The PhD Launchpad is a one day programme designed to help you hit the ground running on your PhD. We run it at the University of Dundee, and also run similar workshops at the Universities of Newcastle and Edinburgh. These pages contain the links we commonly highlight during these sessions.
The day starts with a discussion about the challenges of research in general and individual terms. Although there are some topic- or researcher- specific challenges, we also hear a lot of the same concerns at every course. The “10-things-you-will-think-during-your-phd” blog post by Emma Monaghan on the jobs.ac.uk site sums up a lot of what the little voice in your head might say to you during your PhD. We also look at the wonderful visual explaination of a PhD produced by Matt Might. As Matt says, Keep Pushing!
We’re great fans of social media, used carefully, as a source of information and camaraderie for researchers. A quick way to tap into the power of social media is to read the tailored guide:
and to start on twitter by looking at the #PhDChat stream.
One example of the power of #phd chat was the message from Matthew Hanchard (@MatthewHanchard) who shared the online tutorials to learn about a range of information management and writing tools on the very day of a PhD Launchpad in 2012. His links were for
We stress that information management is a critical skill to develop early as a researcher. Use the experts in your institution effectively – most libraries will run sessions on particular skills, tools and approaches relevant to researchers and will be happy to talk to you about your individual requirements. (This page from Edinburgh University gives you a taste of what might be available in your institution.) We also get asked regularly about speed reading and this online guide looks to be full of common sense – http://m.wikihow.com/Learn-Speed-Reading
The Vitae website has a broad range of resources designed to support all the people involved in researcher development. Since March 2014 you need to register to access these, but it is free.
The guides and publications that we frequently distribute include:
Career wise researcher
Apologies for removing the direct links – although re-direction was promised when the Vitae website was relaunched, this doesn’t appear to have happened. However, the fact you are reading this suggests you are a professional researcher, so our instinct is that you’ll be able to find them …
The first step to developing an effective and professional relationship with your supervisors is to understand their and your roles and responsibilities. Your university’s Code of Practice is the best resource, but you may also find it useful to consider the areas looked at by the Griffith University quesionnaire which is designed to stimulate discussion about roles & expectations of you and your supervisor. We talk about developing the questions you should ask to get the supervision you need.
The PORT (postgraduate online research training) website offers web-based research training materials aimed at language researchers, but more widely relevant, particularly to arts and humanities researchers.
We find many resources for researchers through our activity on Twitter. One of the best of these is Professor Pat Thomson’s website which focuses on academic writing in all its forms : writing journals, papers & your thesis – http://patthomson.wordpress.com
To ensure integrity is designed into your research, look at the UK Research Integrity Office checklist :http://www.ukrio.org/publications/checklist-for-researchers/