Do you think of a research/expert career? Would you like to learn more about what it means to research? With this new series of articles you will have an opportunity to meet some of the CES Alumni who are now successfully conducting their doctoral studies and who are willing to share their thoughts about it. Adrian Favero from Switzerland, who is a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh will be the first to do it. If you want to follow his steps, we encourage you to check out the specialization: Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track at CES which focuses on research management and prepares students to act as experts in the future. See how possible it is!
Personally, I would describe a researcher/expert as someone who spends a lot of time reading and analysing a certain topic of interest. Through learning and experience, the researcher obtains intellectual and academic capacities, such as to think critically and the ability to convert information into high-quality written work.
How did you discover you would like to become a researcher?
During my research for my MA thesis, I realised that I enjoyed gathering and organising information and to analyse the data with statistical methods to explain the observed phenomenon. I also liked the process of writing and finding a way to state my arguments in a manner that made them comprehensible for the readers. Moreover, I want to gain more knowledge in the area of my personal interest and I would like to convey this knowledge to students, once I have completed my studies.
What are your research areas of interests? Why did you choose those? How do you work on it? What keeps you motivated from day to day?
Generally, I focus in my research on European Union politics. More specifically, I examine identity related opinions and behaviour towards the EU. Growing up in Switzerland, a country where anything related to the EU is debated controversially, made me want to learn more about the relationships between place-based identities and the view on the EU. Currently, I am at the stage within my PhD where I read books and increase my knowledge about the topic. I also meet with my supervisors regularly to discuss my findings. In my opinion, the key to being motivated is, to be interested in the topic.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a researcher/expert? What is the most challenging?
I think the reward of doing a PhD is first and foremost intrinsic. I would like to think of my work as being interesting and maybe meaningful one day. I am free in how I accomplish my work and I believe in the approach that I am taking. I feel satisfied when I learn something new and discover a new angle to my investigations. Another aspect is, to meet new people from all over the world who share the same interests. The interactions and discussions with them are very interesting and fruitful.
One of the biggest challenges is the self-management of the studies. Doing a PhD requires a high degree of self-motivation and self-structuring. It is easy to lose track since nobody forces the researcher to so something. It’s on them to make progress.
What kind of skills should a researcher/ expert develop?
A researcher should develop the ability to think critically, analyse carefully and to work to high standards.
What is your advice for students who want to become a researcher/ expert?
You should like to read and to study. You should be able to work independently and enjoy being part of the academic environment.
Thank you Adrian!