About My Degree: PhD Organisation, Work and Technology by Rachael Barrow

My time at Lancaster has been an incredible journey filled with a varied range of exciting and constructive experiences, which is what I hope to share with all of you through this blog post.

Firstly, I should explain how I am currently undertaking the PhD in Organisation, Work and Technology (OWT) with a focus on how previously home educated individuals experience work and organisations. I am coming to the end of my second year now and currently in the fieldwork phase of a PhD. What made me choose this course specifically? Well I felt that this department really understood me and my research, as well as Lancaster University as whole feeling like a home for me. For example, my main supervisor approached me about becoming my official supervisor after he had heard about my intended research through another colleague. He really believed that there was something to find in conducting my research and through this he came across as willing to be very supportive to get me through the (stressful but very rewarding) PhD process.

Secondly, I wanted to discuss with you some of my experiences of the teaching element during the PhD programme. Let me first state that an incredible opportunity that the LUMS PhD programmes offer to their doctoral students is to be able to gain exposure to teaching through teaching seminars and giving lectures. I have been responsible for up to four seminar groups a year for the past two years and have seen my students develop and grow their skills throughout this period, which I have found to be extremely rewarding. I have learned quite fast through these experiences of teaching, which is helping me to decide whether I want to use my PhD to enter a teaching career in HE versus a research career path.  In fact, Lancaster even offered me the chance to complete the ATP teaching qualification (free of charge!) which is a recognised qualification by employers in the HE sectors.

Thirdly, I think it’s important to discuss how the PhD in OWT provides students with the opportunity to disseminate their research through not only conferences but also through giving their own ‘Brown Bag’ seminar. A brown bag seminar is a one-hour session in which doctoral students can present their work or a paper from it to academics and other doctoral students from their department/across the Management School. This is an excellent source of feedback beyond the scope of your supervisors and I would very much recommend future students getting involved in these. Regarding conferences, I was fortunate to be funded by LUMS to attend a top international management conference this summer and present a paper on my research for dissemination purposes. I received invaluable feedback on my topic area and networked with some fantastic early career researchers who shared with me some insights into how they have found the industry so far.

To summarise, I would like to say that I would advise anyone considering this PhD programme to get in touch with the department and come and visit to get a feel for the environment here. I could not be more pleased with my experience or promote the programme more to future students. The experiences and opportunities it has afforded me has been invaluable for my development towards an academic career. Thank you for reading about my experiences in this blog and I hope they have been helpful for you.