February 2017

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DTC Matters
17th Edition

Welcome to the seventeenth edition of the White Rose Social Sciences DTC newsletter; “DTC Matters”.

The White Rose Doctoral Training Centre was launched in November 2011. Read more

This newsletter is issued quarterly and includes NEWS AND EVENTS, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES, PATHWAY NEWS, ESRC NEWS and FEEDBACK ON FEEDBACK. If you would like to submit an article for a future edition of DTC Matters or provide feedback on any of the featured articles, go to ‘News and click ‘New Article +’ button.

New AQC Student Representatives

Mostafa Attia (Leeds), Marion Oveson (Sheffield) and Shuang Qiu (York) have been appointed as Student Representatives on the Academic Quality Committee of the WRDTC (and WRDTP going forward). They will join current Reps Ning Lu (Leeds), Tobias Stadler (Sheffield) and Annis Stead (York).

Transition from Doctoral Training Centre to Doctoral Training Partnership

The White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP) will formally begin in October 2017.

By combining the experience of the White Rose Universities (Leeds, Sheffield, and York) previously involved in the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) with the new partners (Bradford, Sheffield Hallam, Hull, and Manchester Metropolitan), WRDTP will offer excellent supervision, first class discipline and cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and transferable skills training, and a world-class intellectual environment for postgraduate research students. It will enable PhD students to participate in local, national and international networks of non-academic partners, opinion formers and policy makers.

The current DTC Pathways will be replaced by seven Interdisciplinary Themed Pathways, which will support work across disciplines in the Social Sciences.

Current WRDTC PhD researchers will become members of the WRDTP and will be contacted by the WRDTP Office in April 2017 to select a match with one of the new Pathways. The new DTP Interdisciplinary Themed Pathways will be showcased at the WRDTC Conference on 29 June 2017 in Sheffield facilitated by the new WRDTP Pathway Directors.

Open Scholarship and Research Data Management for Doctoral Researchers, 15 December 2016, University of Leeds

As part of its focus on advanced training, last December the WRDTC hosted an event on the current open scholarship debate, including Open Access, Open Data and Shared Access.

Led by Prof. Martin Jones, WRDTC Director, the event saw a range of speakers from the University of Leeds library, the UK Data Service, and academic departments at Leeds and Sheffield, encouraging debate on what open access and open data mean to researchers at the early stages of their career.

Presentations and a video recording from the day are available on the WRDTC website.

Victoria Pattinson and James Beresford, both from the Sociology Pathway, University of Leeds, attended the event.

Victoria commented: “This event was well structured; a set of lectures introduced both the principles of managing research data as well as accessing and publishing open access material.  Following this, the interactive workshop was beneficial to consider how the issues raised apply to my own research. As a first-year ESRC student, I found it helpful as a comprehensive introduction to the different potential issues and resources available for support. I would definitely recommend attending early in the PhD process to anticipate how to manage these issues before commencing fieldwork.”

James also added: “Open Scholarship and Research Data Management for Doctoral Researchers provided a really interesting and supportive environment with direct relevance to my own research and research practices. Not only were many speakers present but they also made themselves available after they spoke to give advice and guidance to younger researchers. Of particular interest was Professor Bren Neale’s enlightening and pertinent talk The Analytical Journey: A research perspective on managing data, and the workshop activities around it. I would recommend it as an invaluable resource to all PHD students and something of particular importance for those early in the process”.

RCUK Policy Internship Success for WRDTC Doctoral Researchers

Congratulations to Neda Nobari Nazari (Socio-legal Studies Pathway, University of Leeds) and Rose Wastling (Psychology Pathway, University of Leeds), who have been offered internships hosted by the Government Office for Science through a Research Council Policy Internships Scheme, working respectively with Home Office and the Cabinet Office.

Rose is investigating visual memory for her PhD research, while Neda’s research focuses on Preventative Counterterrorism Policing: Impact of Community Engagement on Public Cooperation. Neda has given the following comments after being selected for the RCUK Internship:

“This is a fantastic opportunity and I am very excited about it. This internship will provide me with the opportunity to better grasp the workings of crime and policing, and their moving behavioural trends. This is very relevant to my research, as I try to explore the complex reasons behind why someone would report a person at risk of radicalisation/extremism. In particular, I am focusing on the impact of community engagement (a policing strategy) on citizens’ reporting behaviour. Reporting behaviour is vital to the prevention of terrorism, or crime in general. Consequently, such information can shape policy and practice, as crime, or behaviour that can influence it is understood holistically rather than reductively. This internship will provide me with the experience of presenting such information for the purpose of policy and its users. I am very grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to starting this internship.”

