What does it mean to be a ‘researcher’?

Please note that this course is finished for the moment, but you can still read the blog posts and undertake the activities. Please feel welcome to add your comments to the posts and join the ongoing conversation.


A PhD produces both a thesis and a researcher. For many HDRs, doctoral education is a transformative journey, at the end of which they take on a new professional identity as a ‘researcher’. This Pomodoro Break explores the ways in which we become researchers and how we demonstrate that identity to ourselves and the world. We finish the academic year on a celebratory note after the rigours of the last Pomodoro Break about examination.

By the end of this mini-course you will be able to:

  • identify the objects and spaces that affirm your researcher identity
  • understand how you can position yourself as a researcher in your field
  • apply these concepts to build your own researcher profile

The course will run over a week, 2-6 December 2019Please register your interest by midday on Monday 2 December. Then we’ll send you a link each day to a short blog post that provides some stimulating reading, links to relevant material, provocative questions and useful activities. All up, the reading and responding will take 20-30 minutes – just enough time to drink your coffee.

For more information and any questions, contact Cally Guerin.

Day 1: Being a researcher

Introduction This mini-course focuses on who we are as researchers: How do we see our role in the world? What is important to us in our work? Where do we perform this new professional self? And what helps us understand the personal transformation that occurs during a research degree? Together we will investigate some of […]


Day 2: Research behaviours

Now that you’ve thought about where you do your research, and identified some symbols that represent yourself as a researcher, it’s time to turn to the behaviours that demonstrate your researcher self. Academic and researcher identities are exhibited in how we speak, read, write, behave, and think about the three main elements of academic life: […]


Day 3: Positioning yourself as a researcher: Authorial voice

As we saw yesterday, performing the actions of a researcher is key to exhibiting the behaviours that help others see this emerging identity. Central to how you present yourself as a researcher is the persona you adopt in your writing, which includes positioning yourself in relation to the topic under investigation. This is what supervisors […]


Day 4: Thesis acknowledgements

Education is widely regarded as a transformative force in our lives: part of our identity includes what we know about the world. It makes sense then, as we learn more, our view of the world and ourselves changes. Thesis acknowledgements offer us some interesting glimpses into the emerging identities of the researcher/scholar as HDRs sit […]


Day 5: Wrap up – Your story as a researcher

Now that you have started to articulate a sense of yourself as a researcher, where do you want to take that next? What effect do you want your research to have in the world? What do you want do with your knowledge and who will benefit from your research? Thinking about these questions will help […]