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NLP Research Enlightenment

I so enjoyed the International NLP Research Conference, which we held at the University of Hertfordshire at the beginning of July. What were the highlights? For me, the highlights included the Friday workshops, the conference dinner on Friday evening and the plethora of paper presentations on Saturday, as well as inspiring keynote speakers Michael Hall and Melita Reiner.…so all of it really!

The Friday sessions were designed to empower budding researchers like myself, and give us more understanding about how to ensure any NLP research we do is going to be accepted. 

These workshops were so valuable for me, because they really opened my eyes about some of the important details of research, especially the importance of planning.

Until I attended the research design workshops, run by Dr Suzanne Henwood, Dr Paul Tosey and Richard Churches, I had rather naively assumed I could collect some data and then just “analyse” it (in the same  way I used to analyse financial accounts data). Now I am a lot clearer about how to properly frame my research questions and be very clear about the ‘research question’  to  ensure I collect meaningful qualitative and quantitative data in the first place!

The dinner and networking on Friday evening were a great opportunity to catch up with old NLP friends, make some new ones, and just share some time with like minded, generous people, who were more than happy to discuss potential projects and brainstorm ideas over a drink.

So yes, the Friday was a real hit for me, and something I hope we can replicate, or even expand upon at future conferences – certainly the feedback indicated this day was very popular and delegates would like more in future…roll on 2014, then!

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