Pen y Fan trip with PhD / PGR students, June 1st 2021

PhD: Simone Hatchard

Simone Hachard, PhD

Simone Hatchard is undertaking her PhD in the Centre for Criminology. Simone is also a research student representative for the Faculty of Life Sciences and Education.

"A PhD is a journey of highs and lows. Every time I finish writing a chapter is a high point for me. It's a visible reminder that I'm getting closer to my goal and shows me that even though I've had mornings where I simply couldn't write, I get there in the end!

"The other big highlights are getting out into the field to undertake research and being given the opportunity to teach at USW. I really enjoy both.

"One of the main challenges - for me, at least - is all the transcribing. My field research is, thankfully, providing me with a rich and plentiful amount of data. However, all the field notes and recorded interviews have to be transcribed which is very time consuming. I’ve picked up some useful tips from former students which are helping.

"You also have to be super organised. I've always had roles within the criminal justice sector that required me to juggle competing priorities and urgent matters. I’ve transferred this skill to my PhD, teaching and raising a son and two dogs, single handedly. I like to be busy, but I also have great support from my family and the University, and this makes such a difference.

"Being connected with other PGR students is important. I’ve made great friends with the other PhD students in Criminology, and my role as a postgraduate research student rep has enabled me to interact with a wider range of PGR students, and support those who may be struggling.

"Every PhD student needs their coping mechanisms. I find that most challenges become far less daunting after wine, chocolate, 80s action films and a long walk with the dog!"

Simone Hatchard, PhD student

"Before beginning my PhD, which is part funded by South Wales Police, I spent 18 years working within the criminal justice system, so I’m very  happy to be undertaking research in an area I feel passionate about, and with supervisors who are respected researchers in this field.

"At present, there is also no research which follows the journey of digital data from crime scene through to court, and this is what I plan to address with my PhD. I hope to increase understanding of the field, thereby improving processes and practises for practitioners, victims and suspects.

"My research is ethnographic which means I observe and interview participants in their real-life environment. At the moment, I’m observing and interviewing digital forensics practitioners and major crime detectives, attending court to observe cases progress through this stage, and observing major crime scenes to observe how digital data is handled from the outset of an investigation. It’s exciting, especially as the start of my research was delayed by the pandemic."