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Book Review: Take Control of ICloud (Joe Kissell)

25 Apr, 16 | by Barry Pless

If you are anything like me and think you know enough about most aspects of the world of computers, think again. I recently was doing some work on old photos and had reason to consider whether I should use ICloud. I was uncertain how best to store the photos and, specifically, how to decide between a service like Flickr, my old friend, and ICloud. That was when I discovered that I really did not fully understand a great deal about ICloud – what it is , what it has to offer, or how to make it work well.

I started searching for advice with the help of Google but it seemed uneven. So I returned to see what the experts at Take Control had to offer. (Some while ago I reviewed two of their books and advised blog readers to make use of them.) As I expected, they had one on ICloud, written by a stalwart contributor, Joe Kissell.

This 167 page book – better still, think of it as a manual, guide, or handbook – is remarkably comprehensive and easy to follow. It is available as a pdf or mobi download or, I believe, on disc but not on paper. For $15 it’s an excellent investment unless you are 100% certain you will never want to use the cloud. But I assure you, not even folks older than me (an octogenarian), can safely assume that they will never need the cloud or be forced to use it. My prediction is that the Cloud will inevitably be part of your computing life, especially if you are a Mac user.

Of the 20 sections, there are three that alone justify the price of the purchase: Getting to Know ICloud, Set up ICloud, and any one or more of the sections devoted to Music, Photos, Documents, Mail, Contacts, or Calendars. The sections on finding your lost Iphone, perhaps Keychain, as well as the ICloud Web Site, complete the picture. The remaining sections will be useful to some readers but probably most will use one of those I have listed.

To give but one example of how clearly Kissell writes and how helpful the advice offered can be, this is an excerpt from the section on Photos.” iCloud Photo Library and the older My Photo Stream both sync photos across your devices via the cloud, but they differ in almost every other detail. You can use either or both, though most people will probably find that iCloud Photo Library alone is all that’s needed, as it essentially makes My Photo Stream superfluous (at least for those who have paid for enough iCloud storage to hold all their photos and videos).” Kissell unravels the confusion Apple’s changes introduced by explaining the other differences between My Photo Stream and ICloud Photo Library. He then discusses Photo Sharing and proceeds to untangle all three elements and compares them to help you choose which best serves your needs. My focus, and Kissell’s, is on the use of the Photo Library on ICloud. An important bonus for me, a Dropbox devotee, is the section where he compares the two noting where they overlap and where they do not.

To whatever extent this book may fail to answer all your Cloud questions, my guess is that the fault is not with Kissell but with Apple. The Cloud is confusing but it is now much less so having read this. I confess I am still not 100% comfortable but I am much more confident than I was a few weeks ago.

Contact for this book: https://www.takecontrolbooks.com

Barry Pless

On turning journal articles into blog posts

6 Apr, 16 | by Sheree Bekker

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Typing by Sebastien Wiertz CC BY 2.0

Blogging can be a divisive topic amongst academics. It has been called frivolous, and a distraction from ‘real’ work by some – whilst others wax lyrically that it is the real work.

Fact is:

Social media and blogs are not just add-ons to academic research, but a simple reflection of the passion underpinning it 

Recently, Injury Prevention Editor-in-Chief Brian Johnston shared how to write a blogpost from your journal article in eleven easy steps with the social media editorial team. I have decided to turn this into a pleasingly-meta blog post about turning your – yes yourInjury Prevention papers into posts for this very blog.

Blogging is a genre in and of itself. Today, blogs are as much a part of scholarly discourse as papers, presentations, and corridor conversations. This represents a new manner of sharing your life’s work with others, in a more relaxed and personal (if you like) way. This genre allows you to share more of your personal story behind a piece of research, or to highlight findings that are especially interesting, or merely to share your passion with a community of engaged scholars. Further:

Academically a blog post boosts citations for the core article itself. It advertises your journal article in ways that can get it far more widely read than just pushing the article out into the ether to sink or swim on its own. A post reaches other researchers in your discipline (those who are not digital hermits). And because it’s accessibly written, it travels well, goes overseas, gets re-tweeted and re-liked

On behalf of the social media team, I invite you to contact us if you would like to turn your Injury Prevention paper into a blog post. I will leave it up to you to read the “how to” detailed in the post shared above, and to peruse the tips and tricks given. My advice, however, is much simpler: write the blog post about your paper as if you are explaining it to your mother/a teenager/friends at a party (in other words: plain language!).

