An Elevator Speech for Research

glass-elevatorI have worked in educational practice for as long as I can remember (or, more precisely, ever since the second year after college), and have often heard about (and even taught the importance of) the elevator speech. This is the short (30 seconds or so) answer to the question, “So, what do you do?” It is a mechanism for networking and searching for work, activities I know are important though have not been especially skilled at (at least not in the F2F modality, that is).

I have never really considered this before for research projects, especially for the dissertation / thesis. This idea originated from Cristina Costa’s recent blog post, where she discussed her PhD in  minutes. What a healthy idea to help focus the idea, to try on the idea and feel how it fits, to help to make the process real by speaking it and bringing it into a dimension of reality.

I am sharing this as I want to try this when I work on articulating my doctoral thesis (dissertation back here in the US) later this year. I believe my current research project, Public Transformations: Adult Learners Who Use Social Media to Express and Understand Their Identities as Developing Researchers, will help me in the direction for my work. As I will want people to know about, offer suggestions for, and agree to participate in my research, I will need to be able to clearly articulate the ideas for my work, what I want to find, why I want to find it, and why you should care. Just can’t get away from the WIIFM!

Come to think of it, this process may be useful for every research project . . . .  If a research project cannot be simply and clearly stated, then how well can we really engage in it?