Welcome to the University of Birmingham!

Recently, Melina Delmas, PGR in Modern Languages, was giving advice to a friend of hers who is starting her PhD this September. Melina shares her helpful tips with all of us as a welcome to our new PGRs.

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Are you a new postgraduate researcher at the University of Birmingham? Do you feel a bit daunted at the thought of starting this new adventure? If so, fear not. Lucky for you the University of Birmingham has lots of resources to help you. Here are a few tips to start you off on the right foot! Continue reading “Welcome to the University of Birmingham!”

Next week is Peer Review Week 2018

PrintPeer review is an essential part of maintaining quality in scholarly publishing.  It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the best we’ve got at the moment, and therefore various organisations including publishers, ORCID, Publons, and Sense about Science are getting together to celebrate all things peer review in Peer Review Week 2018.  This year’s theme is diversity in peer review. Continue reading “Next week is Peer Review Week 2018”

Rewards from Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

In this post, Walaipun Puengpipattrakul, a PGR in CAL, shares some of her academic and personal development experiences during her PhD study, both part-time/distant learning and full-time on-campus.

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Faculty of Arts Buildings, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok.  Photo credit: Peerawat.b

Change is inevitable in life and often perceived unfavourably, since it frequently takes our lives out of our comfort zones.  I used to perceive change as previously mentioned. However, I started to alter my perception of change to be rewarding, particularly when it takes me out of my comfort zone, after a decision to pursue my PhD study here, at the University of Birmingham.  I have had a good opportunity of being back to the University campus again after my first Master’s degree from here, but this time, as both an alumnus and a PhD candidate.

I must admit that studying a PhD together with working as a full-time lecturer is a decision which took me out of my comfort zone indeed. Continue reading “Rewards from Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone”

Give yourself a break

August.  Somewhat surprisingly, the last few weeks have been hot, like summer is “supposed” to be.  Campus is quiet, eerily so, at times.  Lots of colleagues are taking annual leave, and there aren’t as many e-mails flying round as usual.  The days are long.

For some, this is a time of fewer distractions, and an opportunity to focus on their research.  For others, motivation is low as the hot weather induces lethargy and the beaches/mountains/meadows seem so enticing.  For others still, deadlines loom large and all these external things are irrelevant.  How can you ensure that you make the summer work for you? Continue reading “Give yourself a break”

Planning your assault on publication

Yesterday afternoon, I found myself advocating a publication strategy to a friend and PGR.  The conversation quickly moved away, but I now find myself thinking about the process of putting together a publication strategy, and how PGRs who have yet to publish can find the answers to many of the questions that creating their personal publication strategy will raise.

lego-toy-soldiersA publication strategy is a plan (or campaign!) which sets out the content, target outlets and timescales for research publications by an individual or research team.  A clear publication strategy is crucial to maximise research impact and support academic/research career development and can also be extremely helpful in clarifying questions around authorship and research strategy in group situations.  Since a publication strategy is highly specific to individual circumstances, there’s no one way to approach this, but this post sets out some key questions to get you started. Continue reading “Planning your assault on publication”

Feedback’s coming home!

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Our helpful and honest panel of PGRs at the PGR Writing Summer School 2018. L-R: Martine, Sian, Anna, Farhan, Frankie, Tom

This week, we’ve had the annual PGR Writing Summer School, with a range of insightful workshops on various aspects of academic and thesis writing.  And, of course, we’ve had national excitement around England’s place in the semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.  I’d been wondering how to tie these together for this blog, when this article on football psychology caught my eye, and chimed with a couple of comments made during the Writing Summer School.  How can we build our resilience to tackle a fear of failure and deal with difficult feedback constructively? Continue reading “Feedback’s coming home!”

Approaching writing as a project

Today, I attended the Journal article writing course offered by UoB’s People and Organisational Development (POD) and facilitated by Dr Sandy Williams from Scriptoria.  If you are a member of UoB staff (including PGRs who teach), then you can register to attend this course yourself or rest assured that what I learned will trickle down to enhance the PGR development workshops on writing (Starting to write for your PhD, Writing clearly and concisely, Structuring your thesis) and through this blog!

One key point that I wanted to pick up on immediately was Sandy’s emphasis on managing the process of writing a journal article as a project, with only a part of that project being to draft the manuscript itself.  Continue reading “Approaching writing as a project”