Archives for : January 2015

What does a PhD student do all week?  1

Whenever I tell people about my job as a PhD student they tell me that they could “never work on the same thing for four years!”.

Like doing your PhD is mindlessly slaving on one specific task, non-stop, for four years. I guess it’s one of the most common misconceptions about doing your PhD. While it is true that I am spending four years working towards one thing: my dissertation and defence, I am not working on one thing at all.

In fact, being a PhD student is a very diverse job with a lot of possibilities and quite some freedom to choose. After four (or three, or five) years, your dissertation needs to be finished, but it’s not like you can decide to start writing it on your first day.


Things that need to be done before you can finish your dissertation:

  1. You need to read about your subjectrequired-reading
  2. Your research needs to be planned
  3. Data needs to be collected
    1. Instruments should be developed (or found somewhere)
    2. You will spend time finding participants
  4. Data needs to be analysed (maybe you even need to spare some time for data cleaning)
  5. Results need to be interpreted
  6. And of course those results should be written down
    1. You will have to spend some time researching journals that you want to publish in
    2. You will spend endless hours polishing your text until it is perfect (although it never will be)
  7. You’ll have numerous meetings with your supervisor(s) to discuss all these different steps

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5 Success Factors of Multilingual Universities  2

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As promised in our last blogpost, in this post we share our view on what makes multilingual universities a success:

1. Promote teaching and learning through multiple languages
There is sometimes a tendency to promote the idea that being a multilingual university today means adopting English as the main language of instruction and marginalising courses taught in the national language. This is not the vision of multilingualism we imagine. As mentioned in one of the responses to our previous blogpost, our concept of a multilingual university is one that supports teaching and learning in the national language and additional languages. Decisions as to which language is used in which course will depend on the needs of the students, the program goals and the University profile.

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The Hagelslag Dilemma  3

Blog 1 - hagelslag 3

I’m standing in the supermarket. It is a rather large supermarket, but luckily I only have to be in one department. So, here I am, standing in front of a pile of boxes of chocolate sprinkles (“hagelslag”, in its Dutch term). The place has huge departments and lots of choice. I recently got hired to do research on boxes of hagelslag. Which makes me very excited, because I love hagelslag! I look at the shelves, no, I gaze in awe at the shelves, where piles and piles of hagelslag are exposed, hundreds and thousands of different kinds. Since I know nothing about hagelslag yet, I have to get a grip on the field I’m studying. I have to choose the right boxes of hagelslag to start with, otherwise it will take me ages to find some information. After all, I’m getting paid now to choose the appropriate boxes of hagelslag for my research. Where to start?? Read more