Academia future knowledge Little Research passion research research communication

Gaming in Education: Hegemonic Project.

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“Will China overtake the US in the future as a hegemony?” was investigating Varnavas in his master thesis during his Masters in International Political Economy at the King’s College in London. He was so passionate about his research that in 2018 he decided to develop a board game out of it. He called it: Hegemony. As an author of a board game herself, Researchista is a big fun of such projects! Gaming in higher education is a recent trend and is increasingly keeping students in tension. Here is what you can discover about Hegemony. 

Developing a game on politics, is like developing a game on taxes. Hard to put in place and even harder to penetrate the market, as just another board game. It is specific, educational and special. The risk is that it can be life-changing. Ambitious scholars and social entrepreneurs at heart like Varnavas Timotheou, a Cypriot visionary who is not easily intimidated by political quests people have on politics made a  breakthrough on the board game market and in education.

His board game that is about to leave the protoype/demo phase into board game production. Would that be related to the upcoming US elections? To the corona virus effects on economy and politics? It is difficult to say. However, it is a certain fact that people want to learn more about politics.

First time, world’s largest board game fair SPIEL ESSEN2019 dedicates an entire hall to educational games.

It is difficult to not acknowledge the importance of politics and voting and Hegemony provides with answers. It teaches you from academic reliable resources about how political coalitions, clashes and thinking is formed and changes in different scenarios, how YOU as an ordinary citizen can easier and better understand politics… isn’t that a handy a game?!

With <3,




enthusiasm future Policy research Special occassion

(50) Special day.

It is 8th of March. I would like to dedicate this post to Kristalina Georgieva, the former Vice-President of the department that is behind financing of all EU programms that exist in the European Union (even behind Horizon2020!;), that is the: DG Budget


They say that without political will you can not make a change in a country. I would add that without the will of policy makers (to not be confused with politicians), the change will be incomplete. Here is one way for policy makers to support Research among colleagues, see minute 7.15.

EU Budget Focused on Results conference

Happy International Women’s Day to all the female Researchers out there!


With love for Research,






anxiety boring enthusiasm Environment future happiness health knowledge love passion research stereotype struggle

(38) Research on Food: make-your-own-little-Research.

Every Monday, during a month on Researchista’s Blog you will find a new subject in which we invite one or more Researchers to talk about it. They are called “Special Guests” (because they are special and because they are guests). At the end of every subject (4th week of each month), Researchista is inviting anyone willing to explore how that topic affects their daily life. This section is called “Make-your-own-little-Research” and is encouraging everyone to make their Research (it’s called little, because is our own private investigation 😉 ), by giving an example of how to use different Research concepts and methods to investigate that subject. As a results we hope to help changing our own behaviour about a topic in selected area. This is Research on Food (industry) month on Researchista, so our little Research is going to be on this subject.

Say hello to Irina B. aka Researchista and Diana Z. aka Social activist, i-care-about-the-environment-lets-do-it-together friend! This is our little Research. What would yours be like? m?

Little Research: “How to Read Food Labels”.

How to know which ingredients are not good for your health? Research is your best friend. Let’s start by making it clear: we love food. So much. You can not imagine.

Irina B. aka Researchista

At the same time, we wonder what is healthy to eat and what is not? When we go shopping for food, are we actually buying the healthy food? This is our ‘Research question’ (a r.q. is usually stands for the aim/goal/purpose/objective of a scientific study): to what extent the food we buy is healthy? In other words, how to understand what it says on the package of content we buy.

Diana Z. aka Busy Avocado

And here we start our journey, with the help of food blogger to become and corporate activist in this area, Diana and Irina ‘willing-to-learn how to read the labels’. Let’s figure this out.

in Park & Shop, Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

First, determine what package of food you consume often and wish to know if it contains any chemicals or unhealthy products.

in HEMA, Maastricht (Netherlands)

Food labeling is required by law and should be clear, accurate and easy to understand and protect the consumer. It should help the consumers to know what they are buying. It is regulated by different bodies in different countries. Information required to be displayed: ingredients, weight, name of food, storage instructions, use-by-date, clear preparation and cooking instructions, name and address of manufacturer, place of origin, batch number, any genetically modified ingredients, beverages which contain >1.2% alcohol. Nutritional information is only required if there is a nutritional claim made.


