How to juggle multiple projects

Our wonderful colleague Franziska has started a great new vlog: Academic Crisis line, a biweekly live Q & A on your burning questions around navigating academia. Check out the video and summary of her first session!

Stories and the brain

How to juggle multiple projects

In the first Academic Crisis Line session, we talked about tips and tools which help organizing your work time efficiently so that you can manage multiple projects without getting overwhelmed. You can rewatch the video here:

Here is a mini summary:

  1. Day to day business (microlevel managing)
    • Tools: timetable, calendars, planners, spreadsheets, post its, Google Tasks, Trello,…
    • Make a week overview with all the regular events to see which blocks of time you have available to work on your projects. Don’t forget to insert private events to see which evening you can realistically work longer and which not.
    • Your week will now be chunked up into smaller and bigger time windows. Try to get two entire days of uninterrupted work without meetings, lecture series or other obligations (1 full + 2 half days will do, too). These are the days on which you can work…

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Why we don’t need to be afraid that preregistration prevents creativity

One argument that often comes up when I talk to skeptics of preregistration is that it stands in the way of creative and exciting research. I couldn’t disagree more. Preregistration and registered reports are among the very best developments that have come out of Psychology’s replication crisis. Both guide a way towards better research. But since the sentiment that preregistration and creativity are not compatible is so prevalent and seems so genuine (as opposed to being an excuse to engage in questionable research practices), I do want to expand on some main reasons why preregistration does not dampen creativity in research. Continue reading Why we don’t need to be afraid that preregistration prevents creativity

The Straightforward Academic (or: Your advisor also poops)

This entry is part of a summer series over at the wonderful My Scholarly Goop, featuring true tales of early career researchers’ scholarly paths. Read my contribution here, and head over to the series to get a new essay each Friday, the whole summer long.

Not pursuing a PhD was, frankly, never part of my thought process. My parents are both researchers (albeit, in Biophysics and Physical Chemistry), and I grew up spending Sunday afternoons in the lab proudly reproducing the Briggs-Rauscher reaction in my own little lab coat while my parents were working. I’m a bit like the medical doctor who became a doctor because her parents are also MDs. You could say I tried to be a bit different and decided to become an opthamologist instead of a dermatologist, but that’s really about how crazy I went. Continue reading The Straightforward Academic (or: Your advisor also poops)

Seven pieces of advice if you are considering to leave academia

The contents of this posts are inspired by a panel on exploring job options outside of academia at the Department of Psychology at Penn.Thanks to the four cognitive scientists turned data scientists and consultants Ting Qian, Jurgis Karuza, Christine Boylan, and Neil Bardhan, for their input.

In our last post, we interviewed two cognitive scientists who have decided to leave academia for jobs as science communication consultants and data scientists. Complementary to that post, we have assembled an advice shortlist in case you are contemplating to leave academia. Continue reading Seven pieces of advice if you are considering to leave academia

How to survive outside of academia: Interview with a data scientist and a science consulting coach

Most of us that are currently grad students or postdocs have experienced colleagues leaving academia for industry jobs. Even though I am currently a happy scholar, I can very well understand those who venture into industry – be it for making impact on a shorter time-scale and in a more direct manner, for more job security and more regular working hours, or simply for higher pay and the possibility to plan a family and get some savings. And indeed, the fluidity between academia and industry has arguably never been that strong. I find it very important for us young cognitive scientists to know that academia is not a one-way street, and the world outside there is welcoming us warmly, should we choose to enter it.

Meet Christine Boylan and Neil Bardhan, who have both recently left the academia cosmos to pursue two very distinct career paths.

Continue reading How to survive outside of academia: Interview with a data scientist and a science consulting coach

How to run a meta-analysis? A video tutorial

Christina, Page and I like meta-analyses. We are convinced they are a great tool to leverage past research in order to move forward: To gain an overview of the state of a field, to get an idea of research practices, to plan new experiments, and even to get novel theoretical insights.

Continue reading How to run a meta-analysis? A video tutorial

The art of moving to the US for a postdoc (as a Marie Skłodowska Curie global fellow)

About 2 months ago, the latest round of successfully funded Marie Skłodowska Curie fellows has been announced, and some might soon start to plan their move abroad. My move one year ago was spiked with some unforeseen obstacles. But even without those presumably rather unique incidents, there are quite a few things I wish I’d known before. With that in mind, I’ve put together some helpful information on the administrative side of planning your stay. Since I am on a Global Fellowship to the USA, this post is especially geared towards those in the same situation. I hope that large parts can also be useful for fellows going to other countries and postdocs receiving a different kind of funding, though. So here you go!

Continue reading The art of moving to the US for a postdoc (as a Marie Skłodowska Curie global fellow)

We Stand in Solidarity with Scientists Across the Globe

Two weeks ago, I came back to the US after my holiday trip to Germany and France. This moment when you stand in front of the frosty immigration officer who makes you press all your fingers onto the dirty glass of the fingerprinting scanner, takes a webcam photo of your travel-exhausted face, and then scrutinizes your papers. This moment alone always makes me feel like an illegitimate intruder. But of course, it always goes well for me. This last time the immigration officer, still with her poker face on, noticed that my visa would run out in 3 months. Yes, I said hurriedly, I need to reapply. Ever wondered why they make you do this, the officer asked. I looked at her, slightly alarmed. To make a shitload of money out of you, she said, looked up, and smiled a friendly smile. I also smiled, relieved. We both laughed, and that is how I re-entered the United States of America.

Continue reading We Stand in Solidarity with Scientists Across the Globe

How to stay sane and enthusiastic: Five things we wish we had known before starting grad school

Our department has recently started a series on academic skills, where grad students and postdocs at Penn can ask panelists about various experiences pertaining to writing a grant, or giving a job talk – things that are often not communicated in a formal way. This month’s session was about “What I would have liked to know before starting grad school”, where advanced grad students and fresh postdocs reflected on things they would have found useful to know or to have reflected on in advance. I thought I’d share some of the excellent points that were made by the panel and audience.

Grad school can be a great thing, but it comes with its own challenges. For me, the flexibility that often comes with being a grad student (unless you work on a project with a very fixed outline where your tasks are clearly defined from the start) is something that makes it especially awesome, but also especially challenging. You can work on what you really care about while managing your work schedule yourself. But you also have a lot of responsibility and need to be intrinsically motivated and reasonably disciplined to pull through. With that in mind, here come five thoughts and pieces of advice that can help you make your way through grad school.

Continue reading How to stay sane and enthusiastic: Five things we wish we had known before starting grad school

An interview with a next generation methodological freedom fighter

Meet Anne Scheel, PhD candidate at LMU Munich. She stood up and asked the author of the opinion piece on “methodological terrorism” for a statement after her keynote at the DGPS conference. Since tough questions in front of big audiences by young women are still a rare thing to encounter at conferences (and elsewhere), we were curious to know how this went down for her. And of course, we also took the opportunity to discuss the content of the piece in question. Continue reading An interview with a next generation methodological freedom fighter