Research Management

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Research Management Powered By Docstoc
					  Research Management
    for PhD students

Thanks also to Louise Kelly & Jools Simner…

Today’s session

• Overview of the PhD cycle
  – How to get a PhD, and how not to get one!
  – Important milestones and the PhD “hourglass”

• Working effectively with your supervisor

• Research management
  – Dealing with difficulties and obstacles


• ERI learning lunches
  – ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme, 9th Oct
  – Nuffield Foundation, 16th Oct
  –, or email

• Publishing using LaTeX
  – 22nd & 23rd Nov
  – Transkills Science & Engineering
  – See

Some home truths

• You didn‟t get here by mistake

• You don‟t have to be a genius!
  – PG study = reasonable intelligence + tenacity + interest

What is a PhD?

• A bit like cabinet-making…
   – Apprenticeship, learning skills needed to be a researcher
   – Demonstrating those skills

• Your first piece of work, not your best
   – Running an imperfect expt is better than no expt at all
   – Writing something bad is better than writing nothing

Your thesis

• May not contain everything you have done

• May contain things that did not work as intended

• May represent the journey that you have taken

Does the thesis…

• Make a significant, original contribution?

• Contain material worthy of publication?

• Show adequate knowledge of the field?

• Represent a unified body of work
   – which could reasonably be achieved on the basis of 3 years of
     postgraduate study

• Show satisfactory literary presentation?

• Give full and adequate references and have a coherent

PhD cycle and milestones
Year 1              Year 2                 Year 3
• Lit review?       • Study visit?         • Writing up
• PG conference/s   • Start writing up     • Writing papers?
• Year 1 report     • PG conference/s      • PG conference/s
• Progression       • Other conferences?   • International
  meeting                                    conference
                    • Year 2 report
                    • Progression          • Submit end year 3
                      meeting              • Viva voce
                                           • Graduation!

The PhD hourglass

         • Your time
            – multi-tasking  focusing  multi-tasking

         • Your thesis
            – general  specific  general

         • Your enthusiasm!
            – lots  not quite so much  lots!

         (keep an eye on the sands of time…!)

How NOT to get a PhD


• Underestimating the nature of a PhD

• Overestimating the nature of a PhD

• Having a supervisor who doesn‟t understand what is required

• Losing contact with your supervisor/peers

• Not having a „thesis‟

• Taking on a big NEW „job‟ before you finish.

Common Problems

• Poor planning and management of project
• Methodological difficulties in the research
• Writing up
• Isolation
• Personal problems outside research
• Inadequate or negligent supervision

   All of these have solutions!

Managing relationships

Competing demands

• Supervisors are generally benevolent

• But have their failings:
   – Competing demands for attention
      • Teaching, research, admin as well as research supervision
   – Disorganised/forgetful
   – Personality/interaction style

• You and your supervisor need to have reasonable
  expectations of each other

Spotlight of supervisory attention
Or, how many yolks in your fried egg?

              Student               Supervisor

Establishing your relationship

• Regular meetings versus “on demand” meetings
• How do you want to be managed?
   – Beating with a stick versus gentle encouragement
   – Strict deadlines versus free rein

• How does your supervisor want to be managed?
   – Reminders helpful versus irritating

• Written reports versus verbal reports
   – Send material before versus after meetings

• Implicit versus explicit discussion of needs
   – Telepathy versus bulletted list

Getting the most out of meetings

• Before the meeting
   – Set your objectives and agenda
   – What to discuss? What do you need to prepare?

• At the meeting
   – Take notes
   – Formulate an action plan (and schedule next meeting?)

• After the meeting
   – Circulate a summary of the discussion
   – Add to a research diary once agreed?


Try to foster good relations
   – The person you clash with today may be reviewing your
     paper/grant application tomorrow
   – Appreciate the support staff for their efforts

“your success in graduate school and beyond
  depends a great deal upon your ability to build and
  maintain interpersonal relationships, with your
  adviser, the research staff, the support staff and
  your fellow students.”

Tensions with supervisors

• It happens – how serious is it?
• Irritating but not detrimental?
   – Take the time to explain how you feel
   – Let off steam to your peers? (but remember the politics!)

• Protocols for switching supervisor if serious
   – Code of Practice for Supervisors & Students
   – Sergio Della Sala (s1), Fernanda Ferreira (s2)
   – Ronnie Cann/Chris Clarke (??)

Managing your workload
    … and what to do if it goes a bit pear-shaped


• How to be an Effective Researcher (Nov 8th & 9th)
  – PhD project planning, effective working practices, maximising
    your impact
  – Managing your supervisor, working with others, negotiating,
    getting feedback
  – Planning for the future

• Time Management
  – Oct 31st, Nov 24th, Feb 27th, May 16th
  – Refresher Session - June 25th

Key activities
Research                   Other yolks in your egg
• Reading                  • Academic development
• Preparing experiments       – Seminars, tutoring

   – Preparing stimuli     • Skills training
   – Norming/pre-testing      – e.g., tutoring workshops
   – Writing scripts       • Admin and organisation
• Collecting data             – e.g., running PG conference

• Analysing data           • Networking
                              – Conferences and workshops
• Writing
                              – Other organisations

Time management tips
• Establish your priorities
                                                  Important   Important
   – Each evening write a plan for
                                                   but not      AND

     the next day?
                                                   Urgent      Urgent
• Know thyself
   – A 9-5 job or something else?
                                                   neither    Urgent
   – Work around peaks & troughs                  Important   but not
     of productivity                              nor Urgent Important

• Regularly review targets
   – SMART goals                                       Urgency
   – Milestones

SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Agreed-upon, Time-framed, and…

R is for realistic!

• Give yourself interim targets and deadlines
   – Next action: Could be a tiny little task!

• Everything takes longer than you think it will
   – E.g., waiting for ethical approval (~2 weeks)

• Build “slack time” into your planning

• People are fallible and may need reminders!

Getting organised (1)

• Keep a note of everything you do and read
  – Useful for writing your Progress Reports
  – Up-to-date annotated bibliography (e.g., Endnote)

• Keep a research diary and an “ideas file”
  – Key design decisions
  – Ideas and action points from supervisory meetings
  – Start a blog? (e.g., at

Getting organised (2)

• Create sensible admin systems (e.g., file names)

• Keep notes about your spreadsheets/data files
  – E.g., coding, or how you‟ve labelled your columns
  – This could all go in your research diary

• Write up method sections and results summaries
  – Working papers can help you clarify your ideas

What if it’s not going well?

• Talk about it!
   – Supervisors, other members of group, friends and peers
   – The Advice Place:

• Student counselling service
   – Procrastination workshops (Oct 17th, Nov 21st)
   – Stress and Relaxation workshops

Useful books

How to get a PhD: A handbook for
students and their supervisors
 Estelle Phillips & Derek Pugh (2005)

The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research
 Gordon Rugg & Marian Petre (2004)

Some seminars…
   – Psycholinguistics coffee
   – Departmental seminars (if relevant or interesting)
   – Postgraduate seminars

• Language at Edinburgh lunches

• Linguistic Circle

… and some more

• ICCS seminars

• Interdisciplinary Tea

• PPIG reading group


• PsyPAG

• Postgraduates Who Teach (PGwT)

• ESRC National Centre for Research Methods

• Scottish Psycholinguistics


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