Three minute thesis winner flies across the ditch

24 August 2010

Fiona Martin

Fiona Martin: The Waikato University student heads to Australia in September to deliver her thesis in three minutes.

A University of Waikato doctoral student heads to Australia next month to present her PhD research – in three minutes.

Fiona Martin, who’s studying the death speeches of characters in early modern English drama, is competing in the inaugural Australasian Three Minute Thesis competition, which requires her to outline her entire thesis in just three minutes.

“It’s very difficult to summarise an entire thesis into such a short time, but it’s been a beneficial experience,” says Ms Martin, who won Waikato University’s version of the competition last year.

Ms Martin is looking into what characters say before they die - in plays by Shakespeare and lesser known writers, such as Thomas Middleton, John Marston and William Sampson. “I’m interested in the historical events and cultural trends as background to the plays, looking at how they influenced final speeches,” she says.

The Australasian Three Minute Thesis competition, held at the University of Queensland in Brisbane from September 20-21, sees doctoral students from 33 universities in New Zealand and Australia taking part.

“I’m looking forward to hearing about the diversity of research conducted by other people, as at times you get so caught up in researching your own topic that you're unaware of what others are doing,” says Ms Martin. “But I will also be very relieved when the three minutes are up and I can step off the podium."

Meanwhile, the University of Waikato is preparing for Postgraduate Research Month, which will run during October. It aims to build awareness of postgraduate research and to further develop a strong postgraduate culture on campus.

The month will feature a range of events and activities, including doctoral workshops, a quiz night, an information evening, faculty seminars and research conferences, and the university’s own Thesis in Three competition. The final for that is held in late October and will be hosted by comedian Te Radar.

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