and my desire to continue my studies.

When I decided to go back to studying I chose the location, Edith Cowan University in Perth, because of the two people I had chosen as my supervisors. Dr Alicia Stanway and Dr Olan Scott agreed to be my Honours supervisors and supported me through the ups and downs that go along with it.

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