Government ONS – Wellbeing, Inequalities, Sustainability and Environment (WISE) Division Internship awarded to WRDTC PhD researcher

Sarah Knight (Environment and Sustainability Pathway, University of York) has secured an internship at the Office for National Statistics within the Wellbeing, Inequalities, Sustainability and Environment (WISE) Division. Sarah’s PhD project focuses on The Impact of Natural Capital on Subjective Well-being.

WRDTC PhD graduate obtains postdoc at Harvard

Dan Denis (Psychology Pathway, University of Sheffield) recently completed his PhD and obtained a postdoctoral position at Harvard University, USA. Many congratulations!

WRDTC PhD Researcher accepted for PSA/House of Commons Committee Office Placement

Alex Prior (Politics and International Relations Pathway) has recently been accepted for a prestigious PSA/House of Commons Committee Office Placement.

Through working closely with select committees and the Scrutiny Unit, these placements provide valuable first-hand experience of the parliamentary process. They involve a wide variety of responsibilities including policy analysis, first-hand research and briefing committee members. Parliamentary placements are highly sought after and involve a competitive application process.

Alex gave the following response to the good news: “I’m looking forward to getting first-hand experience of the select committee system, which will benefit my academic research and my working knowledge of Parliament. My research is focused on political engagement, which is more relevant than ever to the work of these committees. I’m grateful for the opportunity, and keen to begin!”

Second prize for WRDTC PhD researcher at University of Leeds Showcase PGR Conference

Ben Vincent (Sociology Pathway, University of Leeds) won the second prize in the Research Image Competition, part of the University-wide Showcase PGR Conference which took place on 5 December 2016 at the University of Leeds. Over 30 research images were submitted by PhD researchers from all disciplines in the University.

Research methods blog post by WRDTC PhD researcher

Gillian Mooney (Sociology Pathway, University of Leeds) wrote a blog entry for the New Social Media, New Social Science?blog, discussing Facebook as a tool for researcher, drawing on her own research experience.

PhD Researcher in the News

 Ben Willis (Politics and International Relations Pathway, University of Leeds) wrote an article for The Conversation, discussing how careful human rights diplomacy is putting real pressure on North Korea. The article was republished by other news websites, including The Independent.

White Rose Brussels – Photography Competition

White Rose Brussels invites staff, students and alumni at the universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York to take part in a photo competition. Submissions are invited under three categories: My Yorkshire, My University and My Research. The winner for each category will receive a £100 voucher; the runner up and third place will receive £50 and £20 respectively. The deadline for entry is 31 March 2017.

WRDTC Advanced Training

Below is a list of training sessions coming up, including those focusing on Advanced Qualitative Methods (AQUALM) or Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM). When new sessions are available, they are advertised on the WRDTC website and Twitter account, so keep an eye out!

  • WRDTC Advanced Training Series: Understanding the Impact of Research Perspectives: The Importance of Metatheory, Research Methodology and Reflexivity in Crafting Qualitative Research, University of Leeds, 24 February 2017
  • WRDTC Advanced Training Series: Managing Collaboration and Dissemination – Impact Training Session 2, University of Sheffield, 27 February 2017
  • WRDTC Advanced Training Series: Elite Interviewing, University of Sheffield, 8 March 2017
  • WRDTC Advanced Training Series: Achieving Excellence in Impact – Impact Training Session 3, University of Sheffield, 13 March 2017
  • WRDTC Advanced Training Series: Researching Lives Dynamically Through Time, University of Leeds, 6-7 April 2017 (registrations open 17 February 2017)

WRDTC Advanced Training Series: Advanced Quantitative Methods Taster Event, 26 January 2017, University of Sheffield

About 90 PhD researchers from Leeds, Sheffield and York attended this half-day training event offered by the White Rose DTC in collaboration with Sheffield Methods Institute. The aim of the event was to provide an introduction to a range of advanced quantitative methods and analytical techniques that are commonly used in social science. The following methods were introduced during this event, and more in-depths training on many of these techniques will be offered later in the year:

  • Cluster Methods
  • Structural Equation Modelling
  • Multi-level Modelling
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Quantitative Analysis of Language
  • Multi Agent Stochastic Simulation
  • Statistical Analysis of Networks using R

Call for Papers – The Sheffield Student Journal for Sociology – “Social Issues”

The first edition of the Sheffield Student Journal for Sociology is going to be published online in June 2017 – the broad theme of the first issue will be ‘Social Issues’.

