My experience of the RiDNet Conference 2015 – Rasika Soman

I recently graduated with a Masters by Research from the University of York. During my masters by research, I was actively involved in various training workshops, conferences and events of the WRDTC. Some of the events that I was involved with are the in Qualitative Research Methods, Training in Quantitative Research Methods, Methods for elite interviewing and many more. However, in this write-up I would like to focus on the RiDNet Conference 2015: Conducting Fieldwork in Development Contexts – Expectations, Encounters and Entanglements which primarily focused on collecting data in the developing countries. My research being focused on the effectiveness of vocational education in the developing countries, I could directly relate the issues about data collection being discussed in this conference. One of the most important themes in this conference which I could directly relate to my own situation was the experience of collecting data from your own country while living abroad. I come from India and my research is also focused in vocational Education in India. This involved me collecting data from my own country while staying in an abroad country. I could complete relate my problems collecting data since I was perceived as an ‘outsider’ by my own countrymen since I was staying in an abroad country. My situation was exactly the same as those mentioned by the presenters in the conference. Before attending the conference, I had no idea if it could be so relevant to me. However, I could find that the presenters also faced similar obstacles and problems while collecting data from their own country like I did. I can say that this conference completely helped me to solve my problems of data collection as it came up with new ideas and solutions which I used in my research. Moreover, it helped to gain a different perspective on my research as I could step away for a while and think as to how these ideas can be effectively used in my research. The ideas that were interchanged during this conference helped me to critically analyze the language, religion, caste as well as gender barriers that I was facing in the context of India. The perspective that I have gained from this conference will not only help me in my further PhD studies but also helped me to complete my masters thesis successfully, which was  also on the effectiveness of vocational Education in India. I wish to further my interest of this topic to my PhD studies and I am currently looking out for funded PhD positions for the same. I would love to collaborate and engage with researchers in my field and I can be contacted on my email id which is rasikaajaysoman@gmail.com. I am also very proud to share that this conference also helped me to share my experiences in the form of a blog post which is published on the Center of Global Development of the University of Leeds.