Semester Two 2016

Thursday 27 October


Associate Professor Helen Proctor

Thinking strategically, thinking responsibly: your thesis as part of a larger research agenda

6pm Lecture Theatre 424

When you are in the middle of a research thesis it can be all too easy to become lost in the detail of the process and to lose sight of the larger or longer term questions of purpose, significance and contribution. Why is your research worth doing? How will the world be better off (even if just a little) by your having completed it? Keeping some big questions in view is an important part of how you explain your contribution to others, whether in the thesis itself, in publications or in job and grant applications. And increasingly universities are encouraging researchers to participate in public debate and to communicate with what they sometimes jargonistically call “end users”. I argue that this labour of communication is not just a matter of practical career strategy - although it is that too - but also part of your community responsibility as creators of new knowledge. In this talk I draw on my own experience as a mid career researcher, ten years out from my PhD graduation, to offer suggestions about how to situate your research in a longer term and more broadly focussed research agenda.

Associate Professor Helen Proctor’s research uses historical perspectives and methods to examine the making of contemporary educational systems, contributing both to the research field of history of education and to the field of critical inquiry into current schooling policy and practice. Her principal focus is on the historical formation and reformation of the relationships between schools, families and ‘communities’ from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries; across different kinds and levels of schooling and through successive educational settlements from meritocracy to the rule of markets. Related to this are current investigations of histories of schooling, migration and race; histories of schooling and health and histories of family-school relations.

  • Helen Proctor

    Thinking strategically, thinking responsibly: your thesis as part of a larger research agenda

    27 October 2016


Please contact, if you have queries regarding the Research Students Forum.