The most exciting part of blogging is that it has no rules, unlike academic writing. The most terrifying part of blogging is that it has no rules, unlike academic writing.

We promise we will make this process as painless as possible (we are all injury prevention researchers after all!). We can alleviate common fears such as not knowing where to start by doing an interview style blog post together. We can help you overcome the lack of formality by guiding the structure and content of the blog post. Or you can write freely as you please.

For examples of authors who have already done this, see: here, here, and here.

We are always looking to hear more about your thoughts, views, and experiences as injury prevention researchers.

Contact me via Twitter on @shereebekker, or email me at s [dot] bekker [at] federation [dot] edu [dot] au

Neuromuscular control program prevents lower limb injuries in men’s community Australian Football

23 Mar, 16 | by Angy El-Khatib

Injury researchers commonly study elite athletes because they participate in athletics year-round and thus have an increased chance of sustaining an injury. However, most athletes participate at the recreational or community level. (According to the NCAA, only 1.9% of American, high school, soccer players become professional players!)

Understanding that there is a difference between the physical profile of an elite player and a community player is imperative for making recommendations for injury risk factor management. The latest publication by Finch, et al. focuses on this matter.

In the current issue of Injury Prevention, Finch, et al. provide more evidence for targeted neuromuscular control exercise programs for decreasing knee injuries and lower limb injuries (LLI). The randomized-controlled trial (RCT) evaluated 18 male, non-elite, community Australian football clubs with data from more than 1,564 people. As profiled in the study, individuals who participated in the neuromuscular control intervention had a reduced rate of LLI as compared to control players.
The intervention was implemented as a “warm-up” prior to training. The program was based on the Preventing Australian Football Injuries through eXercise (PAFIX) study ; the control group participated in a “sham” program that included similar exercises. Although not in the published article, I was curious to know what PAFIX training fully entailed. The PAFIX training manuals include a detailed look at the neuromuscular exercises implemented, including a variety of plyometric training, stability and balance exercises, and change-of-direction drills.

Despite no statistically significant findings, this “analysis indicates that clinically relevant reduced knee injury and LLI rates can be achieved through targeted exercise training programmes in men’s community AF” (Australian Football).

This finding struck me as particularly important because of the vital role of community sport and recreation programs in providing nonelite athletes with the opportunity to gain the physical literacy skills needed to benefit from participation in sport and physical activity.

I look forward to more injury research which could potentially be generalized for nonelite, athletic communities.

I love a sunburnt country

10 Mar, 16 | by Bridie Scott-Parker

I received an email this week from a friend and colleague, alerting me to a report recently released by the Royal Flying Doctor Service:  The Royal Flying Doctor Service: Responding to injuries in remote and rural Australia.

The reports on falls, burns, poisonings, transport accidents, workplace injuries, drownings, self-harm and assault, with Australians living in remote and very remote areas:

  • Almost twice as likely as city residents to sustain an injury, and 2.2 times more likely to be hospitalised for an injury;
  • Four times more likely to die from a transport related injury than major city residents;
  • 3.8 times (remote) and 4.2 times (very remote) more likely to die from assault than major city residents; and
  • 1.7 times (remote) and 1.8 times (very remote) more likely to die from suicide than major city residents.

Injuries are a leading cause of death and hospitalisation among children—more children die from injuries (36%), than from cancer (19%) and diseases of the nervous system (11%) combined; Indigenous Australians; and agricultural workers.