Fats and sugars are contents that need extra research. If most of the fat content comes from healthy unsaturated fat, then it is a green light. If the fat is mainly saturated and/or the product has any trans-fat, it is definitely a no. Also watch out for Vegetable Oil.

Source: internet

Vegetable oils are manufactured in a factory, usually from genetically modified crops that have been heavily treated with pesticides. Sugar, another “watch out!”,  has many names, 56 to be precise. If we notice these ingredients, besides sugar and if they come as first or second ingredient, better place this product back on the shelf.


Once we are clear on the nutrition facts, we can continue with the individual ingredients research. Unfortunately, majority of manufacturers use various sickening ingredients that we cannot even pronounce their names. I have a general rule regarding this, if I cannot read and understand it, I don’t buy it. Watch out for the sickening ingredients: growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, artificial sweeteners, BPA, artificial flavors and sweeteners, dyes and conditioners, carrageenan and others.


In conclusion, Researching food products’ labels can be an overwhelming task and maybe sometimes we can end up thinking there is nothing safe left to eat, but eventually the label understanding skills become habits and the process of identifying the good food is becoming as easy as ABC.

Source: Pinterest, Mariasea


Happy Shopping!

Literature review with the courtesy of Busy Avocado and

With love for Research,


Note from Diana:

“As people are becoming more health conscious, the demands for ethical food is on the rise. By ethical we mean not only sustainable, but also ethically grown, processed, packaged and marketed. Unfortunately, we witness that many large corporations are taking ethics for granted and only care about their profit, thus maximizing production, while neglecting the nutritional value of food. Many products already enter the food chain filled with chemicals and substances that can damage our health. Later on they are processed with additives, dyes, preservatives and thickeners, and eventually packaged in materials that are also hazardous for health. But the worst part is that companies spend thousands to promote these products, create beautiful packages, advertisements and incentives. Moreover, many of them go to the extreme to portray these products as healthy and suitable for children. Stopping these companies from producing and marketing products that contain harmful ingredients is not easy. In many countries corporations have a lot of power in the food industry. But there is another way to combat them. Learn to read and understand labels and avoid products that are clearly damaging your health.

Business Environment Food future health knowledge research Special Guest

(36) Research on food (industry): the future.

 Welcome on Research on food industry month on Researchista! Our Special Guest Michelle Jongen (former student of HAS University in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, study Environmental Science) discovered ‘vertical farming’ and wondered how she could implement a vertical farming system in combination with a knowledge center. She wants to create awareness, and activate and inspire people about the environment with her initiative at Botanica Innovare and the story goes like this…

….”The only source of knowledge is experience” – Albert Einstein. A beautiful phrase with which I would like to start this article. Indeed, it is the experience which brings about development and innovation. Today, I will discuss the developments and innovations in the field of future food.

Botanic-Center-Bloom-by-Vincent-Callebaut-9 (1).jpg

First, we look at the responsible cultivation of vegetables. It has been known for a long time that change is necessary. Before change is possible, we need an inspirer. Concerning crops, the designated person is Dickson Despommier. He is a pioneer in the field of urban farming. He is the one who tells people about his vision where crops are grown vertically in apartment buildings. This view is also known as vertical farming. It is a technique that is developed at this moment both with and without the LED lights. This system is used and examined all over the world.

Some advantages of the vertical farming system are:

  • No crop failure due to weather conditions or pests and diseases;
  • Year-round picks which achieves 30% more yield;
  • Sustainable use of space through the use of vacant buildings;
  • Constant quality of the crops;
  • Food miles are reduced.


What you see is that countries where the demand for healthy and safe food is high already apply this technique. A good example is Japan. After the nuclear disaster and tsunami, growing food is a tremendous problem. A new cultivation method had to be developed to ensure the health of the population. Nowadays, the consumers of Japan are supporting both vertical and urban farming as this is a secure way to grow crops.

Another development is closer to us than we think. Especially for the people who live in Maastricht. Maybe you already know what I’m talking about. After watching the development of crops, it is now time to look at the future of meat. Meat is increasingly discredited because of the large amount of carbon dioxide and methane which is emitted into the environment. It is our own Professor Mark Post of the University of Maastricht who researches cultured meat.


