A few weeks ago I was presenting a poster in 21st APTA Conference held in Kuala Lumpur (organized by APTA and Taylor’s University), and the conference theme for this year is Developments of the New Tourism Paradigm in the Asia-Pacific Region. For me the conference was successful, gathering delegates from all around the world in the excellent sessions and top-notch event. But here I am not going to give all the conference success stories but rather I want to share about what I got from graduate panel session and APTA panel session in that conference.
Graduate Panel Session
From the title of this first panel session we could easily know that it especially held for the graduates delegates (like myself), so I am very excited to hear and learn from the panelist. The panelist for this session is Dr. Daniel Fesenmaier (University of Florida, USA), Dr. Metin Kozak (Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey), Dr. Muzaffer (Muzzo) Uysal (Virginia Tech University, USA) and ShawnJang, Ph.D. (Purdue University, USA).
So the first thing that the panelist talk was about giving advice for us graduates in terms of taking postgraduate degree. I noted three important things for graduates to fully realize and understand before deciding to take postgraduate study.
The first one is to realize that taking Ph.D degree means that we have to make big commitment for what we will do in the next 10 or 20 years of our life. This means that taking Ph.D not meant for the Ph.D itself, but we have to give our self for what follow after and imagine what next. In other word like saying and confirming to yourself that “this is what I do and will do”.
The second is to take the Ph.D is the sense of celebrating life, which means by taking commitment for postgraduate study we have to truly enjoy the process while doing our best. With this attitude then it will be easier for us to cope with all the bitter-sweet that comes in the process.
The third is to understand that being a scholar is a privilege and also an honor, and at the end of postgraduate process there is inherent calling to change the world as better place for all species. I think this is still related with the first point, and the important message here is what follow after the Ph.D, and how to use our knowledge (as a power) to do good things. But of course this also need to be evaluated critically, because what we think as good deed and action could fall in to bad result in the end or somewhere along the way, and also then I remember this quote from Lord Acton “power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupt absolutely”.
Further, the panelist talks about the relation between supervisor and Ph.D students. I noted that all the panelist agree that they treat their students as mutual, so they expect them to bring ideas. Because the research process is a dynamic process so the supervision will be involving recurring activity of asking and answering question, break it down to small problem and challenging every answer until it gets to the desirable point. Of course at some extent student must listen carefully and take the idea from the supervisor, but not like just to please them rather to incorporate it in to our own idea.
This session also talked about how to write a good quality paper. The first thing that I noted that a good quality paper is always has a certain value in it. The value could be a new approach or new concept or just an addition to certain approach and concept, also it could be adding a new best practice that occur somewhere, and anything else which could consider as a plus value for the paper.
The second is matter of coherency of the paper structure. Working as a reviewer of the respectable journal, one of the panelist stated that he will first look at what he consider as a crucial coherent part of a paper; abstract, methodology, and conclusion. If he found consistency and coherency in those parts then he will read all the part of the paper.
Finally I noted a few practical tips for writing a good quality paper: make your paper neat (make sure that your font, diagram and table are easy on the eye), make sure the logical connection from the introduction until the end (conclusion), and recheck the paper several times.
For me, from this session I got motivated to prepare even more for taking postgraduate study, and make me realize that I must embrace the right mindset and attitude before I am going to take Ph.D.
APTA Panel Session
The second panel session that I want to share is APTA panel session for all the delegates with one specific theme, which is: “Academic Trend: What should we do?” This panelist for this session is still the same like the previous panel session and discussed several interesting things such as: 1) Academic journal trend, publication competition, and quantification of academia performances, 2) The multidisciplinary status of tourism study, and 3) Multi variable analysis technique which make tourism studies become more quantitative oriented.
From the first point I noted that all the panelist agree that nowadays there is an increment in academic journal publication and this condition leads to a competitive atmosphere among scholar and academia. One of the panelist stated that this condition might be caused by the requirement from academic institution to quantify their staff performance. This means the more you publish the greater the reward.
The competitive atmosphere and quantify reward based could be good to promote excellence, but on the other side (like what occur this days) it could lead to low quality journal (like predatory journal, see for details in Beall’s list). I sense an apprehension from the panelist that this condition could lead that publication is not meant to have values but just to publish it self. So, performance index not necessary correlated with maturity and quality but rather the question is how to make an index of the real impact based on a publication.
From the second point I noted that tourism studies is one of the study that influenced by diverse of disciplines, and it consider as a good thing because tourism is not standalone discipline nor mono-disciplines but rather it must be taken from many different perspective to explain not just the travelling or mobility aspect but also many other aspects. However, because of this multidisciplinary influences, tourism studies also must face the influence that came from disciplines which rely on quantitative method such as multi variable analysis and therefore make tourism studies become more quantitative oriented (third point).
To summaries this session, I noted that the panelist expecting that the future of tourism study could be more applied and should make a connection with the tourism industry. In other word the future of academic trend will be dealing with how to change the tourism practice in all its aspects.
Ok, I think that’s all I could share for now, thank you for reading.