Thanks to all those on #phdchat…for the enormous help, moral support, motivation and kindness

To describe this as a journey is an understatement. It has been hard work, ridiculously difficult at times, but extremely rewarding, and I am surprised and amazed to have made it to this point. I have a number of people to thank for their support in getting this far on this doctoral journey.

First, thanks very much to my supervisor Ron Thompson, for his constant support, advice, calmness and tenacity over the last five years, and also to Roger Crawford my second supervisor for his advice on my draft thesis, and a big thanks to all the tutors who generously gave up their time for me to interview them.

Next on the list, a massive thank you to my husband, Duncan, and my lovely children, Nicola, Sam, and Lauren for all their love and support, for putting up with my moods and grumpiness at times, and for allowing me time away from family stuff to get this thing completed, and to you this thesis is dedicated. I am also forever indebted to my mum and dad for all they sacrificed for us, and thanks also to my lovely brothers: Dave and Pete; and sisters: Janet and Debbie, who are so supportive in whatever I do in my life.

A huge thank you to two very special colleagues: Cath Ellis, for believing in me and giving me the confidence to start on and continue on this doctoral journey; and to Liz Bennett, who I have been lucky enough to have had travelling this same journey alongside me, and whose constant support, practical advice and optimism has helped to keep me going, and dragged me to the finish line. I’d also like to thank Cheryl Reynolds and David Powell for all their support along the way.

Finally thanks to all those on #phdchat on Twitter, too many to name individually, for the enormous help, moral support, motivation and kindness. Phdchat is a great example of the affordances of social media, providing a personal learning network of doctoral students worldwide supporting and collaborating together.

Contributor: @SueFolley

Source: Folley, S (2013) Bridging the gap between face-to-face and online teaching: a case study exploring tutors’ early experiences of teaching online in a UK university 2009-2012. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield


It was not about the outcome of obtaining a PhD but instead it was about the process of getting there!

Life has thrown me many curve balls over the years and I would like to give special thanks to my parents for tirelessly supporting me through all the life changing events that eventually led me back to school. Thanks to my mum for being my rock and helping keep me in touch with reality throughout my studies. Thanks to my dad for letting me do it ‘my way’ and for encouraging and inspiring me to reach for my dreams.

Thanks to my husband Darryl (IAMIMOM), for all the inspiring and motivating conversations, that helped me grasp a better understanding of all things game related. Thanks also for being my gaming partner and fellow geek and for all those hours spent unwinding playing co-op Gears of War and Halo 3. Thanks to Kaci, for choosing me as your mum and thanks for keeping me entertained at work when I sneaked you under my table, dressed as a witch pretending to be in a castle full of evil vampires. Thanks to the Charles family for warmly welcoming me and Kaci into their family and for supporting me throughout my studies.

Thanks also to both of my lifelong friends Julie and Monica for being by my side all these years, through all the good times and the bad. “Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.” Thanks to my friend Debbie (aka Wee Elf) for rescuing me from 2nd yr and showing me that there is a life outside of university and it usually begins with a trip to Next, swiftly followed by a Starbucks! You helped keep my sanity intact although others may find this debatable!

Thanks to all my brothers and sisters, Richard, Brian, Niall, Peter, Danielle, Michaela, and Grace. You have all inspired me and helped me to remain focused and finish my studies. A special thank you to Grace for adopting Kaci as her own and babysitting for hundreds of hours so I could attend university.

Thanks to my excellent supervisory team, Prof. Dave Bustard and Dr. Michaela Black for making the process of doing a PhD both an invaluable and enjoyable experience. Thank you for all your support and guidance throughout the project. Thanks also to Dr. Roger Austin for his advice in the lead up to the write-up. Thanks to the University of Ulster, and also to all the staff from the School of Computing and Information Engineering. A special thanks to Mrs Pauleen Marshall who warmly welcomed me into the School as an undergraduate student and for looking after me so well all these years. I am indebted to you for your kindness. Thanks also to Mr Tony McLaughlin, without your ‘banter’ I may well have thrown in the towel, or shovel!

Finally, I would like to thank Prof. Randy Pausch RIP for giving me perspective and helping me realise it was in fact a ‘head fake’. It was not about the outcome of obtaining a PhD but instead it was about the process of getting there!

“Experience is not what happens to a man, it is what a man does with what happens to him.”

– Aldous Huxley

Contributor: Therese Charles – Therese can be found on LinkedIn

Source: Charles, T (2010) Enhanced eLearning Engagement Using Game AbsorptioN Techniques (E.L.E.G.A.N.T), PhD, University of Ulster, School of Computing & Information Engineering

Because of you, all this was made possible

To use the terminology from the service blueprint (after all, research is a kind of public service) ─ I may be the one interacting with you, the reader, but I would not be able to do it without all the people in the back office, be they colleagues, friends or professional acquaintances. A warm thank you to…
… my advisors; Stefan Holmlid for always being open to discuss new ideas and concepts and encouraging me to find my way in the research landscape. The plentiful short two-minute-discussions are invaluable! Arne Jönsson, for your no-bullshit attitude and providing a different angle so that I do not get caught up in the service design-bubble. Björn Alm, for many fruitful discussions and reflections, especially when it comes to the methodology.
… my informants. Without the willingness to share their ways of working and produced visualisations, this thesis could not have been. I’ve been fortunate enough to have 21 practicing service designers from 15 companies in seven countries to sharing their time and efforts with me.
… the IxS research group (Eva L, Eva R, Johan B, Johan Å, Matti and Stefan) for good discussions and an open climate. There is always someone to strike up a conversation on any given design-related topic or just chit-chat with for five minutes. And of course the weekly meetings with cake!
… my fellow PhD students (past and present) and others who join in on the so well needed coffee breaks; Amy, Anna, Arne, Jody, Johan, Jonas, Lars, Maria, Magnus, Sanna and Sara. I think it’s time for the next PhD pub soon though…
… everyone who has helped in one way or another in making this thesis take the shape it is, be it modelling (Anna), photographing (Jonas), proof reading (dad), sharing typographic formatting (Sanna) or giving feedback on the presentation of my ideas in the thesis (Stefan, Björn, Arne and Johan). And a special thank you the tweeters who have responded to my thesis-related tweets, be it questions about nuances in the use of English words or encouraging pads on the virtual back.
… Diana, Pacenti & Tassi for letting me re-print their model in the thesis.
… all my friends who make life as good as it is.
… my parents. Because of you, all this was made possible. You always believe in me and encourage me to find my own path through life, and support me along the path.

Contributor: @segelstrom
Source: Segelström, F (2010) Visualisations in Service Design Licentiate of Philosophy – Linköping University