While, as an injury prevention researcher, I encourage you all to become familiar with the report and the findings, the email sparked two memories for me. The first was a conversation with US colleagues after I invited them to come to visit Australia as we worked collaboratively. If you search the internet, you will find many animals might try to kill you. We have crocodiles, irukandji jellyfish, snakes, spiders, and my colleagues could share many more animals-of-death. Having lived in Australia my whole life, I reassured them that the likelihood of them meeting an untimely demise during their trip was pretty low, and the good news is they went home in one piece.

The second memory – sparked almost instantaneously – was a flashback to my childood. During primary school we learnt the most wonderful poem, My Country, by Dorothea Mackellar, by rote. This stanza in particular has always remained with me:

I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains,

Of ragged mountain ranges,

Of droughts and flooding rains.

I love her far horizons,

I love her jewel sea,

Her beauty and her terror –

The wide brown land for me!

Despite the beauty of the poem, and that I love thinking about how this poem resonates with me, growing up in the country can be dangerous for many reasons, including the fact that medical assistance is not always close by.

Another editor hits the dust

8 Mar, 16 | by Barry Pless

We recently discovered that the Canadian Medical Association has fired the editor of its flagship journal, the CMAJ, for reasons that are entirely unclear and also dismissed the oversight committee put in place after the previous editor was fired. I am deeply disturbed. What follows is what I posted on WAME in response to comments by Lundberg and Kassirer about the dismissal. For the record, Injury Prevention, has never had any such conflict with its owners, the BMJ Publishing Group. I posted a similar note ‘to the editor’ in response to the editorial written by the board announcing this sad event. (PS I lay claim to coining the new adjective “Trumpist” to describe outrageous behaviour of this kind!)

Lundberg and Kassirer have responded with their customary perceptive and helpful suggestions. Undoubtedly this is about money not a ‘falling reputation’. As a Canadian I strongly favour Lundberg’s first option. The Journal is a source of pride and has been ever since John Hoey’s stewardship. In spite of what the CMA president or its executive may think, it has a sterling international reputation. To be guided by impact factors, (whatever they may be) is simply evidence of the CMA’s insufficient knowledge of the complex world of medical publishing. Hence I wonder why the onus for reform, etc. falls on the Journal rather than on the CMA leadership, especially given the history of its relationship with the Journal. I would be interested to learn whether the membership was consulted or informed about this decision before it was taken. if the membership was not involved it smells greatly of Trumpist behaviour. If the membership was not part of this vital decision perhaps the logical next step is not to focus on the Journal and its stalwart hanging-in editors, but rather on the CMA itself.

p values misused

8 Mar, 16 | by Barry Pless

Don’t ask me why but I follow Retraction Watch faithfully. Recently there was a posting about p values I thought would be of interest to our readers and contributors. Here it is verbatim.

“We’re using a common statistical test all wrong. Statisticians want to fix that.

After reading too many papers that either are not reproducible or contain statistical errors (or both), the American Statistical Association (ASA) has been roused to action. Today the group released six principles for the use and interpretation of p values. P-values are used to search for differences between groups or treatments, to evaluate relationships between variables of interest, and for many other purposes. But the ASA says they are widely misused. Here are the six principles from the ASA statement:

P-values can indicate how incompatible the data are with a specified statistical model.
P-values do not measure the probability that the studied hypothesis is true, or the probability that the data were produced by random chance alone.
Scientific conclusions and business or policy decisions should not be based only on whether a p-value passes a specific threshold.
Proper inference requires full reporting and transparency.
A p-value, or statistical significance, does not measure the size of an effect or the importance of a result.
By itself, a p-value does not provide a good measure of evidence regarding a model or hypothesis.
We spoke with Ron Wasserstein, ASA’s executive director, about the new principles.

Retraction Watch: Why release these “six principles” now? What about this moment in research history made this a particularly pertinent problem?

Ron Wasserstein: We were inspired to act because of the growing recognition of a reproducibility crisis in science (see, for example, the National Academy of Sciences recent report) and a tendency to blame statistical methods for the problem. The fact that editors of a scholarly journal – Basic and Applied Social Psychology — were so frustrated with research that misused and misinterpreted p-values that they decided to ban them in 2015 confirmed that a crisis of confidence was at hand, and we could no longer stand idly by.

