Engineering student Nick Horne has recently published an article about his research in our student research journal Fields. We caught up with him for a chat about his work and his experiences getting published.
How would you explain your research to someone new to the subject?
I would explain my research as a methodical approach to an engineering problem, starting with the objectives of the proposed solution in order to gain an understanding of what is required. It was important to understand the problems effecting power system quality, which the project aimed to address, as well as their causes and countermeasures, in order to understand the purpose of the system and produce a good technical report. My research covered the existing technology available, found the best suited to the application and evaluated the results against the highest benchmark I had access to.
As a first time author, how did you find the process of getting published?
I found the process of being published interesting and relatively straightforward. The editors of the journal were very helpful and constructive with their comments and suggestions which my work benefitted from. Ample time and support was given which made the process of writing my article enjoyable and ensured it was of the highest quality I could achieve. The whole experience has been rewarding and I’m proud that my work was selected for publishing in Fields.
How do you think this experience has helped you develop new skills?
The experience taught me how to better structure my sentences and make the journal flow better for the reader, better grammar and punctuation made the article easier to read. My journal was based on my final year project report which was a considerably larger body of work; this experience therefore provided experience in extracting key information and creating a more concise article. It also meant I was able to identify what information from my report would be suited to an academic style paper, adapting certain sections to explain terminology and provide context. Writing for a wider audience, with the aim to interest and educate the reader, was a challenge I enjoyed throughout the process.
Read Nick’s article in Volume 3 of Fields
History student Katie McAdam has recently published an article about her research in our student research journal Fields. We caught up with her for a chat about her work and her experiences getting published.
Give us a quick overview of your research area
My area of research has focused on societal gender norms surrounding masculinity and kingship in medieval England. By examining the downfall, death and conspiratorial narratives surrounding Edward II, my article analyses the way in which his failure to meet contemporary gender expectations ultimately doomed his reign, and were to shape the memory of his life and reign. The two areas of masculinity and kingship have been consistently linked throughout the historiography, with Edward often being remembered as a homosexual monarch, even as a gay icon, and his leadership failures are continuously linked with his perceived failings as the ideal medieval male. After Edward II’s death, a letter was written by a notable cleric, Manuel Fieschi, claiming the king was still alive and living out his days secretly as a devout hermit in Italy. My article then goes on to analyse the prevalent trope of secret survival which is associated with many famous deaths throughout history, such as Elvis Presley and Princess Diana and examines why this phenomenon of believing the dead are living on in secret occurs so frequently in history.
How did you find the process of publication? Did it help you to develop as a researcher?
The experience of becoming a first time author has been both exciting and eye-opening for me and has most certainly developed me academically in a number of different ways. I feel my ongoing studies have vastly improved due to the new level of scrutiny I can impose on my own writing and content after working with the Fields team so closely to re-draft and improve my work throughout the past year. Attention to detail was never a strength of mine, but this experience demanded a high level of this skill and so I can now apply this both academically and professionally to my other projects. Overall I also have a much greater appreciation for the level of work that goes into having work published, and as a result feel I hold myself to a much higher standard than before I got involved with the process, which is certainly paying off in other areas such as my grades and feedback.
I have really enjoyed the experience and the process, especially the dedicated workshop day where I could discuss research areas with other writers and learn from each other, and my involvement has definitely made me keen to strive to do similar things in the future.
Read Katie’s article in Volume 3 of Fields
Chemistry student Laura Lo has recently published an article about her research in our student research journal Fields. We caught up with her for a chat about her work and her experiences getting published.
If I was to explain my research to someone new to the subject, I would firstly ask them if they ever thought about the process of clean tap water. We wash, drink and cook with it, but this water has been recycled for 4.6 billion years. You would hope it’s clean! Now, my project is not just about water, it’s also about growing big shiny crystals. Now I know what you’re thinking, how do crystals have anything to do with water? Well, you see, water travels through pipes to reach our taps; however a time before lead poisoning was more understood, houses built before the 1970s used lead pipes that connected to the mains. At present most pipes have been replaced, although water companies will also use a water treatment called phosphate dosing which stops traces of lead leaching from any remaining lead pipes – there are still quite a few! This action results in the formation of a white precipitate which coats the inner pipe, therefore protecting the water. This white precipitate is the crystals! So in a nut shell my project was to develop a new method to grow pure large versions of these crystals in a controlled environment to enable future research in understanding their properties and how they act in the way they do to protect the water and inevitably, us.
I have to admit, the process for Fields was very quick in terms of getting published, before you know it 6 months have passed and you’re handed your final proof albeit lots of back and forth communication and changes that need to be made to your article. The whole experience was one of a kind, you spend your time writing a piece of work that was originally only meant as an essay or dissertation to be read by one or two people, but then it gets chosen to go forward to Fields, and your work suddenly gets critiqued and peer reviewed by experts who decide whether your paper is publishable. But it’s all worth it, seeing how far that piece of work has come, from final year dissertation with a few spelling mistakes here and there (I’m a scientist!) to published journal worthy; it’s a great motivational story to tell.
It’s a massive accomplishment for me, as it’s a rarity to get your paper published as an undergraduate and I am very grateful I have been given this opportunity to share my research and findings. I found this project fascinating and gratifying throughout, therefore I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Read Laura’s article in Volume 3 of Fields
Social Sciences student Gemma Humphris has recently published an article about her research in our student research journal Fields. We caught up with her for a chat about her work and her experiences getting published.
When I first discovered the term ‘social enterprise’ I had no idea what it was. I researched the term and discovered that a social enterprise is what it says on the tin, a business with a social purpose. Any profit made by the company would be reinvested into its social purposes. As a student wanting to start their own business I was fascinated by this idea and loved the fact that a business can be about more than just profiting the owners. So, when it came to writing my dissertation this seemed like a natural topic to research. Some of my friends didn’t understand the benefits of social enterprise, therefore I wanted to learn more about the people who set-up and run social enterprises and what makes them different to typical entrepreneurs. What I learnt was extremely interesting, making the process of writing the dissertation easier!
When I was asked if I was interested in publishing my dissertation I was surprised and honoured. I had to make plenty of changes to get it to a high enough quality and suitable for publishing. This included cutting down the words from 10,000 to 5,000 which seemed near impossible at the outset! It taught me to refine and perfect my writing, ensuring that I covered my points in as little words as possible.
Although going back to my dissertation multiple times was difficult, I learnt the art of perfection and persistence. Continuing to work on it and making sure that it was at a high standard, which I had not had to do with my other work. This gave me a fresh perspective on the effort that my lecturers and university researchers must put in, to get their work published. This understanding of how research is carried out and developed over time takes a lot longer than I would have ever guessed.
Read Gemma’s article in Volume 3 of Fields