Saturday, 6 May 2006

Infoscape Lab

In May 2006, I became a Research Associate at Ryerson University's Infoscape Lab:

For most part, I stopped blogging at this time, because most of my public research information was collected and documented on the Infoscape Lab web site.

Monday, 6 February 2006

SSHRC Doctoral Proposal 2005

A draft of my 2005 SSHRC Doctoral Proposal can be found here: click here

I came in 3rd on the SSHRC waiting list that year, but no more funds were made available. I post this proposal here so that people can have a better understanding of how my research has developed over the years, and also for those who are attempting to crack the SSHRC system. I hope this helps in both of those regards, but please be warned that this 2005 proposal brought me the closest I was ever to be, in terms of receiving a SSHRC award. I did receive Ontario Graduate Scholarships, but never a SSHRC. I guess there's always the SSHRC Post-Doc to try for!

To help those writing SSHRCs, I guess I should let you know that I worked closely with a number of people who did receive SSHRCs and a few of my friends received CGSs as well. The keys to remember are to keep working at presenting "the complete package" of good grades, publications, conferences, and a well thought out committee of support. The proposal should also emphasize the need for your research in a well contextualized literature review; if you can get someone who has sat on a SSHRC committee before to look at your proposal, this is a great way to ensure a higher success rate. Also, another important item to emphasize is any collaborative aspects of your project -- who is working with you, and how many people will this research affect? Lastly, make sure your SSHRC forms and documents follow their latest standards -- they seem to change each year, and many schools offer workshops or advice each year on how to succeed at SSHRC and OGS applications. I recommend attending these workshops each year you apply because they offer insight into any standards that have changed.

Good luck in your SSHRC writing!!

Wednesday, 1 February 2006

PhD Dissertation Proposal / SSHRC Proposal

The following documents are attached to help those working on PhDs, especially those in the Joint York/Ryerson Communication and Culture Programme (Toronto, Canada):

1) My Accepted Dissertation Proposal:

This version does not have my appendices attached, but it should give you an idea of what a successful dissertation proposal looks like. This proposal is based on the standards posted here:

You can also compare the proposal with my old 2005 SSHRC Plan of Study to see how it has evolved over the years.

2) My Most Successful SSHRC Proposal (Accepted for funding by SSHRC in April 2006, but no more funds were alloted that year -- I was third on the waiting list):

Acknowledgements: I have to thank my dissertation committee for their feedback on these documents - Drs. Ruth Panofsky, Greg Elmer, and Kevin Dowler. Also, I have to thank those folks at the Infoscape Lab, and many of my peers in the ComCult Programme for their help. Laurie Petrou and Ganaele Langlois graciously shared their Dissertation Proposals with me, so I hope to keep this tradition alive by allowing my proposal to be viewed on-line.

Sunday, 1 January 2006

Dissertation Committee and Proposal Advice

Here's some quick advice for those finalizing their committees and completing their dissertation proposals.

A. Committee Selection

1) Supervisor:

Your supervisor should clearly be someone who can be a mentor and also an expert in your area of research. Your choice of supervisor requires you to be confident this person will champion you for years to come, as he or she will be writing letters of reference for you among other very important duties. Questions you might want to ask from the start:

1. Does your work offer a substantial contribution to, or overlap with, the supervisor's areas of interest?
2. Will this person write good letters of reference for you over the coming years?
3. Is this person a Full Professor or do they have a high standing in your academic community?

2) Other good advice that I received from peers includes making sure that your committee includes people that fill these roles:

1. Editor: The best editor of your work that you have ever had in any of your courses (e.g. grammar and style issues).
2. Cheerleader: Someone who will be a cheerleader of your work throughout the process.
3. Critic: Someone who will be a harsh critic (and generally you do not want this person as your supervisor; the 3rd reader is usually a good place to situate this person).

B. Dissertation Proposals

1) Make sure your committee is clear and in agreement on the length of your proposal. For example, there were two sets of documents in my doctoral programme that use to offer conflicting advice – one said the proposal had to be 10 pages and the other said 20 pages; however, here’s the current standards:

Okay that's all I got for now, but I hope that helps! It definitely helped me at the time...