I love the fact that my PhD is inherently multidisciplinary – exploring technology and health. That said, it is not without it’s challenges – not least reconciling that, it seems, one discipline needs to take prominence over the other for things like the thesis and publications, which generally continue to be
mired predominantly focused on the one discipline. Hopefully this is changing.
It’s been particularly interesting to explore and familiarise myself with the the theoretical frameworks, methodologies and practices of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) which is a sub-discipline of Computer Information Systems (i.e the ‘technology’ part of my research). At the encouragement of my HCI-based supervisor, I submitted a proposal to present at the Doctoral Consortium at OZCHI, the national HCI conference – which was subsequently accepted (hooray!).
According to my supervisor, doctoral consortiums are common in the computer sciences. It’s a new experience for me, as it’s not something that seems to be offered in the health field (another reason to be grateful for a multidisciplinary PhD!). I’m not sure why this is – perhaps the standard practice in health is for PhD presentations to be incorporated within the main conference program. Apparently the idea is to provide a forum for PhD students to present their work in progress to other PhD students, as well as leading academics in the field, to get valuable feedback and input into their developing work (in a hopefully supportive environment!).
As with any deadline, it’s provided me with the
opportunity spur to flesh out somewhat neglected themes and ideas on my research. Themes of particular interest that I’m exploring are object (technology)-centred sociology and how to evaluate the implementation of technology. As someone who’s been located predominantly in health, I’m a bit nervous (kinda like turning up to a new school in a new country?) but mostly looking forward to new ideas and new conversations!