Faculty of Social Sciences Annual Postgraduate Symposium:

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Reflections from the Field

TUESDAY 5TH APRIL 2016 - 3S15 Colin Bell Building, University of Stirling

This event provides a forum for postgraduate students and staff to engage with issues relating to conducting fieldwork in research. This event is free to attend and lunch is provided. We warmly welcome you to come along and listen to and engage with the presenters and also with other attendees in a supportive and friendly environment. There will be a social gathering following this event if you are able to, and wish to stay on longer in Stirling. 

BOOKING:Visit https://reflectionsfromthefield.eventbrite.co.uk to register your attendance.

Please direct any queries to the event coordinator, ashley.rogers@stir.ac.uk.


01786 467701

Event Overview

This event provides a forum for postgraduate students and staff to engage with issues relating to conducting fieldwork in research. Students from a number of different countries and universities will be presenting reflections on their fieldwork and are keen to engage with members of staff and other students. Presentations reflect fieldwork at home and overseas and will engage with the challenges and tensions which researchers often face during fieldwork, but rarely include in their final articles or theses. The event was inspired by an article entitled 'Hidden Struggles of Fieldwork: Exploring the Role and Use of Fieldwork Diaries' by Prof. Samantha Punch (2012) which engages with the emotional impact of fieldwork and other personal challenges and how these can impact on the research processes and outcomes. 

We particularly encourage those who are preparing to embark on fieldwork either at home or overseas, so that they can be best prepared,as well as those who have returned from fieldwork and are finding themselves reflecting on their experiences and attempting to document those reflections in their theses. This symposium provides a valuable opportunity to learn from others' experiences and incorporate those into your own preparations and reflexive approach to your research.

Programme of Events 2016

Key note speaker and presenters

Details of presenters and their presentations at this year's Postgraduate Symposium can be found below. The Symposium has been organised by Ashley Rogers and will be jointly chaired by Professor Samantha Punch and Dr William Munro, all from the University of Stirling. 


Keynote: Dr Karen Siegel (Edinburgh Napier University)


Mary Kristen Lane - College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow

'Toward a Methodology for Research Reflection'

Mary Kristen Layne (University of Glasgow) was raised in the Bible Belt of the south-east United States. Her MLitt in Environment, Culture, and Communication from the University of Glasgow led to her current doctoral research project, which links her research interests to her roots: her project focuses on the role of the Christian church in environmental communication and education within the Bible Belt. She incorporated narrative inquiry into her work which focuses on the importance the autobiographic narrative.

Nanayakkara Saminda Gunasinghe (Sami)- University of Stirling

'Understanding entrepreneurship and poverty: practical issues in collecting data in a post-conflict zone'

Nanayakkara Saminda Gunasinghe (Sami) is a 3rd year PhD candidate at University of Stirling and his research interests are poverty, entrepreneurship, innovation, media, communications, marketing and business management. He has over 20 years of private sector experience and was a board member of two charities in Scotland. He believes that the current efforts in Sri Lankan post-conflict zones are inadequate in meeting economic development needs and wellbeing of people, as such, will not bring durable solutions to ethnic grievances and prevent future conflicts. His presentation will focus on the challenges of working a post-conflict zone.

Monique Aparecida Voltarelli - University of Sao Paolo

'Considerations about the field research based on an exploratory study of the production of childhood studies in South America'

Her study is an ongoing doctorate’s research that investigates studies done on childhood in South American countries and analyses them from the sociology point of view. Moreover, it tackles questions related to field research and to exploratory study. So far, various field visits, interviews with childhood researchers and university libraries reading have been done in two countries in South America.

Nazirah Hassan - School of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Strathclyde

'Surviving research on sensitive topics with young offenders'

Nazirah is a PhD candidate whose principal research interests are in children and young people’s experiences of penal institutions; the effects of incarceration in shaping and influencing behaviour; and the dynamics of violence and victimisation in penal institutions. Her PhD examines bullying and victimisation in a Malaysian juvenile justice institution. She explores how institutional cultures affect processes of adjustment and influence bullying behaviour. Her PhD employs a mixed-method research design to explore a variety of constructs, including a wide range of institutional social and physical environments, prisoners’ adaptive style, bullying and victimisation, and the role of institutional authority. Her presentation will focus on practical challenges and ethical issues of working with young people.

