Last Updated on November 23, 2021 by Anna Pacholczyk

Pursuing a PhD is rewarding, yet a challenging undertaking. On the road to a doctorate degree, one may encounter numerous challenges and must take multiple decisions.  In this light, effective guidance, knowledge and experience sharing is needed to help candidates to address various difficulties during their PhD trajectory.

Last week Prof. Enrico Motta, MediaFutures Work Package 3 Advisor and Key Researcher, held a meeting with PhD candidates at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies (Infomedia) at the University of Bergen, during which he reflected on some of the issues that may arise when carrying out PhD research.

Sharing practical and theoretical meta-research knowledge

With over 35 years of research experience, 370 refereed publications and 24 PhD students he supervised to completion, Prof. Motta is considered one of the top scientists in the field of computer science in both UK and Italy. Drawing on personal insight and long work experience, during his meeting with Infomedia PhD candidates, the MediaFutures’ key researcher, reflected on issues pertaining to doctoral work.

“A PhD project is a very challenging activity, during which one is asked to generate scientific advances in a particular field of research. In principle this is not trivial at all! Specifically, there are numerous challenges that PhD students may encounter while working on their PhD research. Several of them have to do with the scientific aspects of their work, while others may be related to different issues, e.g., keeping motivation”, points out Prof. Motta.

In his talk last week, the researcher touched upon the importance of developing a sound research narrative and grounding it in a relevant body of knowledge. He emphasized also the significance of being situated in a specific research community.

“Not only we want to tackle a concrete research problem, but also we want our results to be valuable to other researchers. Hence, we may want to focus on research issues that are of interest to other people as well”, adds Prof. Motta.

The topic of research dissemination and selection of publication venues was also on the agenda. Prof. Motta’s advice to PhD candidates is “(…) to consider both volume and quality of publications and ensure that a student’s self-belief is not affected by possible rejections. If the quality of the work is good, truth will eventually prevail. Hence it is important for students to keep believing in their ideas, make the most of any feedback they receive, even negative reviews, and use this feedback to improve the quality of their work.”