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Researcher Resolutions 2016

Well… 2015 threw us some curve balls, that’s for sure. Which saw us develop agility and flexibility as researchers (and people) in the face of constant change. We still managed to tick off several key professional and personal KPIs (https://thehealthresearchjourney.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/2015-the-year-that-was/).

As researchers we always like to have something measurable in place so this planning provided an evidence-base for some academic tasks which at times can make you feel like banging your head against a wall (i.e. navigating journal submission systems, hoop jumping in the form of meeting grant specifications, and increasing administration tasks which go hand in hand with contemporary teaching roles).

Given the changes in the 2016 year and as blog collaborators not in the same office, the coming 12 months promises some unique but exciting opportunities. You’ll notice several of these involve working together across tasks… and that’s because (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140824235337-22330283-the-three-qualities-of-people-i-most-enjoy-working-with ).

collaboration picture

But we digress… Writing down things we’d like to achieve and then reflecting on these proved very satisfying. So we are doing it again!

  1. Write, find, inspire some useful resources for health research
  2. Guest bloggers – let’s grow this space (AD, CB, IP, LS…)
  3. Joint paper (at least one submitted this year)
  4. Joint project planned
  5. Virtual whiteboard -our attempt to keep connected #watchthisspace
  6. Regular M&M catch ups (some for study, some for op-shopping, some for futures planning!) and more celebrations of achievements together
  7. PNI research hub (let’s dream big!)
  8. Keep working on saying no, but also saying yes
  9. Learn from conflict (try not to run away and hide from it) #Eureka
  10. Be proud of being a multipotentialite – What do you want to do when you grow up? Lots of different things!
  11. Be confident in what we have to offer
  12. Play more across work and life #worklifebalance



Each of us has some additional goals…

JOB would like to:

  • Meet all core assessment and competencies for Masters Health Psychology coursework
  • Work part-time in family business successfully #lifeofachambermaid #multipotentialite
  • Submit my nemesis paper – an RCT vitamin study for stressed women
  • Maintain research connections for future research as a Scientist-Practitioner
  • Be present. Be patient. Be persistent.

LB would like to:

  • Submit 5 current low hanging fruit papers (and have at least 3 of them get accepted)
  • Get some policy experience (maybe by embracing opportunities offered by being a member of different professional associations)
  • Follow through
  • Stop checking emails after hours
  • Be brave and step out of the comfort zone



Manuscripts are from Mars …….. Researchers are from Venus

Sometimes it’s important to remember – Research is what we do, it’s not who we are. It can be incredibly fulfilling, uplifting, fun, overwhelming, ego-filled and exhausting.

Collaborating, working with manuscripts, research in general – if you asked us about our relationship status with research? #ItsComplicated. In particular, on our Health Research Journey we’ve had some love/hate relationships with our paper writing.

Here are a few things we’ve said about manuscripts we’ve been in relationships with …

1. It was love at first cite
2. Are we exclusive or are you seeing other papers
3. I’d like to take things slow
4. I don’t want roses, I want ORCIDs
5. We need to spend some quality time together
6. I’m seeing other papers
7. We need some time apart
8. Where is this relationship going?
9. Let’s not rush into anything
10. I liked you better when you were a conference paper
11. I think we are just staying together for the kids (or the funding body)
12. You’re not really my type
13. I need to work out who I am (especially for interdisciplinary manuscripts)
14. I’m not sure this is the right time for us
15. I don’t see a future for us
16. I think we need to break up
17. I’m having a fling with an old flame (reviving a new version)
18. I need some space (between paragraphs, plus italicised headings and APA referencing)
19. We need to define what our relationship is
20. I’ve been knocked back before so I’m wary about investing too much
21. I’ve set you up on a blind date (with a reviewer)

This is not only about our relationship with our manuscripts; it’s often, and often more importantly, about the relationships between colleagues and co-authors. If you’re lucky you’ll strike a match made in research heaven but sometimes these relationships are just plain tricky and sometimes hard work (It’s not you it’s me… no it’s really you). More on this in future posts… (Coming up soon: ‘Saying no’).

Here are some relevant publishing tips we wish we’d read earlier in our research careers… http://www.elsevier.com/connect/co-authors-gone-bad-how-to-avoid-publishing-conflicts

Wear your heart on your sleeve, not on your research project.

heart(Image sourced from Crunchy Badger)

What’s your current manuscript relationship status? #ResearchItsComplicated

Welcome to the Journey

Why are you here?

  • You’re a researcher?
  • You’re feeling confused or frustrated with the research journey so far, or this particular stage of the journey?
  • You’d like some ideas about surviving in health research, or just want to know that you’re not on your own?

Who are we?
We had the good fortune of being thrown together in an office having both recently completed our PhDs.

Lynsey walked out of the school gates into the psychology section of the university library. She often feels like she’s trying to fit eight days’ of activities into a seven day week, balancing researching, teaching, conferencing, paper writing, netballing, dog walking, socialising, Nutella eating, shoe shopping, list writing and sometimes even sleeping. Lynsey loves the opportunity to be involved but has some lessons to learn in prioritising and saying no.

Jodie followed a path from university drop out, uni-bar hopping, backpacking OS travel, plus a couple of beloved ‘career interruptions’. Jodie thrives on the generation of ideas, big-picture thinking, and the struggle for work-life balance that comes with having two young children. Whilst loving research Jodie also has several manuscripts in various stages that make her sad, mad or glad depending on what day it is.

The paths were different but post-PhDs the workplace was new, the work completely removed from our disciplinary backgrounds. We had to find a way through.

Researchers – different ages, different roads, same start, same current space.

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Why have we started a blog?
In our office around 3.30 on at least one day of the working week we have philosophical conversations about where the bloody hell are we, how we got here, and most importantly what happens next; about feeling confused, uncertain and at times isolated, and not feeling confident about knowing what we should focus our energy on.

Our email inboxes are constantly bombarded with messages about grant writing, professional development opportunities and increasing pressure to publish but how do we know where to start, what to say yes to and when to just say no.

So… instead of eating yet another packet of peanut M&Ms, we thought we’d write a blog.

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What is this blog about?

We have found some useful tools, tips and resources along the way, things that have made our lives easier, or that we wished we’d known about when we started, and we wanted a space to be able to share them, and where other people could share their brilliant finds and ideas.

We have also had some useful and heartfelt conversations and wanted a place to extend these chats to others about issues facing health researchers (especially early career), questions that we often discuss over chicken nachos at Friday lunch and wonder if other people are asking the same things.