Submissions are accepted from undergraduate students, masters students and PhD researchers. These can include anything from research papers to literature reviews, ranging in length from 2000 – 5000 words. For more information on the types of submissions accepted, please check the journal’s website.

Please direct all enquiries to: and follow the journal at: @ShefSJS

Call for Abstracts: Interdisciplinary Workshop on Qualitative Data Analysis in Practice: Experiences, Challenges and Possibilities, 27 February 2017, University of Leeds

PhD students and early career researchers from any field are invited to submit an abstract on their experiences of qualitative data analysis at the Workshop on Qualitative Data Analysis in Practice, which is going to take place on 27 of February 2017, at the School of Education, University of Leeds. Contributions from multiple disciplines and topics are encouraged, but applicants must have completed their data analysis and be able to present it by taking a practical approach. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 February 2017.

Call for Abstracts: Quality and Reflexivity in Qualitative Research: A Postgraduate Conference, 17 May 2017, University of Leeds

It is with great pleasure that the Resonances Committee can now confirm and invite you to our 3rd postgraduate conference on 17 May 2017.

The theme of this year’s conference is: Quality and Reflexivity in Qualitative Research. We welcome abstracts that are centered on how, as qualitative researchers, we can work towards attaining and judging good quality research, alongside effective and innovative methods of reflexivity, in the areas of Data Collection, Data Analysis, Data Representation, Impact of Research. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 17 February 2017.

Call for Papers: Europe, Migration and the New Politics of (In)security: A White Rose Collaboration Fund Network

Europe, Migration and the New Politics of (In)security is a White Rose Collaboration Fund Network that is examining Europe’s ‘new’ politics of (in)security. The network is broadly interested in what the invocation of novelty and crisis in relation to migration allows governing authorities to do in the name of security.

Paper proposals are invited for three network workshops:

Experiencing (in)securities – Friday 3 March 2017, University of Leeds

Governing (in)securities – Friday 30 June 2017, University of York

Mediating (in)securities – University of Sheffield, Wednesday 27 September 2017

Call for Abstracts: Branching out in Research, 13 June 2017, University of Sheffield

We invite you to submit an abstract for our 2017 Postgraduate conference hosted by the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield. The focus of the conference for this year will be ‘Branching out in Research’ which aims to explore how we can look beyond the usual realms of social research, in terms of topic areas, social groups and methodology. This may include the following areas, but is not restricted to:

  • Under researched topics
  • Working with ‘hard to reach’ groups
  • Innovative research methods
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Collaboration and engagement

This one-day conference aims to bring together postgraduate research students and early career researchers from social science and related disciplines to present their research and ideas, build networks and develop presentation skills.

Research Students’ Education Conference, University of Leeds, 17 May 2017

The 11th Research Students’ Education Conference (RSEC) 2017 will be held at the University House, University of Leeds on 17 May. This year our conference theme is “Impact of your Research”. The conference aims to provide a platform for bringing the Education PGR community together. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 31st March 2017.

Selling and sub-priming the subject through stealth: Drawing digital divisions through tracking and trading, University of Leeds, 26 April 2017

In April 2017, the Centre for Law and Social Justice at the University of Leeds is hosting Prof. Bev Skeggs, who will be talking about her ongoing ESRC-funded research entitled ‘a sociology of values and value’. This is a unique opportunity for academics and PGRs alike to engage with Professor Skeggs and her work into value, class and social divisions in an informal setting, as well as to hear about her very exciting new project, which considers the way in which technology and social media are new routes through which class and classification can be made and remade. Postgraduate researchers and early career scholars are very welcome. The seminar would be particularly relevant to those working in ideas surrounding marginalisation, social class, gender, cultural sociology and ideas of value, recognition and legitimacy.

