Academic Louisa Matwiejczyk reports on what she was up to while on study leave.
Undertaking a part-time PhD on top of full-time work for the last four years is challenging. The opportunity for 16 weeks full-time study leave was therefore very welcome. The Outside Study Program (OSP) is available to academics to carry out a sustained scholarly activity or gain professional experience to enhance the quality of its teaching and research. It comes from within existing resources and therefore I’m very grateful to my colleagues who took up my teaching and course coordination for four months. The adage of working out your timeline and then multiplying by three is true. I probably managed half of what I wanted to do! With the help of Dr Emma Tonkin (Alumni 2013) as a second reviewer, I completed an umbrella review on the effectiveness of healthy eating interventions in centre-based childcare and a qualitative study interviewing cooks from centre-based childcare.
The timing was perfect to also complete a GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations) training workshop with the Johanna Briggs Institute. GRADE is now recommended for assessing the hierarchy of evidence in systematic reviews. I also feel that I’ve graduated from novice status in the use of NVivo, qualitative research, systematic review processes and narrative analysis (but I’m not claiming competency!). At the Asia Pacific Conference on Clinical Nutrition in Adelaide I had the privilege of presenting the work the Australian Award Fellows and nutritionists, Mr Widiharto and Mr Jamarko, have done with the schools in Jogykarta Indonesia in a concurrent session and the nutrition work by Ms Nikon, Ms Mifta and Ms Reno on a Fathers Breast Feeding Support Group and baby feeding practices in the Jogya communities as a poster. The pressure was also on to present the umbrella review in 3-minutes to complement the poster. Hopefully, when you read this I would have submitted three papers as the primary author and one as a coauthor. Fingers crossed a journal will publish them.