My research empirically investigated whether formulaic sequences—groups of words believed to be stored as holistic sequences in the mental lexicon—are used differently by individual authors, both in terms of type and quantity, and the extent to which formulaic sequences hold the potential to differentiate authors in the forensic context.
Why did you choose to study for your PhD in the School of Languages and Social Sciences? Aston University was by far the most suitable institution for my research since it hosts the world’s largest Centre for Forensic Linguistics, staffed by internationally acclaimed scholars. This meant that I would be surrounded by plenty of people (both staff and other PhD students) with whom I could discuss my research and that the library would be well stocked with relevant resources.
What did you find most useful about the PhD programme? There was a strong focus on research with regular research seminars in which I was expected to participate. I also found that the doctoral programme wasn’t just about producing a thesis—I was given opportunities to teach undergraduates, help to organise a conference, edit a collection of conference proceedings, and take an active role in forensic linguistics case work.
How has your PhD helped you in your current occupation? In every possible way! I’ve gained skills and practical experience in presenting at research seminars, organising conferences, editing, publishing, and consultancy. And this is all on top of the skills I’ve gained through completing my PhD research. I’ve had excellent supervising and teaching modelled for me which I carry forward into my role as a lecturer.