Last week, he organized the second International Conference on Cultured Meat from 9 to 11 October. During these days, the acceptance among consumers was important. Several speakers gave their views on the acceptance of cultured meat. In conclusion, we can say that questions are not asked in the right matter and the information on the Internet is often one-sided. We shouldn’t view this alternative as cultured meat but as clean meat. This will give a more positive name to cultured meat.

If we take a step further, we examine situations such as the ones in the film The Martian. In the film, Matt Damon is launching his own urban farming on Mars because he has been left behind. In his alternative greenhouse, he mainly grows potatoes. This made a big fuss because how realistic is this scenario? It is a question that lead to many different opinions.


As you can see, many innovative developments arise in the food industry. For example, the future crop cultivated at large fields are moving to closed rooms and cows will eventually be replaced by cultured meat. Both techniques have a major positive impact on people and the environment. People receive food that is produced in a responsible way which greatly reduces carbon dioxide and methane emissions. Consumers need to search for the correct information about these themes. Of course, that is not an easy task because of the influence of the media and companies.


That is why Botanica Innovare is offering education and creating awareness on the themes of sustainability, environment and health. Need more information or a workshop, please contact us.

Post written by Michelle Jongen, founder at Botanica Innovare.


With love for Research,


Business Environment Food future health research Researcher Researchista

(35) The transition of a civilisation.

…Food… the substance to keep us alive, the reason for one of the most amazing things we can devour and enjoy, the reason to meet with friends, the thing that we sometimes abuse having in our bellies or forget to consume on time for a healthier living. So many topics relates to it: food waste, food management, food production, toxic food vs. healthy food, food eating, food and public health (is what children at school eat healthy enough?), poverty and food, wealth and food, labour costs and rights when working in this industry, auditing and inspection of food (so many… exquisite food, shrimp production and labour costs of people producing food, McDonalds). Let’s just call it in one word: “Food industry”. 

During her bachelor Environmental Science, Michelle discovered ‘vertical farming’. She wondered how she could implement a vertical farming system in combination with a knowledge center. Subsequently, she wants to create awareness, and activate and inspire people about the environment. Eventually, after six months of doing research, she was convinced to launch Botanica Innovare.

The transition of a civilisation. Research on food (industry), an introduction.

“Life is good! You can move easily from A to B, buy the most exotic products in the supermarket and you always have access to clean water and electricity. What do we want more? Well, it would be nice if we can continue this life and pass it on to future generations. That is possible, however, this way of life begins to take its toll on the earth. In fact, we are plundering our beloved planet. This is something that each of us is responsible of. It is not completely strange because it is the way we are shaped by society. It is mainly about consumption rather than the familiar consuming less. We know this damn well as a consumer and yet we still go for the bargains. Is it denial, a habit or laziness?

The end is nowhere near and it is time for a transition! A transition in which we turn from an unconscious unhealthy society to an unconscious healthy society. A society in which we take responsibility for our actions. A society where we can be proud of and which makes it possible to pass our earth to future generations. You might be wondering where you should start. That is up to you because you are the one who has the potential to initiate changes with small actions. For example, stop buying plastic bags, look at the origin of your food or take your bike for a spin instead of your car. Furthermore, sustainable development needs to be encouraged. Fortunately, people understand the necessity of change. Last year, in September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. If these Goals are completed, it would mean an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030. Our governments have a plan to save our planet…it’s our job to make sure they stick to it.


That brings us to the second Global Goal: Zero Hunger. This Goal states that we must end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. The beauty is that we can make this happen! Companies and research institutes are considering this issue for years. New cultivation techniques are becoming increasingly realistic. All over the world, different vertical farming systems are designed and tested. Also the hydroculture (growth on water) and hydroponic systems are increasing. If we look at the alternatives to meat, we see the frequent use of insect and the development of cultured meat.

Source: here

For the time being, we in the Netherlands can (only) make use of vegetables that have been grown on water. Further investment and development is necessary for other food production systems. And that while the vertical system is already used in other parts of the world. Think of Japan where they can’t grow safe food in the open ground after the nuclear disaster. Here, the need for alternative systems is much larger. Therefore, these sustainable developments should be more encouraged in Europe. Luckily, this is already happening.

human activity by night and the influence we have on the environment

It is as Socrates once said: “it is often better to ask good questions than to give good answers. With questions, you move others to examine their own experiences and ideas. That triggers learning processes that may be more effective than knowledge.” Dare to ask questions about new food production systems and inform yourself. Dare to be open minded because this is our future. These movements should not be seen as an adversary but it should lead to solidarity. Next week, I am going to talk about LED farming, cultured meat and more. I hope this article inspired you and made you realize that you are the one that can change our civilization.