Retraction Watch: Some of the principles seem straightforward, but I was curious about #2 – I often hear people describe the purpose of a p value as a way to estimate the probability the data were produced by random chance alone. Why is that a false belief?

Ron Wasserstein: Let’s think about what that statement would mean for a simplistic example. Suppose a new treatment for a serious disease is alleged to work better than the current treatment. We test the claim by matching 5 pairs of similarly ill patients and randomly assigning one to the current and one to the new treatment in each pair. The null hypothesis is that the new treatment and the old each have a 50-50 chance of producing the better outcome for any pair. If that’s true, the probability the new treatment will win for all five pairs is (½)5 = 1/32, or about 0.03. If the data show that the new treatment does produce a better outcome for all 5 pairs, the p-value is 0.03. It represents the probability of that result, under the assumption that the new and old treatments are equally likely to win. It is not the probability the new treatment and the old treatment are equally likely to win.

This is perhaps subtle, but it is not quibbling. It is a most basic logical fallacy to conclude something is true that you had to assume to be true in order to reach that conclusion. If you fall for that fallacy, then you will conclude there is only a 3% chance that the treatments are equally likely to produce the better outcome, and assign a 97% chance that the new treatment is better. You will have committed, as Vizzini says in “The Princess Bride,” a classic (and serious) blunder.

Retraction Watch: What are the biggest mistakes you see researchers make when using and interpreting p values?

Ron Wasserstein: There are several misinterpretations that are prevalent and problematic. The one I just mentioned is common. Another frequent misinterpretation is concluding that a null hypothesis is true because a computed p-value is large. There are other common misinterpretations as well. However, what concerns us even more are the misuses, particularly the misuse of statistical significance as an arbiter of scientific validity. Such misuse contributes to poor decision making and lack of reproducibility, and ultimately erodes not only the advance of science but also public confidence in science.

Retraction Watch: Do some fields publish more mistakes than others?

Ron Wasserstein: As far as I know, that question hasn’t been studied. My sense is that all scientific fields have glaring examples of mistakes, and all fields have beautiful examples of statistics done well. However, in general, the fields in which it is easiest to misuse p-values and statistical significance are those which have a lot of studies with multiple measurements on each participant or experimental unit. Such research presents the opportunity to p-hack your way to findings that likely have no scientific merit.

Retraction Watch: Can you elaborate on #4: “Proper inference requires full reporting and transparency”?

Ron Wasserstein: There is a lot to this, of course, but in short, from a statistical standpoint this means to keep track of and report all the decisions you made about your data, including the design and execution of the data collection and everything you did with that data during the data analysis process. Did you average across groups or combine groups in some way? Did you use the data to determine which variables to examine or control, or which data to include or exclude in the final analysis? How are missing observations handled? Did you add and drop variables until your regression models and coefficients passed a bright-line level of significance? Those decisions, and any other decisions you made about statistical analysis based on the data itself, need to be accounted for.

Retraction Watch: You note in a press release accompanying the ASA statement that you’re hoping research moves into a “post p<0.05” era – what do you mean by that? And if we don’t use p values, what do we use instead?

Ron Wasserstein: In the post p<0.05 era, scientific argumentation is not based on whether a p-value is small enough or not. Attention is paid to effect sizes and confidence intervals. Evidence is thought of as being continuous rather than some sort of dichotomy. (As a start to that thinking, if p-values are reported, we would see their numeric value rather than an inequality (p=.0168 rather than p<0.05)). All of the assumptions made that contribute information to inference should be examined, including the choices made regarding which data is analyzed and how. In the post p<0.05 era, sound statistical analysis will still be important, but no single numerical value, and certainly not the p-value, will substitute for thoughtful statistical and scientific reasoning.

Retraction Watch: Anything else you’d like to add?

Ron Wasserstein: If the statement succeeds in its purpose, we will know it because journals will stop using statistical significance to determine whether to accept an article. Instead, journals will be accepting papers based on clear and detailed description of the study design, execution, and analysis, having conclusions that are based on valid statistical interpretations and scientific arguments, and reported transparently and thoroughly enough to be rigorously scrutinized by others. I think this is what journal editors want to do, and some already do, but others are captivated by the seeming simplicity of statistical significance.

