Creating a research agenda

I am returning back to Bathurst from a research scoping trip in the Northern Territory. Perhaps a little adjacent sounding to my focus on ‘leadership’; this research project looks at health and resilience and the spread of epidemics.

So what’s my angle as a leadership scholar? One of the interesting connections in talking with diverse colleagues from health, epidemiology, computer sciences and organizational studies has been the interest in how social networks intersect between community members, parents and organizations. How does the information flow through these networks? What about influence and leadership around communication of important information? What about resilience and networks?

For me, the innovation comes from thinking through wicked intractable and complex problems from a range of paradigmatic viewpoints. So that’s one of the developments I am working on at the moment.

I have been asked a few times in the twelve months about tips for setting your research agenda into motion. Recently I found some notes I had made for my chat with the Charles Sturt University Academic Women’s Association.

My ‘advice’ (read experience) included:
– what questions are you interested to Investigate? For me, in the above example I am really interested in understanding the collective dimensions of leadership and I think understanding social networks in communities could help me and others think about this important area of investigation

– you need a pipeline of research I.E. interlacing projects that provide continual opportunities for you to hone your research skills, explore new methodologies, collect fieldwork, analyze and write!

– what research does your university value? I have given this question a lot of thought, especially since joining Charles Sturt University’s School of Management and Marketing. CSU is one of Australia’s most expansive inland and regional universities – place matters and applied research that addresses important issues relevant to those places matter. So for me my intent to work in the area of applied research is something that harmonizes well with the values of my university

– understand how you can contribute to your faculty: being a team player is important to my faculty and to the work I do. I prefer to collaborate, and I think it is important to collaborate with colleagues. I have recently begun to work with environmental, computing science and marketing colleagues and the work we do to find an interesting and meaningful intersection

– get as many papers out of your PhD as makes sense!! But strategically submit to journals you enjoy and read as well as those that will highlight how your contribution moves the field forward

– use conferences to test out draft papers and get feedback via peer review conference systems and from the audience listening to your presentation

– establish and build diverse social networks across interest areas and internationally. I am a fan of the cold email! Writing to authors that I have enjoyed reading and telling them what their work means to me as well as how it connects to my work is a great way to build connections with leading authors

Finally establishing your pattern of inquiry – be known for something particular in your field, become the go to person!

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