A transition is a structural change that is the result of interacting and mutually reinforcing developments in areas such as economy, culture, technology, institutions and nature and the environment.

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present generation without jeopardizing the future generations.

By Michelle Jongen, founder at Botanica Innovare.


With love for Research,



boring enthusiasm Fashion future health knowledge research

(28) Fashion&Research, part4: your own little Research.

Isn’t it the case that we can all make a change in a our own little ways? Isn’t it the case that we still have the power over our lives and despite many saying “but what can I do” “things work the way they work” or “this is how things work, what do you want?”… “business is business” .. “someone’s got to suffer”, we can in our little own ways make a change, every single day as we rise?

So, fashion, clothes, is a topic that touches us all. Exactly, touching, because if there is nobody to give you a hug, your clothes are there for you every single day. It touches upon most of us, unless you go around naked all the time of course, which is also not an exception, but I guess, clothing and fashion is something that reaches us all to a large extent.

This week, I want to invite you to leave everything we know and learned about how our clothes are made aside (not many wanted to answer to the questions in my poll anyway! :):), so unfortunately, not many things we learned about our each others behaviours) and be a little Researcher for few days! 


Don’t be afraid, it is not going to bite and most importantly… nobody will know about it!;)

Ok, so what do you need? First, free some space on your hard-drive, ah, just kidding, find some space in your head to think about some things while cleaning your place or walking on the street and think… what is your own clothing-buying clothes-being fashionable behaviour?

Research has many methods, but the first step is to find what is it you need to find out. Is it why you buy too many clothes that you don’t wear? or is it why you do not have style you wish to wear in reality? or is it that you care about the environment and you are not satisfied with how things work in our day in fashion industry?

This is WikiHow, your first-aid tool in how to carry out your little research fashion experiment:

It has pictures of very serious and adult people on it, because Research is a serious business, but maybe my relaxed example below will encourage you to go for it!!


*Researchista’s little fashionista research experiment*

The goal of my little Research is to find out: where else can I buy clothes that are eco-friendly, friendly to the environment and respecting fair wages and rights of people? So, now that I know what I need to find out, I started exploring what options I see around me…

Ok, I can also stop buying clothes, but you know how difficult that could be in long-term. Is not that I am growing taller or changing sizes so quickly to need new clothes, but you know how much a colourful new blouse can do to someone in a dark grey day. By no means I want to promote shopping therapy, but sometimes it just really works 🙂 and one more thing. I am sorry, Mark Zuckerberg, I will never survive with similar grey or white t-shirts everyday. I am a woman and I need my colours and diversity in choices.


The alternatives found from my little Research: 

1) Vintage /or second-hand/

So, here I was, in Bordeaux talking to my friends about Researchista going fashionista. To be clear from the start: we love fashion. We like fancy clothes from the stores, but we also wonder if wearing second-hand clothes or vintage can be a feasible option?

None of us has ever worn anything from a vintage shop, so one time in Maastricht… we got ourselves these unbelievable cheap and nostalgic for 60’s clothes that we proudly wore on the streets of Bordeaux and Arcachon, France. (Ah, I love European Union, with its cheap flights, you can go anywhere you are lucky to go for a very very small price sometimes!)


We imagined about how women in those times were wearing these clothes, what they were dreaming about and how was it like to live in those times. An (bottom corner, the right lady) was going wild in the shop knowing that her dress is from 1950’s and was having a certain history. AnSo, was loving her synthetic brightly colorful dress (I still think cotton is the way to go), which fits her so well.


We went on exploring what vintage store Bordeaux has to offer to find to our big surprise, that Bordeaux is a lot about little cute vintage salons. You can see how modern vintage clothes can be and how nicely these can be combined with our every day life!

It proved to be not only a buying clothes alternative, but a great and fun experience with a flavour from various pasts. Thank you, Lionettes!