Michelle Waldron - School of Education, University of Edinburgh

'Empathy of Fieldwork'

A second-year international student at the University of Edinburgh, pursuing her PhD at Moray House School of Education. She has a
background in student affairs in higher education in the USA; Master’s degree in college student services administration and a bachelor’s degree in criminology. Her research title is Transformative Learning: The young person’s perception of prisoner education. She is in the process of collecting data through in-person interviews at a young offender institute in Scotland on the experiences of young people with education during incarceration. Her presentation will focus on issues of personal bias and influence, and in particular on the notion of empathy.

Jayne Galinsky - Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling

'Impact of dream or wish fulfilment on seriously ill children and their families: reflections'

Jayne Galinsky is a doctoral student (awaiting viva) at the Cancer Care Research Centre, University of Stirling. She has a background in psychology and prior to her PhD, worked in a children’s hospice in East London. Jayne recently had a paper published in 'Issues in Comprehensive Children’s Nursing' on parental perceptions of dream and wish fulfilment. Her research interests include the impact of illness on families, sibling relationships, and qualitative methodologies. Her presentation will focus on personal challenges or working with children who have serious illnesses and their family, and on the issue of undesired disclosure.

Jenny Hoolachan - Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling

'Reflections on fieldwork with young people living in homelessness'

Jenny is awaiting her visa. Her research centres on young people, homelessness and drug use and she carried out eight months of ethnographic fieldwork in a Glasgow homeless unit for her PhD. Her presentation will focus on the issues faced with during ethnographic fieldwork in relation to building and maintaining relationships and also on personal disclosure during research.

Namrita Batra - Open University

'Doing ethnographic work with children in a rural setting in India: reflections from the field'

A PhD student with the Open University, Namrita just returned from 5 months of fieldwork in India. Her presentation will focus on issues of being an insider/outsider in the lives of 10 year olds as she sought to explore both home and school literary practices.

Ashley Rogers - Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling

'Reflections on a year of fieldwork in La Paz, Bolivia'

Ashley is a 3rd year PhD student who returned in October 2015 from 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in La Paz, researching women’s rights, legal consciousness and subjectivity. Her research involved participant observation in two (which then became one) women’s centre, as well as interviews with organisations and government sectors, and the collection of a small number of life stories. Her presentation will focus on the challenges of gaining access and maintaining access and the issues in working in a language other than your native one.

Registration and practicalities

Event Registration - Register HERE.

This symposium is free to attend and lunch will be provided. We warmly welcome you to come along and listen to and engage with the presenters and also with other attendees in a supportive and friendly environment. There will be a social gathering following this event if you are able to, and wish to stay on longer in Stirling. 


Free lunch will be provided. For this reason, we would appreciate it if you could register your attendance in order to provide an indication of numbers, however, you are still more than welcome to turn up on the day without prior registration or contact. If you have any special dietary requirements or allergies please let us know in advance.


There will be a wine reception in the location of the Symposium within University grounds at the end of the day, approximately 5pm-6.30pm. The cost of this is met by us.
There will then be a dinner organised for after the Symposium at The Meadowpark. Please click here for a menu and for prices. The cost of dinner is not met by us. If you do not wish to have dinner, you are still welcome to join for drinks. If you would like us to reserve you a space for dinner then please email me by 22 March at ashley.rogers@stir.ac.uk


Getting here

The University of Stirling is easily accessed by bus, car or train. Please see our helpful guide on how to find us by clicking here.

Parking is available on campus. Buses run regularly from the centre of town. Nearest rail station is Stirling Rail Station (STR) and the nearest airports are Glasgow and Edinburgh. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

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