In one of our occasional series of spotlights, we take a closer look at a specific descriptor from the RDF.
In this series of “Spotlight on…” posts, we’ll be delving into the detail of the descriptors in Vitae‘s Researcher Development Framework (RDF). Each one of the sixty-three descriptors is a characteristic of an excellent researcher, and we’ll be looking at how UoB PGRs can develop these characteristics.
Effective project planning and delivery involves a wide range of skills and strategies which underpin a multitude of research activities. In research, projects can vary from small-scale activities (such as a pilot study or organising a research-related event) to very large-scale, multi-team endeavours (such as clinical trials). While smaller projects can be successfully delivered with ad hoc planning, larger projects require a more rigorous approach. Continue reading “Spotlight on the RDF: “Project planning and delivery””
Topics around project management come up fairly regularly on this blog, because I think that getting to grips with these kinds of techniques is really helpful in terms of managing your time. But good time management isn’t the only thing that’s going to keep your research on track. There’s another strand of project management which is equally useful – risk management. This is about acting now to increase the chances of things going well.
We all engage in risk management on a daily basis: when we look both ways before crossing the road, for example. We assess the risks and make changes accordingly: if we judge a road to be particularly fast/busy, we might walk a bit further to the pedestrian crossing. But risk management in research goes a lot further than health and safety. Continue reading “Is research a risky business?”
We’ve talked before on this blog about the value of proper project planning to complete specific (writing) tasks and how to create a Gantt chart to manage a project, but detailed project plans can be tricky to create for your whole PhD. Although it’s possible to create plans despite uncertainty (e.g. around research methods or likely results), it can be time consuming. What’s needed is more of an overview. Continue reading “Visualising your PhD: the big picture”
In this post, Dooshima Lilian Dugguh reflects on the De-Colonizing: Past and Present Workshop held on 13 May 2019 in the College of Arts and Law. This two-day multi-disciplinary workshop examined de-colonization in relation to both research and school curricula.
Reading the workshop title “De-colonizing: past and present”, I am sure that several participants had a rough guess that it was centered around discussing historical realities of colonized nations. But I am also certain that many, like me, were amazed at the understanding that beyond the initial idea is a whole new perspective that exports the concept of de-colonization and applies it to academic endeavors such as impactful research and development of academic curricula, giving an opportunity to rethink research and taught patterns of university courses. This workshop underlined two very important aspects: de-colonizing research and de-colonizing curricula.
De-colonizing asks us to examine assumptions regarding racial and civilizational hierarchy which in the past informed a lot of thinking about how the world worked, what was worth studying in it, and how it should be studied. SOAS blog
Continue reading “De-colonizing: emphasizing the universality of the university”
On Wednesday 19 June 2019, there is a deadline for PGRs hoping to graduate in July to complete all the requirements for the award of their research degree. Among a few other things, this includes submitting an electronic copy of your thesis to the University of Birmingham eTheses repository.
Continue reading “Sending your research out into the world”
In this post, Alex Feldman, a recently completed PGR in the School of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology, shares his thoughts on specialisation.
It’s a jungle out there, as the old cliche goes. Although we prefer the seemingly protective ivory walls of academia, we still live by the same law of the jungle. Whether we say “publish or perish” or “eat or be eaten,” some truths endure whether we’d admit them or not. You want to advance in your field, but you don’t want to be disposed when your field’s fashions change; such is the academic’s conundrum.
I’m no expert on academic fashions, but it depends on your circumstantial approach. Whereas conventional wisdom once advised
planting your flag in some underpopulated area and holding on tight, you’re
also aware we now have newer standards to follow: inter-disciplinary research, cross-field inquiry, discourse analysis, etc.
You need to specialize in something to be taken seriously in that field. Continue reading “Specialization and overspecialization through your research: the forest and the trees”
Patricia Herterich, Research Repository Advisor from Library Services, introduces us to Open Access Week 2018.
Once per year, open access advocates (such as myself) get excited about International Open Access Week (this year running from 22 – 28 October). This event highlights the movement working to make research outputs freely available for re-use, to raise awareness for issues around making outputs available and answer questions that you might have. If you’re not sure why you should care about this, Suzanne Atkins summarised the benefits of Open Access to PGRs in her blogpost back in October 2016. Continue reading “International Open Access Week is coming up!”
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”
In this post, Lynne Harris from the Research Skills Team in Library Services introduces us to the Research Excellence Framework, and explains some of the terminology.
This blog post is about the Research Excellence Framework (REF). It covers what REF is, why it matters to researchers and the REF submission process.
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It is important for the University to do well in the REF exercise as this has a direct impact on future funding for research. This funding comes from the Government via the UK’s Funding Councils. The key principle is that all research arising from such funding should be as widely and freely accessible as possible. Continue reading “Hey REF! What’s it all about?”
In this post, Vicky Wallace from Library Services’ Research Skills Team introduces ORCID, a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher.
In today’s research climate, the scope for information about you and your work to be displayed and connected is huge. Historically, publishers and libraries took ownership for distributing and curating works, but roles are blurring in today’s world, where indexing and curation of online content is largely done algorithmically. The picture is further complicated by:
- the range of research output types (“online-only” articles, blog posts, slide decks and datasets) and other research activity;
- difficulties in author disambiguation, exacerbated where people have common names, perhaps change names after marriage, move institutions, or are affiliated with more than one institution.
Vicky would like to make it clear that she is not a fan of Chesney (despite knowing all the words).
How can we ensure that researchers’ profiles are correct, full and up to date? Continue reading “The One and Only – ORCID for researchers”