Lessons from a research visit

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By Professor Barry Drust

Collaborations with other researchers provide a range of opportunities in my experience. One overt one is the opportunity to travel and spend time in a different country, a different university and a different research group. I was lucky enough recently to be hosted by Dr Scott Mclean a Senior Research Fellow and 

Theme Leader for Sport and Outdoor Recreation at The Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems at The University of the Sunshine Coast. Below are some key reflections on the experience and what do you get by completing trips like this: 

  1. Learn new stuff  

Guess this outcome is pretty obvious. The diverse nature of the learning though that accompanies such things is maybe the surprise. Not only did I experience new theoretical and conceptual research ideas but also how other individuals work. This insight is associated with both the approaches of individuals to their activities as well as the ways that different research groups and universities work. For someone who continually questions the effectiveness of their own approaches professional such exposure is key to thinking about new ways to do things. 

  1. Share my ideas 

The trip to Australia provided a number of opportunities to share my ideas about my research and approaches to professional practice. I was able to give both a public and academic lecture around my work in the time I was there. This was great in both challenging me to think about what and how I wanted to communicate but also to give exposure and get feedback from a wide range of people. It was great to spend some time with the doctoral students and early career researchers as well and to chat to them about research supervision and how The Graduate School of Sport and Professional Practice operates. 

  1. Remember how important people are 

A new country and a new routine really shows you how much you rely on the help of other people to achieve anything. I was completely blown away by the kindness and the support provided by everyone in the research group for the things I was trying to do on my visit. It’s easy to remember the people who impact you negatively in your day to day but experiences like the research visit remind you just how fantastic most people are in helping you achieve your goals.  Familiarity with colleagues at work often means you take for granted the help and support that you experience every day. Its largely people I think who make our experience of a situation and guys in Australia really reminded me of how important it is to create a positive impression and help others. 

  1. Find some time wherever you go to experience the place 

I was lucky enough to travel with my family on this trip. This is a real rarity as usually my trips are very much solo efforts. Having them there made me disengage with work at times and spend some time seeing the area and doing non-academic things (such as trip to Steve Irwin’s zoo!). The world is an incredibly place and for sure I wouldn’t have had the experience I had if I hadn’t broadened by view of the trip and embraced spending time looking around. This approach not only gives you new insights to life in a different country but also provides much needed time to reflect to help you make the most of the ideas and projects that are linked to the academic work. 



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