Visiting Robert Gordon University and Roger McDermott

Roger McDermott is really an excellent and inspirint researcher. We have done some very interesting papers together, and this week I am visiting Robert Gordon together with Mats Daniels for writing papers in the area of comptuer science education.

A recent paper of ours explores a framework for writing learning agreements. This paper is a recommended read for those who are interested in the development of interdisciplinary teamwork skills. The paper is found here.

We have also written papers about students and how they envision the future of student adminstration, found in this blog post 

Other papers we have written are related to grit and personality, see this  blog post exploring the mind set of yet.

I am very much looking forward to some very productive days in Aberdeen. 🙂


Assessment of the Research Environment at Our Department – KoF 2017

Uppsala University is currently undergoing an assessment related to the research environment called KoF17. At our department a panel consisting of computer scientists and mathematicians were at the department and interviewed us for two days. I participated in two of the sessions. In this work I represented our work with gender equality, and as an expert of our administrative IT systems.

The task of the experts in the Kof 17 panel is to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of our research community at the department. And to make recommendations for how we should develop it.  The KoF17 assessment is the third self-initiated evaluation conducted by Uppsala University, the former were 2007 and 2011. This time the goal was to give constructive collegial feedback. This means agood advice so we can develop and become even better. Kof17 includes for example reflection on the link between research and education, as well as between research and collaboration.

The vice chancellor of the university blogs about this event here

It was really an interesting event, and some of the things i learned more about are:

  • There are indeed different academic cultures in different countries.
  • People have surprisingly different opinions on what is good and what is quality.
  • The process in itself was indeed a learning experience, and our head of reserach Gunilla Kreiss did a great job in putting everything together for us.


I Found the Pomodoro Technique And it is Great!

Summer is approaching quickly. We all have deadlines in their calendars for papers, reports and other work. This is really great, and I really love reading and writing. But somehow I seldom get time to really dig into things nowadays. However, this week I tried a very simple technique that I strongly recommend:

The Pomodoro Technique 

For some of you this is nothing new, but for others this might help you as much as it has helped me. I have understood that this is a very popular time management technique.

The main idea behind the technique is to work with full attention on one thing only for a period of time (I have chosen 18 min). It’s a kind of very short sprint. After this I get a break and do other things such as fetching coffee or sending an sms to my kids, for around 3-5 min. Then I start another session with full concentration using a simple alarm clock on my iPhone.  A Pomodoro is a tomato shaped alarm clock.

This is how Pomodoro is done:

  1. Choose a task that you want to work on
  2. Set the alarm clock to 18-25 min
  3. Work on your task until the alarm clock rings
  4. Take a short break

Results from using this technique:  

  • My productivity has really improved.
  • I feel more satisfied with my work.
  • My stress level has gone down enormously.
  • I work with one thing at the time despite the list with 20 other things I should do.

Thank you, Marta, and Christiane for mentioning Pomodoro to me!

Btw: writing this was one Pomodoro…. 🙂

Observation Visits of Supervision of PhD Students

Uppsala University offers courses in supervision of PhD students for faculty.  As a part of these courses you should do a study visit to a senior PhD student supervisor and observe a supervision session. There is a list of possible senior PhD student supervisors to visit, and I am on that list so every now and then someone comes and observes me and one of my PhD students in a supervision session.

Before the session you should discuss the plan for the supervision meeting with the visitor, talk about how supervision generally and present the research area. After the supervision, you have a meeting to discuss what happened during the supervision.

These meetings are often a learning experience for me, as the visitors often ask questions related to the style of supervision. I strongly recommend to be a part of this list for those who want to develop their supervision skills and reflect on their way of doing supervision.

Some of the more interesting comments I have gotten during these sessions are:

  • Why don’t you have more conflicts and arguments during the supervision? (What?)
  • How is the PhD supervision sessions gendered? (Good question!)
  • Your PhD students seem to work very much with development of research competence generally, shouldn’t they be focusing only on their thesis work? (Naah…. Wait a second here..)
  • How do you know that the students are doing what they are supposed to be doing? (Hmm. I don’t, but I think they are motivated to do what they are interested in doing)

It is really interesting to work with your skills as a leader and supervisor. I learn new things all the time! I have previously written a blog post about a course in gender inclusive supervision and one of my publications here.


Recommendations on How to Write Research Papers in Global Collaborations

Most Swedes spent the last weekend celebrating that spring was coming with different traditions such as a fire and singing. Some spent it in Uppsala which is full of traditions around Valborg. I spent the weekend in front of my computer working with a number of submissions to a conference in Computer Science Education.

If one looks at my publication list one can see that I often write papers together with lots of other people, and I would guess that I have more than 50 such papers. These collaboratively written papers are often a joy to work with, and great fun since everyone involved learn a lot. Most of all I appreciate the papers where the work is distributed between several people but when everyone contributes with their knowledge and understanding of the topic.

Here are some recommendations for those who want to work collaborately when analysing and writing research papers:

  1. Meet and discuss the paper, and the ideas using Skype or another media. Take notes of the ideas you discuss to make sure you remember them, and also so that people who could not join the meeting are informed.
  2. Decide where to publish the paper, and set up a deadline.
  3. Discuss and decide who will be first author. Also, discuss what that means in terms of work.
  4. Discuss if co-authors are to make comments or edit the text directly in sections that they haven’t written themselves.
  5. Write in the same document online. Do not mail word of pdf files. Use Overleaf if you are a Latex fan, Drobox with Word, or Google Drive.
  6. Agree on a standard for referencing such as APA or the standard for the conference or journal that you are submitting to.
  7. See to it that you have a communication channel for discussing things related to the paper. This could be in Skype, Slack or other available collaborative technology.
  8. See to it that you have good coffee around, and have fun 🙂



Culture and Adoption of IT – My PhD Student’s Speciality

Culture is one factor that influences the adoption of IT, and it is yet another factor that needs to be taken into consideration when implementing IT systems in organisations.