Pless note: I would be interested if any readers disagree. Please outline your views in 20 words or less. (Just kidding)

Planning the implementation of an injury prevention programme

22 Feb, 16 | by Sheree Bekker

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(Photo: Steve CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

I have invited Dr Alex Donaldson (follow him on Twitter @AlexDonaldson13), of the Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention, to share a little more about their new paper published open access in Injury Prevention: “We have the programme, what next? Planning the implementation of an injury prevention programme“.

The Translating Research into Injury Prevention Practice (TRIPP) framework, developed by Caroline Finch a decade ago, built on van Mechelen and colleagues’ ‘sequence of prevention’ for sports injuries. TRIPP highlighted the fact that only research that can, and will, be adopted by sports participants, their coaches and sporting bodies will prevent sports injuries. Stage 5 of TRIPP (‘Describe intervention context to inform implementation strategies) introduced the (then) novel idea of focusing research attention on understanding how the outcomes of efficacy research (TRIPP Stage 4) could be translated into interventions (policies, programmes, environmental or technical modifications) that could be actually implemented in the real-world context. This included developing an understanding of the best way to target and market evidence-based interventions to sport bodies and their participants.

However, implementing injury prevention programmes in the real-world is challenging and there is precious little information available in the scientific literature about how to transition from having an evidence-based intervention to getting that intervention widely, properly and sustainably implemented. As a consequence, most research remains in the early stages of these models/frameworks (i.e. describing the extent of the problem and identify causes or mechanisms of injury) which limits the potential for injuries to be prevented.

In a soon to be completed study investigating the factors that influence the translation of evidence-based injury prevention interventions into practice in community sport, I (as the project manager) found myself in the situation where my colleagues and I had:

What we then needed was an implementation plan for FootyFirst. The burning question was how can we ensure that the programme we had developed will be used and maintained for as long as it is needed by community-level Australian Football coaches and players?

Luckily for me, I had recently attended a short training course facilitated by Guy Parcel (then Dean Emeritus of the University Texas School of Public Health (Austin) on Intervention Mapping (IM). IM is a framework for health promotion intervention development underpinned by the notion that the impact of a health promotion (or injury prevention) programme is a function of the programme (its efficacy) and its implementation (whether people actually use it properly for sustained periods of time). IM is a six-step tool for planning and developing health promotion programmes. Like other programme planning frameworks, it starts with needs assessment and ends in evaluation. However, unlike other frameworks, it includes a step (Step 5) specifically focused on planning programme adoption, implementation and sustainability. IM Step 5 comprises seven tasks that are operationalised through six core processes (see Figure 1) and can be used independent of the other IM steps.

1

The thing I found particularly useful about IM Step 5 was that it helped me to focus my attention on answering some key questions during the FootyFirst implementation planning process including:

  1. Who will decide to use FootyFirst and who will deliver it to the players?
  2. How can we involve the delivers (coaches) and participants (players) in developing the implementation plan for FootyFirst?
  3. What do community-AF coaches actually need to do to adopt and implement FootyFirst?
  4. What is likely to influence whether coaches adopt and implement FootyFirst?
  5. What needs to change for coaches to adopt and implement FootyFirst?
  6. What strategies could be used to help, support or encourage coaches to achieve the identified changes?
  7. Why do we think a particular implementation strategy is likely to work – what is the evidence or theoretical underpinnings for the selected strategy?

Programme effects have been shown to be up to three times higher when programmes are well implemented. If your target audience doesn’t know about your programme, use it properly and use it for a sustained period of time, it is unlikely your injury prevention programme will achieve the holy grail of ‘making a difference in the real-world’. For me, using IM Step 5 helped to ensure that our programme implementation planning process was:

  • based on a partnership between health promotion, implementation science, and injury prevention researchers, and community sports administrators and coaches;
  • informed by behaviour change theory, implementation science frameworks and published evidence about effective implementation strategies for safety programmes in community sport; and
  • supplemented with in-depth knowledge of the implementation context and input from the programme end-users.

