Together, through sharing what we know, we will make the lives of others easier!
Through the Research Masterminds website, I share solutions to challenges typically experienced by anyone involved in a research project, whether in the capacity of a postgraduate student or independent researcher.
I learn something new every day; some things just pass me by through a light bulb moment, others take a bit more time to figure out. After a while, some memories get replaced by new ones, and I often catch myself having to figure out how to do something all over again. If I experience a challenge, I'm sure others out there have the same problem. That is where ResearchMasterminds.com fits in: an "external memory" to make the lives of researchers easier. A place where you can find answers to your frequently asked research-related questions.
Let me tell you how it all started. At the end of 2017, all the action happened at once: I was supervising 21 postgraduate students after I took students over from a staff member who left our university. Five masters and two doctorate students wanted to submit their research projects within a period of three months. This led to the experience of a (temporary) thrill of having completed the review of one project, just to find another in your inbox the next morning. In addition to this, I was given the opportunity to take on a different role in our department, but at the same time, the appointment for someone into my former role was not yet completed, and the secretary who was allocated to my new role left the day before I started. As life happens, this mediocre level of chaos is not enough, so life gave me a few additional situations to deal with during the same period of time: I was writing exams for an online MSc, which I was doing through the University of Dundee, my husband was playing in an action cricket world cup which meant many nights and weekends away from home, and I had two small boys who deserved their fair share of loving care from their full-time working mom.
You can just imagine the chaos! "They" are right: we grow through hardship. I realised (the obvious) that most of the students were asking the same or similar questions, so I made a screen recording each time one of them asked me for advice or input. Sometimes they asked for guidance that fell within my supervision role's scope, and other times not. The point was that there was no time to repeat myself. I decided to create a YouTube channel, Research Masterminds, which served as an "external memory" so that every time I learnt something new and every time I gave guidance to a student who asked a question, also asked by others, I added a video. Time is precious and should rather be spent finding and reading the latest literature on the topic one is working on, staying abreast with nuances in one's field, and participating in science engagement. Since then, this "external memory" has helped many independent researchers and postgraduate students find answers to their frequently asked questions and saved them a lot of time by learning from what was figured out already.
I hope to grow this project into a home for the scientific community. This project is a dynamic one, and your input is needed to expand. Please share your frequently asked questions and solutions on this page. Together, by sharing what we know, we will make the lives of others easier!
Invite me to your research journey,
My name is Benita Olivier and I'm a professor in musculoskeletal physiotherapy at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. I have a passion for academic life and research. You can read more about me here: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9287-8301. In this podcast, I share more about my journey. Enjoy it.
Stay happy and change the world as you wander through it!
The Research Masterminds website and its contents are my intellectual property, Benita Olivier, and are generated in my personal capacity. The views, opinions and approaches expressed on this website do not necessarily represent that of the institution at which I am employed.