Doctorate success for Jonathan

Jonathan Levitt completed his thesis with the School of Computing and Information Technology. He has now been awarded a prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which will enable him to move onto the next stage of his studies from this month (July).

Jonathan’s research investigated citation levels in scholarly work, including looking at the characteristics of highly cited articles.

He was supervised by Professor Mike Thelwall, one of the leading academics in the field of cybermetrics. They continue to collaborate and will present their joint research at the ISSI 2009 conference in Brazil this month..

Jonathan, from London, says: “I was actively involved with the Association of Blind and Partially Sighted Teachers for five years and was Chair for two years. Through that association I met a high proportion of the high achieving visually impaired people in the UK, and I only know of six other visually impaired people in the UK who have obtained PhDs. I have been told that only about 5% of visually impaired people in the UK obtain degrees.

“Probably a person with disabilities needs to be more focused to reach their goals, but the change in attitude towards disability over the last decade and greater willingness to help disabled students has made it easier for people with disabilities to excel. I was very fortunate to have had a very helpful supervisor, Professor Mike Thelwall, and a very supportive family. I dedicated my thesis all the people who have directly or indirectly helped me adjust to being visually challenged and, in particular, my mother Gertrude.”

Jonathan added that advances in technology had assisted his work, and the publication of research in an electronic format very much reduced the time it took him to find out about related research. He believes this change seems likely to make it easier for visually impaired people to be actively involved in research.

Mature student Jonathan had already obtained three Masters degrees, in Mathematics from Nottingham University and in Computer Science and Social Research methodology from London University, prior to completing his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton.

Further information

Jonathan will complete his postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Information Science, Loughborough University.

For media inquiries, contact Vickie Woodward in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736 or 07973 335112.


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