This in turn enabled us to develop an implementation plan specifically designed to bridge the gap between research (top-down) and community (bottom-up) driven programme implementation processes.

Our experience demonstrates the critical importance of researchers, practitioners and community end-users collaborating early in the implementation planning process underpinned by a mutual respect for the knowledge, skills and experience that these different groups bring to the implementation planning process.

 

 

Focusing on the ‘why’ and the ‘how’

20 Jan, 16 | by Sheree Bekker

 

 

I draw attention to a recent post  from The BMJ blog – Chris Baker: Child obesity in India? Tell me something I don’t know! as it struck me as relevant to the field of injury prevention. 

The BMJ blog post centres around the fact that only two qualitative studies have been published in the past 15 years on the issue of child obesity in India, with the majority of research being prevalence studies – and concludes:

…let us divert resources away from the “what” and “who” of child obesity towards the “why” and “how.” These questions require the application of qualitative research methods with families and health professionals to explore the lived experience of being overweight or obese, and the broader social and cultural beliefs related to this growing burden.

As we know, and as a quick search for qualitative studies in Injury Prevention shows, our field does indeed recognise the importance of qualitative work, with skilled researchers using qualitative methods to answer the types of ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions that we encounter with regards to our injury prevention interventions.

Over and beyond the qualitative/quantitative debate however, this blog post struck me as pertinent to readers of Injury Prevention as it raises the important point of relevancy. Relevancy of methods to the research question, and relevancy of research questions to the population.

Relevancy matters.

Do make sure to read the post for thought-provoking points that are raised as to the types of questions we should be asking, and thus the deeper issues that we can seek to uncover and address through our intervention research.

On career building: networking and mentoring

7 Dec, 15 | by Sheree Bekker

 

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(SB) Recently, Bridie Scott-Parker and I attended the 12th Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference in Sydney Australia. We had never met before, yet Bridie and I have been working together both on the executive board of the Australian Injury Prevention Network (which hosted the conference along with The George Institute for Global Health), as well as here on the social media editorial team for Injury Prevention. I was, therefore, delighted to meet Bridie in person. It seems this has been a pattern in my own networking recently: online before in person, as I reflected here on cementing online networks and collaborations. Those of you who read this blog, and have perhaps followed my musings on other platforms, will know that I often wax lyrical about the power of social media for this purpose – particularly for postgraduates.

At the conference, as the student representative of the AIPN, I coordinated a discussion panel for student delegates. The panellists brought diverse points of view: full professors, early career researchers, practitioners, and PhD students (and not a manel in sight). This session was designed to be organic in nature, and evolved into a discussion largely around career paths, networking, mentoring, and also the ‘mess’ (or ‘dirt’ – inside joke for those that were there) of work-life balance.

It is often assumed that formal mentoring and networking are the cornerstones of career development advice for postgraduate students. Yes, these are important and should be formalised, especially for women. However, well-meaning advice often translates into flawed advice that negates the lived experiences of students themselves (particularly when those include experiences of structural inequality). Indeed, when I was planning the student panel session, and after talking to some fellow students, it became clear that generic mentoring and networking advice was not what students want to hear.

From my point of view, as a current PhD scholar, it was fascinating to see how willing more established researchers are to opening up and having honest conversations about the very same struggles and failures that we have – if they are only asked about them. Impostor syndrome, introversion, emotional work…holding space for vulnerable conversations about these topics made more of a difference for many of us than formal career advice ever will. It is so easy to forget that academics are humans too, and it is this personal side that students like me find encouraging to hear about.

In talking career pathways, it was encouraging to hear from panellists that a career is not a linear pathway. So often the stories we hear are of successful people who were ‘in the right place at the right time’, or ‘lucky’ that their careers evolved as they did. But in reality there were, in fact, clear and often difficult choices that panellists had made over the course of their careers. The importance of personal boundaries set in place from which career risks can then be taken, or moves that can then be professionally and/or personally made were mentioned by all panellists. We each have a guiding instinct as to where we want to go – trust it. Career paths are sideways and forwards and backwards and upwards and onwards  – and that is okay.