2) Tailors

But what if I need a working suit or a piece of cloth that I can not find in a vintage store? Or what if I do not like second-hand clothes? Then the tailors is second best solution, according to my Research findings. I could not think about Silvia, who is sewing on this amazing Greek island kids clothes, while having 4 children her own 😀 A lot of inspiration, hey! 🙂


Tailors can be found in any city you live and will be there to serve your taste. The only warning that you might consider is that it can take a lot of time.

3) Local brands

The alternative  I came up with is to buy from local producers. These are a sort of tailors, but at a larger scale. Their shops can be extremely cozy and welcoming. You can find there some original pieces of clothes that are produced maybe only 1 time. I love this brand for example, although it is not local to Maastricht where I live, I hope to find its counterpart in NL one day.

Sweet Paprika 

4) Vegan fashion (coming up)…


This was my little Research. What do you need to find out? What did you discover? Let me know below, I am really curious.

Most of all, a little Research can help you find your taste in fashion and your best options

Good luck!

And a little French tune from our trip to Bordeaux here for you


With love for Research,


Academia enthusiasm Environment Fashion future health knowledge research Researcher Special Guest stereotype

(27) Fashion&Research, part 3: wake up your motivation for change!

You can listen to the post here: 

“So, ok, I buy a new piece of cloth (a t-shirt, trousers or a dress) from H&M or Zara for example, because it looks good and has a nice price, BUT I know that if the price is low, it probably comes from less developed countries. The label confirms where my cloth is coming from (“Made in Bangladesh”, “Made in Romania” or the famous “Made in China”). I already know from social media how hard people work there and how bad they could be treated in such environments. Not all of them, but many of them are very badly paid and work in poor conditions, some people even die while making clothes. I also know that big companies have a lot of money to lobby for very small prices to sell more clothes around the world. Moreover, I maybe know that making a new pair of jeans for example requires a lot of water and to be done at a cheap price, the wasted water goes into rivers and pollutes a lot the environment. Oh, wait! Some clothes are not even good for our skin… But… what am I supposed to do? I feel bad for those people working for 1$ a day to feed a 5 children family somewhere in Asia, but I also get my clothes for a good price… I need to go to work looking decent and good, I want to impress my boyfriend or girlfriend. What am I supposed to do to not harm anyone, myself and the planet? Where am I supposed to buy my clothes?” I hope you had this chain-of-thoughts at least once.





I find that this picture captures very well the intention of a model when posing to advertise clothes or accessories (and by no means I want to insult any fashionista with this bad quality photo!:))).

This is the month of Research in Fashion on Researchista and this topic has been chosen both, because Researchista is inspired from the word fashionista and most importantly, I was impressed by the master thesis of Hasmik Matevosyan (Utrecht Art University, HKU), based on which she had recently published a book on this topic. So, I decided to spread a piece of Research knowledge to inspire you to do something with your master or PhD theses and to actually discuss about your own ‘buying clothes behaviour’ and what is happening in the fashion industry that so many people get hurt and underpaid.

By the way, another fantastic example of a thesis (not even master level, but bachelor!) is by Maikel Bereens (Maastricht University) the idea of which grew later in a company called Xilloc, that made the world’s first 3D printed titanium skull implant:”What started as a thesis project, emerged to the largest 3D printing company in The Netherlands. Xilloc prints implants, satellite parts and soon bone like material“(in de Volkskrant).

12246683_827345350697290_5641871685880267806_n      first_titanium_small-300x147.png

(Right) Maikel Beerens,

(Left) Book “Paradigm in Fashion”, author Hasmik Matevosyan.

No worries, if you have not written a thesis, enjoy this reading or simply support those who want to make a difference!

I am exploring what are the current challenges in clothing industry and what alternatives are identified in Research. Of course, there are many Researchers out there who examine this topic, but I only have access to one, so please keep that in mind…(always look for more opinions). Welcome Researchista’s Special Guest of the month: Ms. Hasmik Matevosyan. Here she is:

What is Hasmik is trying to do is to help fashion brands to get to know their target audience to offer them clothes that will be needed and desired. I also help fashion brands produce in an ethical and environmentally way by connected people with each other (ethical factories with brands for example). Last but not least, I help fashion brands make more profit by changing their business model: from the discounts and overproduction model to a model that makes it possible to buy new clothes for the full price, lend high quality clothes for a small sum and to buy the well designed and manufactured clothes with discount when it is offered second hand by the brand.