York Policy Review

 Gillian Loomes (Social Policy Pathway, University of York) wrote a special blog entry about her experience of guest-editing a recent special edition of York Policy Review. You can read Gillian’s reflections here.

Critical Race and Ethnicities Network (CREN)

New Directions in Anti-Racist Scholarship and Activism — Call for Chapter Proposals

The Critical Race and Ethnicities Network (CREN) is working on an edited collection on New Directions in Anti-Racism: Scholarship and ActivismRead the full call here.

RiDNet – Researchers in Development Network

5th Annual RiDNet Conference: “I, Researcher: exploring the research experience – context, self and interdisciplinary practice”, 27 January 2017, University of Leeds

 The annual RiDNet conference took place on 27 January 2017, and focused on the experience of conducting research through three themes – Context, Self and Interdisciplinary Practice.

Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship, Germany

by Lutz Brusche (Management and Business, Accounting and Finance and Work Psychology Pathway, University of Leeds)

There are those who research and those who do, or aren’t there?

Next to every entrepreneurial endeavour will require funding, which is why the field of entrepreneurial funding received a lot of scholarly attention over the last decades including my own research. To gain more exposure to practised entrepreneurship and to improve the managerial contributions by my thesis, I spent a month at the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship in Munich in September 2016.

The Strascheg Center undertook a number of activities to promote and foster entrepreneurship, which provided a great opportunity to ensure my research can be communicated effectively to the practitioners in the field and develop its full impact. While in Munich, I got the chance to work door to door with start-up firms that were located in the institute’s incubator, I participated in consultancy sessions for nascent entrepreneurs, I reviewed and assessed numerous business plans and I acted as a financial coach to student teams of an international summer academy with the intention to start up a business. I also met a great number of people from the start-up community in Munich via an event called ‘innovation café’, organised by the institute.

In addition, one of the institute’s researchers used the same methodology applied in my thesis in a different context, allowing me to test my methodological robustness. I had several in-depth conversations about the use of the critical incident technique (by Flanagan, 1954) as a framework to conduct semi-structured interviews and I was challenged on several assumptions for my thesis, which allowed me to gain clarity on my research results and the applied methodology.

All of these activities enabled me to reflect on the applicability of my research for managers and entrepreneurs, it helped me to communicate my research to several people with diverse backgrounds, who were interested in very different aspects of my research and it ensured that I could test the previously gained knowledge from the academic literature with the realities of a start-up incubator in a university context.

I am very grateful to the ESRC Overseas Visit scheme which opened up this enriching opportunity for my research and my career development.

Company Internship Report: The Field Lab, Uganda

By Matthew Robson (Economics Pathway, University of York)

The internship I undertook was with the Field Lab; a start-up company in Uganda, which facilitates lab-in-the-field experiments for experimental economists. Through the internship I was given the opportunity to learn the skills which are integral for conducting such experiments, run my own experiment and embrace Ugandan culture.

The first half of the internship was conducted remotely from York, while the latter half involved travelling to the town of Mbale, in Uganda. The former involved learning how to programme in Survey Solutions; software which enables in-depth surveys to be ran, using touch-screen devices, in developing countries. With this knowledge I programmed detailed surveys for two clients of the Field Lab, who were running lab-in-the-field experiments in Uganda. After this, I travelled to Mbale, on the eastern border of Uganda. There, with the support of the Field Lab team, I was able to prepare and run a lab-in-the-field experiment. I went through each stage of the experimental process: design; training of research assistants; sampling; recruiting; piloting and running of the experiment. Below is an image which shows the set-up of the experiment:

Alongside the work, I hoped to be able to observe, and engage with, local Ugandan culture. Due the relationships built between both local Ugandans and other researchers out there I was, indeed, able to become fully immersed. On free weekends I attended as many typical Uganda events as possible, amongst other things I: attended both a Catholic and Pentecostal Church, ate at local pork joints, watched tribal dances and learned to cook several authentic dishes.

