Challenges and Strategies in a first year of full-time British PhD program

Mar 14, 2013 19:00

Philip Strand

This workshop discusses some of the challenges and strategies that students commonly experience during their first year in a full-time British PhD program.  MA students who are considering enrolling into a PhD program and PhD candidates who are just beginning their journey may find this workshop to be frank, informative, and helpful.  The workshop will highlight and discuss some of the key decisions that are inherent to deciding to do a PhD and to the first year of PhD research.  We will begin with a short presentation that uses the presenter’s personal research topic to illustrate a few major points and then the floor will be opened for questions, answers, and an informal, moderated discussion. 

The presenter’s research topic analyses the impact of leadership on the ethical behaviour of armed, private security personnel operating in hostile environments.  Although the workshop will discuss general subjects that pertain to all prospective social science PhD researchers, students who are considering topics rooted in philosophy, international relations, war studies, law and governance, or political theory may find the example research topic to be of particular interest. 

Research outline: 

This research identifies and analyses the impact of leadership on the ethical behaviour of PSC personnel in hostile environments in order to inform contemporary debates about the viability of PSC self-regulation and the efficacy of relying on PSCs in hostile environments; two topics that have not yet been informed by leadership theories.

This research employs a constructivist grounded theory methodology to collect data via interviews and analyse data via the constant comparative method.  Alternate sources of data, including existing leadership theories and PSC literature, will be used to triangulate data obtained during interviews. 

The end result of this research will be a new theory, grounded in data, which explains how and why leadership skills and behaviours influence the ethical behaviours of British PSC personnel in hostile environments.  “Extent” will be defined in terms of the general magnitude of leadership’s influence and exactly which leadership skills and behaviours are more (or less) influential. 


Philip A. Strand

King's College London


London Centre for Social Studies (LCSS)

73 Watling Street London EC4M 9BJ

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