And if you think, new alternatives are not advantageous for fast fashion brands, our Guest is proving us wrong: This new business model makes it possible to make much more profit which enables brands to invest financial resources into paying fair wages, choosing for clean production processes and choosing for quality production.

I hope this information was useful to you as a consumer or at least gave you hope that at least someone has the same concerns for other people and the environment as much as you do. The model Hasmik suggests is for companies doing fashion, but what you can do for the time being is reflect on your own fashion behaviour, I invite you to join my initiative by filling in this questionnaire. Next week, I will share with you what came out as a result of my reflections on my behaviour towards clothes.

With love for Research,




P.S. Subscribe your email on my front page to receive weekly emails with a new post every Monday!

*Sneak preview for next Monday*

So, here I was, in Bordeaux talking to my friends about Researchista going fashionista. To be clear from the start: we love fashion.


to be continued here




anxiety Business Environment Fashion future health knowledge research Researcher Researchista Special Guest

(25) Fashion & Research, part 2: the Industry.


“Some day, when I’m awfully low and the world is cold. I will feel a glow, just thinking of you, and the way you look tonight….”, Frank Sinatra.

Going that extra mile for that beautiful dress, that good quality shirt or those cool pair of jeans is not unfamiliar to probably most of us. “Dress to impress”… This is the Research in Fashion month on Researchista and I want to invite you to a journey of self-discovery and reflection on how we ended up feeding a badly functioning mechanism of clothing machine and how can we change this machinery with our very own hands. Let us have an honest talk about how in our very particular, at first sight, impossible way can change the way some things work fashion industry. Our mentor in this area Hasmik Matevosyan, will think along from an documented point of view and present her arguments. She has done a lot of Research on this topic. 

Ok, I have to confess… First time when I went together with my sister to “Primark”, we went wild. We were in Dublin, it was summer, I was in my second year of PhD and things were going brightly. We bought all sorts of summer clothes, especially we were getting ready to go to The Galway Race.

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Little we knew what was Primark back then, we are from Moldova, our big clothing chains are underdeveloped (now I think is maybe for the best). We do not have Primark, H&M or Mango, unless you go to Bucharest or Odessa. We buy locally produced clothes or those imported clothes from Turkey or outlets of big stores.


The times passed by and I watched randomly all sort of movies about fashion industry on internet, but it never really made me aware of my own behaviour towards clothes. I really pity the people that died in Bangladesh and that work so very hard to make these clothes for cheaper price, tagged “Made in Bangladesh”, “Made in Romania”, “Made in China”, but the reality is that…

Photo: A.M. Ahad.

… although much less, I still go to these chain shops… Last time I went to Primark was last year, when I redecorated my place and was looking for a blanket for my colour in a special colour and it was really a coincidence that I ended up Primark in Liege, recalling my Dublin experience. This time, I was an informed customer… and I still bought it. I still made that purchase because it was exactly what I was looking for, at a price that was incomparable on the market (very cheap).

low price – new things = high temptation to buy

So, what to do? I don’t want to ruin people’s life and the planet by buying a new dress that I love.

What is the alternative? In which shops is safe to buy and which ones do not respect human rights at work? Is it all clothing bad to buy? What to do…

I know I am not in this alone.

So, I wonder what does Hasmik thinks about it. She knows a lot about fashion industry, she wrote her master’s thesis about it. She must know what can we do as customers to fight for fair treatment of all people at work and to avoid pollution.

Hasmik Matevosyan, fashion industry expert

Hasmik: The fashion industry today is the second biggest environmentally polluting industry in the world. Millions of production workers are forced to work in inhumane conditions and barely make enough money for a living. Clothes in the shops are of a lower quality then they used to be, but also much cheaper. Clothes get worn off faster, the prices are getting lower and new items keep arriving to the shops in a rapid speed. The consumption speed goes up with it, just as the amount of clothes thrown away every year. On the positive side many fashion designers and brands are researching and applying sustainability and innovation in their practices. There are even several initiatives applying business models where clothes can be leased or borrowed and some fashion brands co-design with their customers.

“During the first year of my fashion education I found out about the downside of the fashion industry and decided that I did not want to contribute to so much negativity, but rather would start searching for a solution. I set as a goal that I want to achieve a fashion industry where clothes are designed to meet your desires and needs and give you a sense of confidence and comfort, where the production of clothes improves lives, where clothes are affordable to everyone and where fashion brands make profit that helps them grow and improve lives and the environment through the work that they do”. 

