My first thought when asked to participate in the Thesis-in-Three competition was one of fear and dread. I am in my third year of a structured PhD but had not presented in person, largely due to COVID-19, since my master’s dissertation defence in 2019.
I took the great opportunity to disseminate my research and opted into the Thesis-in-Three competition although nervous about presenting. To combat my nerves and gain experience presenting again, students in my department (Physical Education and Sport Science) formed a group to practice in front of each other, with a large presentation board and we provided and received peer feedback. I also had the opportunity to present to my supervisors (Prof. Alan Donnelly and Dr. Brian Carson) and lab group. These opportunities to present really helped, and the repetition of practicing the presentation improved the flow and delivery of the overall presentation (in my own opinion). I am not going to discuss tips for presenting in this blog but please find a fellow PESS PhD students blog on tips presenting here: https://pess.blog/2022/03/11/top-tips-for-thesis-in-three-chloe-forte/.
Overall, on the day of the Education and Health Sciences Thesis-In-Three competition I did not place, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and came away happy with my presentation and some positive and constructive feedback.
Following the Thesis-in-Three competition came the Health Research Institute – Elevator Pitch competition. I again entered this competition as an opportunity to disseminate one of my PhD research studies. This study looked at the physical activity and sedentary behaviour of desk-based individuals who were working from home during COVID-19 and the effect of a remote e-Health intervention on physical activity and sedentary behaviour during working hours.
My poster for this competition placed third and I was grateful to receive positive and constructive feedback on my presentation again.
Both of these University of Limerick run competitions have been a great experience and have prepared me for my first upcoming in-person international conference (International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement (ICAMPAM), in Denver, USA) and the emotions of fear and dread have dissipated when thinking of presenting. I now look forward to this opportunity as a chance to network and present my research to experts and peers in my research area. I feel this is only due to my previous opportunities to present and the practice I have begun to put in to presenting my research in short forms. Overall, my takeaway is that everything is scary at first and that practice and preparation are key. Furthermore, enjoy the moment!
Aidan Buffey is a PhD student in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, UL. He is funded by the Health Research Institue and supervised by Prof. Alan Donnelly and Dr Brian Carson. Aidan is in the third year of his PhD project titled ‘Design and evaluation of an intervention to reduce sedentary behaviour and improve health in older adults’. This project aims to implement an office-based intervention designed to interrupt sedentary behaviour with light-intensity physical activity with an emphasis on improving cardiometabolic health markers. Aidan has an MSc in Sport and Exercise Science – Physiology (Manchester Metropolitan University, 2018-2019) and a BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science (Manchester Metropolitan University, 2015-2018).