My name is Dan McCarthy and I am a second year PhD student in Speech Sciences.
From 30 March to 1 April 2016 I attended in Lancaster the biannual BAAP Conference (BAAP standing for the British Association for Academic Phoneticians). I found this experience to be beneficial in a number of ways:
- I had the opportunity of presenting the results of my pilot study to a broad academic audience. The members of BAAP number several hundred and work in a variety of topics related to phonetics (e.g. the production and perception of speech, acoustic analysis, forensic voice profiling, sociolinguistic variation). Presenting my results to such an audience of experts boosted my confidence in my research abilities and in my ability to communicate ideas clearly.
- Attending the conference dinner helped me make new contacts in the academic world. In particular, I was able to get advice on what programming languages and statistical packages work best for my area.
- My attention was drawn to research publications relevant to my research that I had been unaware of. (This was during my poster presentation.)
- I had a number of interesting conversations with researchers engaged in similar areas of interest to my own, which was an enjoyable experience in my own right.
- The other presentations at the conference gave me a feel for what research areas are currently being most extensively pursued. This included learning that there appears to be no one in the UK currently researching how to acoustically distinguish the places of articulation of plosive consonants (my own topic), although there are some researchers in the UK investigating the acoustics of somewhat similar consonants (e.g. /s/).
- I learnt new information on topics not related to my own, by attending the above-mentioned talks and poster presentations.