The direct impact from the internship is that the research done will form a chapter of my PhD. More indirect impacts concern the skills learned. Running an experiment in the developing world requires an entirely different skill-set from those needed in the developed world. Through running the experiment, amongst other skills, I have learned: how to write scripts and instructions which clearly explain complex experiments to participants whose English is often not strong; to overcome the issues of sampling and recruitment which were frequent; and to teach participants one-on-one how to use the touch-screen tablets to make their decisions. The work done was a first for the Field Lab; now the touch-screen tablets can now be used in the future, as a supplement to more traditional methods. The skills I learned will prove invaluable to the rest of my PhD and would not have been possible without the opportunity to do the internship.

I think on a more personal level I have learned to be more patient and more generous, traits I frequently observed in my time there. I have learned an incredible amount about a culture, and country, that I had little knowledge of before. Indeed, I think this side to personal development is as important as the particular skills learned. It directs ideas for research and enables alternative perspectives to be considered when conducting further research.

Communications and Media Studies Pathway

‘How to get your PhD published in journals’ Roundtable, 12 January 2017, University of Leeds

 On Thursday 12 January 2017, postgraduate students and early career researchers gathered for a roundtable session on ‘how to get your PhD published in journals’. The event was hosted by the Communication and Media Pathway of the ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Centre and took place at the 2017 annual Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) conference in Leeds. Paul Stringer (Communication and Media Studies Pathway, University of Leeds) wrote a useful summary of the roundtable.

Education Pathway

‘Getting Published’ webinar, 20 January 2017

By Suhaili A. Jalil (Education Pathway, University of Sheffield)

A White Rose DTC webinar on “Getting Published” was organised by the Education Pathway on 20 January 2017 for doctoral students of Universities of York, Sheffield and Leeds. Chris Kyriacou, Professor in Educational Psychology at the Department of Education, University of York presented the webinar, which was transmitted live across three venues; one in each of the three participating universities. Over 40 students attended, and another webinar is planned for the summer term.

Getting articles published in reputable and relevant journals is desirable yet challenging, especially for doctoral students. Therefore, an exposure on what it takes to get published and the process of article submission, which were some of the aspects covered in the webinar, were indeed of interest to students at all stages of their doctorate. Other areas covered in the session were: the kinds of material or topic one could submit for journal publication while pursuing and after completing doctoral studies, choosing a suitable journal, preparing a manuscript for the submission and dealing with feedback from journal editors. Professor Kyriacou also shared useful insights on the ‘tricks of the trade’ that will be needed in journal article submission.

The audience at all the venues had the chance to participate and posed very good questions to the presenter on copyright and readership as well as dealing with contradicting opinions between authors and editors.

Management and Business, Accounting and Finance and Work Psychology Pathway


‘Managing in Turbulent Times’ conference, 8 May 2017, University of York

 This Pathway conference will take place at The York Management School on Monday 8th May 2017 and is open to all PhD students in Business and Manage­ment studying at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. This is an invaluable opportunity for PhD students to present their work and get feedback and advice on their research as well as network with other scholars in the field. This year’s theme is “Managing in Turbulent Times” and we would welcome your submissions that align with this.

The conference will feature a poster session, research conversations, and oral presentations, aimed at PhD researchers at different stages.

Socio-legal Studies Pathway

WRDTC Socio-legal and Legal PGR Conference 2017: ‘Law and justice in a post-truth society’, 20 April 2017, University of Sheffield

The conference is open to all postgraduate research students from the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, regardless of funding. First years are especially encouraged to submit an abstract, as this is an excellent chance to present your work in a constructive and supportive environment. Other year PGRs are, however, also more than welcome.

The papers to be presented should broadly correspond to one of these three research streams:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law and Social Justice
  • Business and Economic Law and Practice

The deadline for submissions of abstracts is 24 February 2017.

Is your research ‘ready for the media’?

Did you know free media training is offered to all ESRC-funded academics who are working on news-worthy research projects?

The one-day training sessions are an opportunity for researchers, no matter what stage of their career, to develop their skills and feel comfortable handling media interviews. Whether a PhD student, postdoctoral researcher or senior fellow, the new practical media training session provides the guidance needed to engage the media with confidence – and plenty of opportunity to practice.

In small group settings run by journalists, the sessions are full of simulations providing each delegate with expert advice, allowing them to develop their interview technique, explain the findings of their research, and pitch their story.

There are 10 sessions scheduled across 2017 in locations including Coventry, Edinburgh, London, and Manchester.  Book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

For further information see the Media training booking form and the Media training terms and conditions. For anything else please contact