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”
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 blog post Sam King from the Planning Office talks about the benefits of using Pure (Publication and Research)…
What is Pure and why should we use it?
Pure is a Research Information Management System and is the institutional Research Repository used by the University of Birmingham. Whilst the majority of records added to Pure are publications, Pure can also be used to record information about your research activities and can even be used to publish datasets.
If you want to plan for your academic career, Pure is an excellent tool to start collecting together your research activities in one place.
Continue reading “The Pure Research Information System is now available to all PhD researchers…”
In this blog post Patricia Herterich, the Research Repository Advisor in the University of Birmingham Library, provides a summary and reflection of the Writing Summer School session “Navigating the maze of research and writing tools”…
Using the right tools is crucial to make your research and writing processes as efficient as possible. There are plenty of tools to choose from to support the full research life cycle from discovering literature related to research to publishing and promoting your own works. To get a better understanding, Bianca Kramer and Jeroen Bosman surveyed the tools used by researchers around the world for 9 months in 2015/16. The more than 20,000 survey answers can be accessed for detailed research and inspired some workflows based on e.g. services offered by the same provider or services that support the ideas of Open Science. Continue reading “How to find your tools of the trade”
This week Coralie Acheson, a 2nd year PhD Researcher in the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, shares her experience of collecting data for her research…
My research is on how tourists encounter and negotiate the values of Ironbridge Gorge, a World Heritage Site in Shropshire; part of a collaborative AHRC-funded project looking at the communication of value to different communities of interest at the site. This was my first serious foray into the academic world of cultural heritage following years of studying and working commercially in archaeology. When I started, I knew I had a steep climb in terms of raising my knowledge base in terms of thinking about tourism theory but I hadn’t realised how much I also needed to learn about the actual practicalities of carrying out the research. Continue reading “Finding your way in the foggy road of data collection…”
This week Vicky Wallace, our Library Subject Advisor for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, introduces us to the new ‘Web of Science Citation Connection’
University of Birmingham researchers now have access to ‘Web of Science Citation Connection’. This package includes a wealth of databases, allowing you to retrieve a great deal more than journal articles; namely information on:
Books: offering book and book chapter literature searching, and the option to browse within a book to its book chapters, to see where the chapters have been cited.
Data: Search for datasets used by others and gain credit/citations for your own. The Data Citation Index links the data behind the research to the literature.
Patents: Read accessible summaries of patents written by experts, linked to the original patent. You can see citations to the patents to help you identify potential competitors/collaborators.
In addition, the package also includes Specialist Subject Databases including BIOSIS Citation Index, Current Chemical Reactions, Index Chemicus, and Zoological Records. Continue reading “*NEW* Web of Science Citation Connection”
Any project, whether it’s a substantial project such as your PhD thesis or a smaller-scale project like organising an event, will benefit from proper planning. Project planning is a big topic, but here we will look at one planning tool that you use to help you understand and visualise the relationships between the component activities of your project and time: a Gantt chart. Gantt charts are named after Henry Gantt, a mechanical engineer and management consultant who developed the charts in the 1910s, and are very widely used for simple and complex projects, to communicate visually the timescale for a project and to monitor progress against that timescale. Continue reading “Visualising your PhD using a Gantt chart”