Here, Hasmik is sharing her solution at TEDxMaastricht, but since many of us were not there, next week we will discuss this idea in details. It is one of the concrete, practical, mediatized solutions I heard as an alternative to how things work today.


Unfortunately, just like in other areas, when it comes to buying clothes we let ourselves trapped in compulsory consumption....

There is plenty of time till next Monday, when Hasmik will share her ideas…plenty to reflect on your consumption behaviour. Do you wear all clothes you buy? Have you already by the way, sorted your wardrobe out of things you don’t wear anymore? This is a self-discovery and self-reflection trip, enjoy!

With love for Research,




future knowledge research research design Researcher struggle writing

(11) Writing and Research Design

The question is what is the question.

Should I conduct semi-structured interviews? Do we need an experiment? Would a mixed-methods approach be more appropriate than a (mainly) qualitative or quantitative approach? How to analyze the data once obtained? These and other questions come to mind when thinking about a new study, and the answer to each of these questions boils down to the purpose or core question of the study.


Whether it comes to interviews, experiments, mixed-methods approaches, or other issues, there is no point of doing something if there is no question that calls for it. Doing interviews for the sake of doing interviews – or because we have been doing so for years – is unlikely to serve your purpose if your main question calls for an experiment. Likewise, experiments can provide a means for questions concerning causal relations between particular variables of interest and may have little added value if there is no such question to begin with.

Some may argue that in for instance a social science context, a mixed-methods approach is always better than a (mainly) qualitative or quantitative approach. However, mixed-methods research only makes sense when an integration of quantitative and qualitative findings responds to a research question or set of research questions in such a way that it tells more than two separated (one quantitative, one qualitative) studies, or: 1 + 1 = 3.

Whichever method, design or combinations thereof you are considering, there is a metaphorical bridge between question (purpose), data collection, and analysis; it is good to keep that bridge in mind throughout the entire journey from core question to reporting the study in an article.

by Jimmie Leppink

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PhD I. asks: “I don’t know what to do after my PhD which ends 1 year from now. I would like to stay in academia pr research institutes that do high quality research, but there are no so many offers out there. Please advice”

Jimmie answers:  “This is a question I receive quite frequently, as it is a question that many PhD candidates at this stage deal with (it was certainly a question on my mind back then). Given that a change you may have in mind will probably take some time (application, paperwork, move, etc.), it is good that you are having this question now, about one year before the finish of your PhD project. If you know you would like to continue doing research at an academic institute, the next question is what institutes attract you and why. Three things to consider in this why question: (1) Topics; (2) Culture; (3) Geography.

(1) Topics. In many cases, specific institutes come to mind because they are working on topics that are of interest to the PhD candidate. Read more about the topics of research that the institutes you wish to consider are known for. What defines each of these institutes topic-wise and how does that align with your own interests and, to some extent, with your current activities?

(2) Culture. I have learned that writing style (articles) and presentation style (conferences) can tell quite a bit about the culture and mindset of people from a particular institute. Moreover, formal collaboration with other institutes as in joint authorship on articles and presentations can serve as an indicator of the extent to which an institute under consideration is open to collaboration and idea exchange with other places.

(3) Geography. If you have a partner and/or (young) kids, you or your loved one(s) may be less willing to move. It is then very important to discuss this factor in an early stage and see what the outcome of that discussion means for your options. Even if you are currently not in a relationship and have no kids, it is recommendable to reflect on this factor early on. If an institute that interests you is in a different country, are you willing to make the move, and if so, what investments – emotional, financial, other – are you willing to make for that move to happen?

Once you have reflected on these factors, it is important to start making connections with one or two of the institutes you still have in mind. Is there some project or perhaps article you can work on with some people from that institute? Is there a conference where you may meet some of the (key) people from that institute? Do your supervisors have connections with that institute? Especially if continuing in your current institute – for instance due to funding issues – is not an option, your supervisors may actually be willing to help you connect with people in the institute you have in mind.

There is a lot more to say about this question, but the issues I have addressed here can be of help in your stage – one year before the end of the PhD – as well as in subsequent stages of your career.”