On the dreaded “networking!”: building a network is more about quality of connection than quantity. One new strong connection is better than a fistful of business cards. Yes, flattery will open up a conversation (top tip: don’t know how to initiate a conversation with an academic? Comment on their work! Even better if it is a favourable comment), however genuine conversation, and giving something back to others will sustain it. More often than not, people want to help other people – and are happy to do so. This may not need to be in the form of a formal mentor or networking connection – often one quick coffee together can be enough to impart valuable tacit knowledge.

As a personal note to other postgraduate students, it is well worth the effort to get involved in an executive board of an organisation, or a conference organising committee. The true value in any career building/mentoring/networking opportunity lies in adding value yourself. It has taken me a long time to figure this out. In my opinion, you will get more out of being useful and getting involved, than you ever will out of being given passive advice by others. How can you be useful? This does not need to be a grand gesture or even include a highly specialised skill – in my case, offering to do social media has been my easiest path to making myself useful. Prove yourself competent at something, no matter how small, and people will take notice.

The best mentoring/networking relationships lie not in a one-way give-and-take, but rather are two-way streets. The very best mentors and colleagues learn as much from students, as students learn from them. That is your gauge as to whether a professional relationship is worth the effort. I often think that emerging researchers can, and should, be more discerning as to who they choose to learn from. Also remember that it is good to have more than one mentor – people have skills in different areas, and not everyone can be everything to everyone. In our wide-eyed idealism we are often a little too keen to make every connection that we can into everything we can.

In this spirit of great connections, I have asked my ten-minute one-off networking-mentor Bridie Scott-Parker (I saw her great networking skills in action during a valuable ten-minute conversation at the conference) to add her perspective here as a panellist at the session.

(BSP) I have blogged previously on the importance of attending conferences, with one of the most beneficial aspects being the opportunity to network with others in the field. After chatting with Sheree – in person after many email and telephone conversations – I realised that the value in networking really lies in both parties having the chance to learn as they share different perspectives. In this respect no matter at what stage you are currently at in your injury prevention career someone can learn from you and you can learn from others. Network away!

For me, the conference panel was an opportunity to show students that life as an injury prevention researcher is not a bed of roses upon which you frolic with unicorns, rather that there is no one path that everyone will follow and that is okay. For me personally, the panel was also an opportunity for me to be kinder to myself, as you will be hard pressed to find a greater critic of me than myself. I became very ill during one of my undergraduate degrees, and I thought I would only ever be the ‘token disabled person’ in my classes and in any employment I ever achieved, if I could achieve any employment. I also had the double-whammy of juggling two small children – another great source of anxiety, as what the heck am I doing studying and trying to work, while juggling fun things like medication trials, when I should be focused on being Mum?

I think sharing a snapshot of some of the self-doubt I have felt, the relentless voice that tells me I am the equal opportunity person when I am not, and how I ended up in injury prevention after a long and winding road, and not just how I managed to succeed academically and in the increasingly-competitive domain of research, resonated with some of the students who may themselves be struggling with self-doubt, feeling like a failure as a Mum who cannot get any semblance of a work-life balance, and who cannot see any clear trajectory from where they have come from to where they aspire to be in the future. In many ways, that is the magic of life, but that phrase would have been cold-comfort to me as a stressed student! And that is okay.

(SB) Yes! I will repeat: academics are humans too.

 

More on writing

5 Dec, 15 | by Barry Pless

I am not a fan of Elsevier and thus ambivalent about posting this. But, on balance, it may help some novice authors and perhaps some more experienced ones as well. Check out this link to the Elsevier Publishing Campus… many pdfs available to download on various aspects of writing and publishing. Hope it works.

https://www.publishingcampus.elsevier.com/pages/154/Colleges/College-of-Skills-Training/Resources-for-Skills-Training/Quick-Guides-and-Downloads.html

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