Category Archives: Research

2020 Vision – a wide perspective

Maybe I should call it 360-degree vision.  I seem to be looking in several directions all at once.

I contributed to a Music Graduate Careers website earlier last year.  It’s curated by a scholar from the University of Northumbria, and it went live this week.  Interesting to see the very many paths a music degree can take you!

What else? I’ve been invited to participate in an AHTV event coordinated for AHRC grant-holders, looking at ways researchers can get involved in television.  This is an exciting opportunity, and I’m looking forward to it immensely.

I’m awaiting the outcome of a grant application that I submitted at the very beginning of November – a few more weeks to wait yet, so I just have to be patient! – and I have another idea for a big grant application, but that still requires a bit more work before we can upload it as a formal submission.

All the above is exciting stuff, but some further developments have been rather more unexpected.  Last November, my solo flute composition was performed by a doctoral student at the London College of music, with another performance expected this year.  And yesterday, I was in touch with a folklore expert on the Isle of Wight (he curates https://www.thesacredisle.uk/), who has accepted for broadcast two SoundCloud recordings of a couple of my song compositions, performed by a librarian soprano of my acquaintance.  (Librarian soprano? Soprano librarian?  We know each other because we’re librarians, AND because of a shared musical interest.  You know what I mean, anyway!)  Suffice to say, these songs will  be broadcast on an Isle of Wight folklore programme that this expert is curating.  (They’ll be available online, which is just as well, because it could be difficult trying to tune in by radio from Glasgow!)

I have conflicted feelings about my compositional activities.  Surrounded by “real composers”, I suffer severely from imposter syndrome in this regard.  And yet, whilst I’m not a professional composer, I do appear to be a composer of some sort!  I can only say, watch this space …

Living with the Guilt (Being a Part-Time Researcher)

I originally posted this reflection on the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall network blog, but it has a place here, too, since not all my followers share my Stationers’ Hall musical interests. Please click on the link below, to read it:-

Living with the Guilt

Ambition Stairs

Three roles – or is it four?

Four days a week, I’m an academic librarian.  One day, I’m a postdoctoral researcher.  In August, the emphasis will shift slightly to three and a half days and one and a half, for the duration of my AHRC network funding grant.

A couple of days ago I realised my SCONUL Focus article was now in print, describing how my three roles in librarianship, research and pedagogy serve one another.  I find it quite easy writing about process, and I’ve often been asked to write or speak about this kind of thing.   In fact, my PGCert project also had a focus on process: I was contemplating the best ways to support distance learners in their information needs and skills development, and although the project gave me insight into how social scientists conduct educational research, and conducting the survey and interviews was an unexpected eye-opener, at the end of the day I was writing not only about my research findings, but about process, ie, the best ways to support learners.

However, it’s more challenging and perhaps more satisfying to write engagingly and accessibly about my musicological research, because it goes deeper into my specialism.  I have several pieces of writing submitted and awaiting publication at the moment, but what’s missing is something actually on the drawing-board, being written right now.  That’s largely because I was completing the PGCert portfolio.  Librarianship happens four days a week, research a fifth, and the PGCert had to fit around family life and my spare time.   Which didn’t, to be truthful, leave any spare time for writing!

However, I remembered the other day that I gave a paper earlier this year for which I have not yet sought a published home.   Maybe, just maybe I ought to dig it out and see what needs to be done to turn it into a proper paper for submission.

Librarianship, research, pedagogy … and author.  Well, after my annual leave, anyway!

 

Blending Librarianship With Research and Pedagogy (SCONUL Focus 69, 56-59)

SCONUL is the Standing Conference of National and University Librarians.  SCONUL Focus online is an open access publication.  Vol.69 is dedicated to articles by librarians engaged in various aspects of research.  My line-manager suggested I should contribute something – this is it.
Karen McAulay, ‘Blending Librarianship with Research and Pedagogy‘, SCONUL 69, 56-59 (July 2017)
ABSTRACT: I contend that the combination of librarianship with research is beneficial both on a personal level and to the library and institution, but that the addition of a third element – pedagogy – brings even stronger benefits.

Podcast Your Research?

Flushed with anticipated success, I blogged for the library about disseminating your research via social media.  I’ll reproduce it here (after all, they’re my words!)  This afternoon, I’m meeting up with our learning technologist for a personal tutorial in devising podcasts and related formats, so I’ll probably have more to add to this later!  I have two reasons for needing to know – disseminating my own research, and sharing “how-to” videos etc for people using our library resources.

We’ve just found a great blog post on the LSE Impact Blog, about the benefits of disseminating your research using social media – and, specifically, by using podcasts.

Podcasting is like broadcasting, over the internet.  It tends to mean an audio recording, and means your research can potentially reach a much wider audience.  Have a look at this!

There’s a book, Communicating Your Research By Social Media, which looks really interesting, but we’ll get that later on this year.  For now, read the LSE Impact Blog and see if it sets you thinking!

  • What could you podcast about?
  • Or would you use a blog (with or without video)?
  • Or a powerpoint (ditto)
  • Or a powerpoint with voiceover?
  • What technical expertise would you need?
  • Would it be worth learning these skills?  (Rhetorical question!)

The REF and the TEF

My trade union is the EIS-ULA, a Scottish lecturers’ union which also admits academic librarians.  Today I opened the December bulletin to find an update on the next REF (Research Excellence Framework), which takes place in 2021.  I’m surprised it is as far away as this!  I know there’s a new tranche of funding in 2018, so there’s something I’m not understanding here! Anyway, the 2021 REF will reportedly take into account the findings of the Stern Review, which was commissioned by the Scottish Funding Council.  It’s potentially of some interest to me, assuming I still have a research role five years from now.

There’s also a paragraph about the Teaching Excellence Framework, an English initiative which first ran this year.  It seems to be a matter of choice whether Scottish universities sign up to this, and I don’t know if my own institution has any plans yet.  What I do know, however, is that we are concerned about pedagogy – otherwise I wouldn’t be voluntarily doing the PGCert in Learning and Teaching.

I’m posting the link to the December bulletin to ensure that it’s here for reference later, should I need it.  I’ll also post it on my Resources (bibliography) page:-

https://www.eis.org.uk/images/ula/bulletins/BulletinDec16.pdf