Today Shweta Premadanan will present her work for her group of supervisors (of which I am one of the co-supervisors). The Viva today is based on a theoretical description of the research area and the background of the thesis. She has done a thorough literature review in the area of culture and adoption of eGovernment systems, and is planning to do a survey study and an interview study in the future. The studies will be made in Sweden and in India to be able to see two different cultural settings.

The theories that she has looked into include for example theories of user adoption which I think is an interesting area. Some of the theories she has looked into and compare are:

  • The technology acceptance model
  • Motivational model
  • Theory of planned behavior
  • Unified theory of acceptance and use of technology


The research questions that will be addressed will start in the Globe definition of culture (House et al, 2002) and include what dimensions of National culture as defined by the Globe study affect adoption, and in what way these dimensions affect?

I have done some studies on culture, but from the perspective of scaffolding cultural competence so the theories used in the theses related to culture are new to me. My papers in the area are found here:

I am very much looking forward to following Shwetas work in the future, and will for sure learn a lot about user adoption and culture.



Lessons Learned from Discussing Implementation of Psychosocial Support and Psychological Treatment via Internet – U-care

Last week I attended a very well organized day related to implementation of psychosocial support and psychological treatment via the internet organized by the U-care programme. There were lots of experienced researchers from all over the world present at the U-care venue, and presentations of relevant areas were mixed with workshops around implementation of IT in health care. Unfortunately, I had to run off a couple of hours in the middle of the day, but next time this kind of venue is organized I will try to attend the whole day. 

I especially enjoyed Anders Brantnells presentation of “Implementation of Complex Interventions – What does research say”. In this presentation, he went through relevant theories related to barriers and enablers when implementing, and we then got to discuss them in relation to implementation of IT in primary care. 

Some lessons learned from these discussions about implementation were: 

  • There are indeed numerous models related to implementation of IT. The ones discussed at the U-care event were very related to health care as such, and perhaps it is necessary to have specific models for different areas of application?
  • What kind of knowledge is possible to gain from implemenation research as it is done in many health care projects? What is not possible to learn? According to Wikipedia implemenation research is “Often, research projects focus on small scale pilot studies or laboratory-based experiments, and assume that findings can be generalised to roll out into a practice-based domain with few changes.”

Positive Experiences from Shared Decision Making in Health Care

Health care is transforming, many argue, from a very hierarchial and paternalistic approach to health care where physicians are the active part, and the patients are passive. The new approach includes a relationtship where the physicans and the patients are more on equal terms, and where there is a mutual partnership in the relationship (as pieces of a puzzle, as the image to this blog post.)

Some would argue that this transformation is too slow, and that there are numerous obstacles to this transformation such as the desire to maintain control, lack of time and personal beliefs. I do believe that the mutual partnership approach is much better than the old approach, and that shared decision making is the future of health care. 

I went to the doctor last week for a check up, and of course I could not help but to do some observations in relation to a paper that the DOME reserachers and I are writing on shared decision making. During the analysis of the interviews for this paper we were quite worried about the state of Swedish health care when it comes to shared decision making and a patient centred approach to health care.

However, my experience from this session at the doctor was that the physicial indeed did ask me about what we should do, and I really felt like I was the one deciding!

Things might be moving in the right direction after all?

Six Good Practices to Learn from When Writing Applications with an International Team

This spring I have been working on a large EU application in the area of eHealth together with a large team of people from different countries. I’ve never been a part of such an effort before and so far, it has been a good learning experience to see how to get such a large application written. Before this writing process I knew only one of the other researchers, and Jonas Moll from the HTO group is joining me in this effort.

The writing process has been coordinated by two people who work closely together with writing everything, and sections of the text has been mailed to all the participants and work package leaders to review.

The writing process has had good support from UU innovation and the EU coordinators at Uppsala university. Among other things they have funded the application team so that we have had the chance to meet a couple of times to discuss and write.

This week the whole application was sent out to us for review, and next week it will be sent to people who will do a pre-review of the text. The deadline for the application is not until later on this spring, so there is time to rewrite and improve the text after this pre-review.

Some good practices to learn from in this application writing process are:

  1. Meet and discuss IRL. It’s really good to meet and discuss and not just using Skype. There is funding available for such meetings at our university. Perhaps also at yours?
  2. Distribute meeting notes. There are always meeting notes sent out after each meeting. These have clear indications of what is expected of you to do.
  3. Have clear deadlines. The mails with documents with sections of text always contain a deadline when the text is to be sent back.
  4. Have one person in charge. There is really one person writing most of the text which makes it look like “one voice” (of course).
  5. Have someone to do a pre-review. Having a pre-review process with an external reviewer who reads and comments is really a great idea.
  6. Start in good time. The time planning of this work is really good. We started the process already before Christmas, and we have almost 6 months to write the text.


Let’s see how the pre-review goes, and let’s hope that this project is funded 🙂

Easter Holiday Week

This week I’m off work and will spend some time with my four kids and husband. The plan is to do some biking with my 14-year-old, do some gardening and most of all to relax. We’re hoping for nice weather, and slow days with occasional trips if we get bored.

I hope that you have a nice Easter holiday!