The systematic investigation into, and study of, materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. 

If you noticed that there have been more research related articles in Opus recently, you might have linked them to a research-fervent UoN PhD student… Well, that would be me! I think I am finally starting to find my niche as an Opus contributor. Being able to rave about my passion for research and link it to aspects of life via Opus themes has been an indulgence. Thus, I was so excited for this Passion issue, as I get to explore research at its core. 

Clearly research itself is a passion for me and a passion for many, but the neat thing about research is that the broad title of ‘researcher’ is just the beginning. Look a little closer and you will uncover that the passions of researchers are vast and varied. Robotics, public health, urban planning, art theory; specific fields of research enable detailed exploration of and engagement with our passions. 

In Year 12, I explored animal rights or, moreover, the lack thereof such rights. Animal welfare, protection, and kindness towards other species has always been imperative to me. This passion inspired the research project that contributed to the completion of my HSC, and I am grateful to this day that I had the autonomy and opportunity to explore something I am passionate about. The enjoyment I found in researching this topic made the prospect of the task feel much less like an assignment and more like a personal project. 

Since, I have had the opportunity to explore my passion in numerous other areas:

  • During a Summer Research Scholarship, I looked into forensics, exploring the impact of alcohol on the brain during a Summer Research Scholarship.
  • For my Honours year, the transgenerational impact of childhood sexual abuse.
  • And, presently, as a part of my PhD candidature, the gap in life expectancy for people living with a mental health condition.

Within these pathways of passion, I found a further love for qualitative research. Although I appreciate and continue to conduct quantitative research, my endeavours exposed a deep passion for exploring the deeply enriched data that can be pulled from the lived experiences of participants. 

I acknowledge my story as one of a passionate researcher, but I believe the brilliance and variance of research should be considered an opportunity by all, to explore your own individual passions and hopefully make a real difference whilst doing so. If you get the opportunity to undertake research during your studies, take some extra time to consider doing so. Similarly, for those of you who are potentially dreading the thought of conducting research as a compulsory part of your degree, think of a passion that will help drive you and provide an enjoyable and worthwhile thesis endeavour.

Tegan Stettaford

Tegan Stettaford

Hello! My name is Tegan and I joined the Opus team in 2021 as an outlet to escape my PhD writing. I am yet to find my niche category, but you can probably expect pieces about postgraduate life, creativity, psychology, literature and all things cute and fuzzy. Outside of Opus and my PhD, I am also a peer mentor, team leader, tutor, and sessional academic (so you might just see me in class sometime!).