MA in Hispanic Studies, Class of 2010/11
PhD in Hispanic Studies: "The Language of Sport in Catalan"
What is the scope of your research?
I am researching the historical and current use of Catalan in sports commentary and reporting, with reference to concepts of normative language and wider language policy.
Why did you choose to do your research at Sheffield?
I benefitted from the support and expertise of the staff at University of Sheffield during my Masters year. I enjoyed the opportunity to determine the direction of my own studies, and this was a key factor both in the success of my MA degree and in my decision to read for a PhD.
I was also given excellent practical support and advice when applying for PhD courses and for funding. Furthermore my PhD supervisors are experts in the field of my research, meaning advice and direction is always available when I need it. For all these reasons it was a natural choice to place Sheffield at the top of my list when deciding where to read for my PhD.
What's your experience of...
...being a postgraduate researcher?
...the doctoral development programme and other development/training opportunities offered?
...postgraduate research community at Sheffield?
My research track MA degree did provide me with a taste of what PhD study is like, but I am continuously learning how best to study and indeed how to balance study with life outside my PhD. Although relatively little structure is imposed on postgraduate researchers, developing and adhering to my own routine maximizes the effectiveness of my study time, and allows me to enjoy my personal life and also to work one evening per week.
The DDP (Doctoral Development Programme) provides me with the opportunity to develop competencies associated with my research, and also skills that will be invaluable in seeking and securing employment in the future. Whilst some aspects of the DDP are common to all researchers (eg Research Ethics and Integrity), the Programme is designed to meet my own specific developmental needs, and I have been encouraged to select from a wide range of modules based on a Training Needs Analysis which I wrote with the help of my supervisors.
I am fortunate to have a dedicated workstation alongside other PhD students in the School of Modern Languages and Linguistics. We have excellent academic relationships, regularly exchanging ideas and advice. The more experienced researchers are a constant source of support for me. We also socialise together which reinforces our sense of community.
What advice can you give to those considering doing a PhD?
I think that anyone considering reading for a PhD will already have decided whether it is a sound investment in terms of time and money, and I would really urge prospective students to take this decision seriously. Anything less than full commitment to both your area of research, and to spending three years (or more) as a researcher would, I believe, make life very hard indeed.
If you are sure that a PhD is the right move, then it is vital to identify someone that can effectively supervise your research, both in terms of expertise, and in fostering an excellent working relationship. Beyond this, look at the quality of the postgraduate student community and the study environment, and ensure that both of them appeal to you. Three or more years are too long to spend in the wrong place, or doing the wrong thing.
What is your career plan once you have completed your PhD?
I will pursue a career as an academic following completion of my PhD, supported by opportunities to attend conferences, gain teaching experience, and produce work for publication during my research.
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