4 Things I Found Useful about the Emerging Researchers’ Conference and Best Paper Award

4 Things I Found Useful about the Emerging Researchers’ Conference and Best Paper Award

Sofia Eleftheriadou received the ERG Best Paper Award 2019 for her paper titled “Conceptualisation and measurement of collaborative problem solving: a systematic review of the literature” following an extensive assessment process conducted within the Emerging Researchers’  Group. A short description of the paper can be found here.

We asked Sofia to share her experience from participating in the Emerging Researchers’ Conference and the Best Paper Award competition, reflecting on what she personally found useful as well as what she thinks other emerging researchers might want to know about the process.

Emerging Researchers’ Conference

In September 2019, I presented my paper at the Emerging Researchers’ Conference (ERC) which took place just before the European Conference for Educational Research in Hamburg. The participants and the audience in that conference were mainly early career researchers, some currently undertaking their doctorates, so I found it very encouraging to discuss preliminary findings from my research with them.

During ERC there were many workshops designed particularly for emerging researchers, such as academic writing, as well as workshops for specific fields of research, such as gender and education, offering great opportunities for professional development. Since these workshops were tailored to the needs of early career researchers, I found that they were the best place to ask questions about publishing, careers in academia, etc.

I also attended the Emerging Researchers’ Group meeting where participants were introduced to the Link Convenor and Co-Convenors. The meeting informed us about the activities offered within the group with the aim of promoting emerging researchers. One of those was the Best Paper Award competition. At the end of the meeting, there was plenty of time for discussion, where emerging researchers could offer suggestions for activities that they would like to see being developed in the future.

Best Paper Award Assessment Process

Following the Emerging Researchers’ Conference, I decided to submit my paper for consideration to the Best Paper Award competition. These are the four things that I found useful for my professional development as an emerging researcher currently undertaking doctorate research.

The timeframe

I found that the timeframe of the competition worked well in terms of giving me a structure as well as motivation to develop a full paper. Submission of the full paper was planned two months after the conference. Reviewers then provided their feedback and we were given another two months to develop the paper, addressing reviewers’ comments and re-submitting for final consideration.

Reviewers’ comments

Feedback received from reviewers was focused on three aspects: the significance of the contribution to studies in European Educational Research, the clarity of presentation, and the fulfilment of international scientific research standards. The comments I received were first, very encouraging, highlighting the positive aspects of my contribution and second, well-targeted, giving specific directions on the ways that I could work on expanding and enriching my research.

Length of submission

Manuscripts considered for the award could be up to 7,000 words in length. As an emerging researcher, only my supervisors had so far read such long pieces of writing from my research, so I considered this a great way of getting feedback in something that will eventually be included in my thesis.

Practice writing in journal article style

Finally, preparing my submission was also a good exercise in turning a thesis chapter into a journal article. To do this, I had to carefully consider what information to include for my manuscript to stand alone as a body of work. What I found helpful was having in mind the reviewer or any reader unfamiliar with my research, who should be able to read my articles and understand its contribution without requiring additional information from my thesis.  

Sofia Eleftheriadou

Sofia Eleftheriadou

Third year PhD candidate at the Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester, UK

Sofia Eleftheriadou is a third year PhD candidate at the Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester, UK. She holds a studentship from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). In her thesis, she is examining the validity of students’ responses to a collaborative problem-solving test used in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). She has recently completed an internship at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), where she worked on assessment development. She has previously worked as a research assistant in projects related to students’ mathematics anxiety and performance, and as a teaching assistant in postgraduate taught units at the University of Manchester.

Sofia’s university researcher profile can be found here. Find her on Twitter

Contributing to the EERA Blog

Contributing to the EERA Blog

What is EERA?

EERA stands for the European Educational Research Association, which is made up of more than 35 national and regional Educational Research Associations. 

The organisation was founded in 1994 to foster the exchange of ideas between European researchers, to promote collaboration in research, improve research quality and offer independent advice on educational research to European policy-makers, administrators and practitioners.

Why does EERA need a blog?

Alongside the goal of encouraging collaboration amongst educational researchers in Europe, the strategy of EERA is to promote communication between educational researchers and international governmental organisations, such as the EU, Council of Europe, OECD, IEA and UNESCO. Further, EERA aims to disseminate the findings of educational research and highlight their contribution to policy and practice.

One excellent way to inform the research community, policymakers and other interested parties about advances in educational research is to reach out directly to them in a blog. Find out more about the reasons for starting the EERA Blog from our President, Professor Joe O’Hara.

Who is the blog for?

For anyone who is interested in education! That includes (naturally) our members, but also educators and policymakers around Europe, and of course parents. We intend the blog to be accessible to all.

Why should I contribute to the EERA blog?

Casey Fiesler wrote this excellent article on why (and how) academics should blog their papers but here is a quick summary:

  • tell your own story without the filter of a journalist
  • enable journalists to grasp the key results of your research in accessible language
  • reach interested parties who might not dive deep into  academic papers (or even have access to them)
  • summarise your work for your peers and attract their interest
  • include reflections beyond your actual research
  • the more your work is shared, the more it impacts society – and making it available in an easy-to-digest format makes it more shareable

Remember that our target audience is both academic and non-academics and adapt your writing to suit these readers.  Casey Fiedler suggests:

Think about what some of your non-academic friends would find interesting about this research. How does it relate to their lives or to society as a whole? Take the “why do we care” question that’s so important to research and extend it beyond just the narrow research community.

You can find more about our writing style in our Editorial and Style Guidelines.

 

How do I contribute to the EERA Blog?

Anyone who is a member of EERA can contribute an article. Please see our Submission Guidelines for more information on the submission process and get in touch with us. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

What is EERA and what do we do?

What is EERA and what do we do?

EERA – Research for the benefit of education and society

The aim of the ‘European Educational Research Association’ (EERA) is to further high-quality educational research for the benefit of education and society.

High-quality research not only acknowledges its own context but also recognises wider, transnational contexts with their social, cultural and political similarities and differences.

The association’s activities, such as the annual conference, season schools for emerging researchers and publishing, build on and promote free and open dialogue and critical discussion and take a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to theory, methods and research ethics.

You can find more about EERA on our website.