Chapter 12 Extended Learning

This chapter is entirely optional and contains information about my personal lab. Again, this is entirely optional, and not tied to the course. I started my lab to experiment with teaching practice and collective research projects aligned with my research interests. The idea is that lab members co-learn, develop joint research projects, and work towards publication at an appropriate level. If you are looking to round out your CV with practical experience, or develop personal research towards publication, this may be of interest.

12.1 Ethics, Technology & Conflict Lab

The lab exists to promote innovative approaches to the study of war and conflict. In practical terms, the lab is a structure to enable you to learn research skills in a short period of time, to develop your own field of expertise, to experiment with scalable research methods and digital technologies, and to get practical experience in academic research for your CV. The underlying idea is to experiment and test the limits of what is possible in a way that is mutually beneficial to all persons involved.63

This is my personal lab. The focus of lab work is the rather wide remit of “Culture, Technology and War”. If you are a student on one of my courses, the chances are that there’s something you are interested in within this frame. The central idea of the lab is to provide a space to experiment with teaching methods, and to enable students to develop their practical research and communication skills through project based learning by engaging with ongoing research projects at all stages of development.

There are four strands of activity to engage with:

  • Skills development. About a third of time spent in the lab is dedicated to the development of practical skills, most importantly experimenting with developing the skills required to undertake group or personal projects. We’ll experiment with learning sprints, collaboration technologies, and whole-cohort research projects alongside more standard elements like drafting and editing your prior academic work to suit different audiences.
  • Research projects. A fundamental aim of the lab is to enable groups to experiment with research projects64 that are devised by lab participants. In other words, follow your nose. This element of lab activity is intended to be creative, with the idea of producing minimum viable research products, that may be the basis for further, formal, research.
  • Communicating research. A third element of lab participation is the development of your work (and group work) to publication standard. This involves working through simulated peer-review processes to develop working papers, blog posts, data sets, reports, bibliographies, or further.
  • Professional experience. I have a range of ongoing research projects. If you need, or would like, experience of working on academic research projects, then we can agree upon a set of tasks that would suit your CV.

12.2 Research Projects for 2020/21

These are the options for practical research projects for 2020/21. If you are interested on working on any of these, please get in touch.

  • Literature Reviews
    • Strategy and climate change
      • Literature on conflict and climate change, and examining it to analyse its potential consequences for strategy and warfare in the 21st century
      • Literature on strategic studies, and examining it to analyse the extent to which it is informed by current scientific assessments of the impact of climate change in the 21st century
  • Theory Building
    • War and Infrastructure
      • Studying theories of infrastructure and their relevance to war and armed conflict. Ultimate aim: how do concepts of infrastructure enhance our understanding of war?
  • Case Studies/Qualitative Methods
    • Data Ethics in Armed Conflict
      • Identifying interesting uses of biometric recognition systems in contemporary warfare
      • Mapping the development of artillery radars and counterfire systems in the 20th century
    • The Maintenance of Military Power
      • Identifying key military platforms that are/were used well beyond their initial expected lifespan
  • Datasets/Quantitative Methods
    • War and Slavery
      • Classifying forms of coerced labour in the context of armed conflicts from the Correlates of War dataset
  • Historical Research
    • A history of British surveillance controversies
      • Identifying and evaluating state surveillance controversies since the formation of the Home Office

  1. This means no filling envelopes, no fetching coffees, or any other drudge-work associated with internships.↩︎

  2. Ones that do not require research ethics approval.↩︎