Welcome to researchblog.scot

This first post marks the starting point for my own journey as a researcher and blogger. I must be honest and say its outside my comfort zone, but I feel it is the right thing to do


As an early career researcher, I often hear the term researcher positionality bandied about. I guess it’s an important thing to address, and to continue to look at as I go through this journey.

My name is Lucy Beattie, I am having a midlife academic crisis.

Girl holding a compass
Image:Ali Kazal

Why crisis?

Well I am over 40, have a family of three and I’m not a career academic. I grew up on a farm in the North West Highlands of Scotland and my background is in agriculture. Although in the last ten years my life changed a bit due to a change in my fitness levels following abdominal surgery, I found myself looking to alternative career paths and got into training and education in the rural sector.

I am fortunate to have had the privilege of a very good education and encouragement from family, friends and educators to strive for all the opportunities I could. In terms of academia I was always bright, but in my teens and 20s I also enjoyed extra-curricular activity, in particular music and socialising with friends. I enjoyed my undergraduate studies at one of the top agricultural Universities in the country, but I also had a life beyond study and never thought about becoming a postgrad.

Moving forward 20 years I found myself enjoying a return to books, research and CPD opportunities. Having taken in work training with the University of the Highlands and Islands I decided to apply to do a part time Masters in Education with Lews Castle College. I was gripped by the research bug and completed a thesis on open educational opportunities for women in crofting.

Imposter syndrome

Following this I really wanted to do more and looked at PhD opportunities. I’ve learned a wee bit about imposter syndrome and for a while I questioned “Am I bright enough? Can I handle the pressure? What useful contribution can I make to scholarly research?”

For a while these thoughts were pushed to one side when I was accepted for a PhD stipend with the UWS Academy in Paisley this Spring. Starting in October 2020 I had the preceding three months to wind up my work with the Scottish Crofting Federation and Garve community and say a tearful (virtual) goodbye to friends and colleagues some of whom I’d worked with for nearly ten years.

So now I find myself at the start of a journey that has an HE focus looking at how research-informed teaching approaches in HE can be shaped by public engagement…. Or at least I think that’s it. What I am finding out at the start of this journey is you get so far until a new curve ball is thrown your way and your focus goes off in a million different and divergent directions.

Any thoughts? Please share...

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Lucy Beattie

Lucy Beattie

Hi I'm Lucy, a PhD Candidate with the UWS Academy. I'm looking at the role of public engagement in connecting teaching and research in Higher Education

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