Saving Each Other among Books and Journals

As new PhD students who had been on the track for about half a year, we were all struggling with endless reading lists, when DTC Theme 15 organised an activity on the strategy of literature review.

Several of us volunteered to provide writing samples as the basis for discussion, and many questions were raised concerning the function of literature review in the PhD thesis. Our theme leader illustrated the importance of deciding the focus of the PhD project before constructing the literature review. For example, there may be several approaches to study China’s perception of the Japan-U.S. alliance, including historical, political, social, and psychological ones; the structure of the literature review should depend on the academic direction of the research.

It was a relief for me to know peer research students experienced same anxieties as I did concerning literature review and the 20,000 words draft to be submitted for the upgrade panel. And it was helpful that we gathered to discuss relevant issues, with our theme leader and senior students sparing no effort to save poor first-year students from the mud of books and journal articles.

Shortly after our theme event, I got an email from DTC inviting all research students to a Theme 4 activity on getting research published, and I was quite interested. I hope to see more theme activities growing into cross-theme ones in the future.

King’s Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctor Training Centre

DTC Theme 15 Military & Regional Security

Reaching Out: Widening the audience for your research seminar

EIS + DPE Sandwich

The research students’ seminar series jointly held by Department of European Studies and Department of Political Economy provide not only delicious sandwiches, but also “knowledge sandwich” of various topics.

During this academic year, I’ve been listening and learning from PhD projects on East Asia regionalism, African corruption, Middle East elections, European workers’ movements, altruism theory, etc. Though I’m not familiar with most of these academic fields, it’s always nice to meet other research students, fresh my mind with interesting researches, share ideas on research progress and time management, and exchanging information on training courses, especially when I find myself thinking in a more and more academic way.

Then it came my turn to do the presentation, and I couldn’t help growing nervous since it was the first time I presented my PhD project in front of an academic community. But I became increasingly confident as the audience listened attentively, and the presentation went on well. It was amusing that I had to repeat a lot to make it clear that I was not studying the Japan-U.S. alliance, but the opinions about it. Sometimes this seemed quite confusing, even to me. I also received advice on ppt design, which would be useful for future presentations.

The seminar series has been very successful and will carry on. All research students and academic staff are welcome. Hope to see you there!


Department of European & International Studies

Department of Political Economy

KCL European Studies Research Students

European Studies Research Students at King’s College London


Accommodating with Accommodation

I recently moved, after weeks of exhausting online searching, telephone appointments, room viewing, and several times of contract signing, into a lovely house with adorable housemates, who waited together with me for the upcoming internet connection. The landlord is responsive and responsible, yet doesn’t help at all in accelerating the installation of internet or increasing the water pressure of the shower.

Here I have some tips for those who’re looking for accommodation.

1. Moving is troublesome, so try to stay as long as you can.

2. Room searching is time consuming, so don’t start too early. 1 month beforehand is enough. Sometimes people say 2 weeks.

3. There’s rare chance you find ideal rooms, so prioritise one thing at a time: location, rent, facilities, or housemates. If everything seems perfect, investigate if the landlord has fallen in love with you.

4. Agencies charge admin fees and don’t actually include all bills even though they say so.

5. Figure out how to order internet and order it as soon as possible, or you’ll have to commute to Strand campus for the wifi every day in the March snows.

6. Diversify your information sources by using several websites including ULHS and spareroom.

7. Don’t forget to report to the nearest police station after moving, if you’re overseas students.

Finally, we all have to accommodate with our accommodation once we settle down, because it’s not a one-day contract. Good luck with accommodation, you and me.

University of London Housing Service