How to Keep your Doctorate on Track
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How to Keep your Doctorate on Track

Insights from Students’ and Supervisors’ Experiences

Edited by Keith Townsend, Mark N.K. Saunders, Rebecca Loudoun and Emily A. Morrison

The path of a doctoral student can feel challenging and isolating. This guide provides doctoral students with key ideas and support to kick-start a doctoral journey, inspire progress and complete their thesis or dissertation. Featuring observations from experienced supervisors, as well as the reflections of current and recent postgraduate researchers, this intimate and entertaining book offers vital insights into the critical moments in any doctoral experience.
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Chapter 28: Wearing skirts and writing like a woman: a winding road to gaining access to research

Ana Alecsandru


This chapter reflects on issues encountered in trying to gain access to potential interviewees for doctoral research on nuclear arms control negotiations. The fieldwork involved travel to New York and to Moscow, and in both cities the author’s experiences launched her on a journey of understanding surrounding the negotiation of her research identity. These experiences included the presence of power relations throughout her interviews in New York and difficulties accessing interviewees in Moscow due to her status as a Western researcher. Aware that others might venture on challenging or dangerous fieldtrips, the author includes personal reflections to underline the transformational nature of the journey and the inherent worries and insecurities that any fieldwork can trigger. The chapter concludes with several key learning points for students concerning research in the field.

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