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How I seized the research moment

How I seized the research moment
Preeti Raghunath
Fri, 09/21/2018 – 11:05

The best decision I made during my PhD was to seize the research moment!

Most of us PhD researchers spend over half a decade exploring a niche area. We also spend a lot of time and effort in getting publish-worthy work ready. I was no exception. However, I realized that I was missing out on sparks and ideas that would make for interesting reading and listening, since I wanted to work on something as formal as a publishable paper. This is when I decided to take the plunge, and seize the research moment.

How, you ask? Read on.

My research is on a strand of broadcast media policymaking in South Asia. While I find my work super interesting and satiating, I often stumble upon strands of interesting research or thought, that force me to spend some time on them. The initial few years of my PhD were spent in dismissing such thoughts and ideas as extraneous and unnecessary to my core work. However, I soon embraced them since they also helped expand and add richness to my own area of focus — — the broad area of media policy in South Asia.

For instance, I branched out to explore an annual conference held by the International Public Policy Association (IPPA) one year, and it opened up doors on some cross-disciplinary conversations. Similarly, a whim of an idea led me to contact the London School of Economics’ South Asia blog to contribute an article, and now, I’m a regular contributor to the LSE South Asiablog!

I have explored ancillary and adjacent areas of research and writing, not only beefing up my resume but also contributing to my own intellectual journey and broadening my horizon. I have now written and presented extensively on areas like data protection legalities and human security in South Asia, telecommunication policies in the region, regional diplomacy and communication policy, besides presenting on methodological considerations that go into comparative policy studies.

I also found myself applying to and getting selected for workshops and short courses on a range of complementary research fields, where I made use of opportunities to present my work and ideas that bridge research programmes. Exciting opportunities and instances such as these only add to the inner life of a researcher during the PhD journey, which can otherwise be very pointedly focused on one strand of work, and hence, be limiting.

Instead of waiting for formal instances to publish research, I made use of my multidisciplinary bent and newer opportunities like writing for institutional blogs to leverage my interests.

The result? I’m a more content person for putting my ideas and work out there, and engaging with a wide variety of people and occasions.