Spotlight on the RDF: “Synthesising”

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.

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Image credit: National Eye Institute

Synthesis has a number of meanings in the OED, but the one that is relevant here is “the putting together of parts or elements so as to make up a complex whole” [1] and being able to put together parts and elements from the research literature and create a complex whole is a critical skill in literature review.  It’s relatively straight-forward to write a summary of the literature in your research area, but a proper literature review goes further and uses the existing literature to create a “complex whole” where new knowledge or understanding has been created.   Continue reading “Spotlight on the RDF: “Synthesising””

Spotlight on the RDF: “Networking”

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.

network-1911678_640As we approach the University of Birmingham Research Poster Conference 2018, and the summer vacation when many research conferences are scheduled so as not to conflict with teaching responsibilities, it seems a good time to take a closer look at “networking”, a buzzword to describe an activity which may be more usefully thought of as “becoming an active participant in your research community for everyone’s mutual benefit”. Continue reading “Spotlight on the RDF: “Networking””

Spotlight on the RDF: “Enthusiasm”

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.

Enthusiastic PhD student!
Photo credit: Kimia Solutions.

Enthusiasm is defined by the OED as “passionate eagerness in any pursuit, proceeding from an intense conviction of the worthiness of the object” [1] and I think this is something that many of us can identify with when we embark on a new research undertaking.  However, passion and intensity require a lot of energy to maintain, so this post explores ways to keep enthusiasm and motivation high over the course of a research programme. Continue reading “Spotlight on the RDF: “Enthusiasm””

Spotlight on the RDF: “Responsiveness to opportunities”

In the third 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.

There’s a quote, which has been variously attributed to Oprah and Seneca, which goes something like this:

Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.

If you want to be “lucky” enough to get the job you want, you need to be prepared to respond to opportunities as and when they arise.  So your responsiveness to opportunities is very closely related to your preparedness.  What does it mean to be prepared to respond to opportunities?

Continue reading “Spotlight on the RDF: “Responsiveness to opportunities””

Spotlight on the RDF: “Self-reflection”

In the second 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.

reflection-1205794_1920If only self-reflection, in the context of becoming an effective researcher, were as easy as looking in the mirror!  In fact, the ability to reflect on your experiences, strengths and weaknesses, and to seek and respond to feedback is a hugely important quality you will develop as a researcher.  Effective self-reflection allows you to keep moving forward by careful evaluation of the past.

I’ve chosen to focus the spotlight on self-reflection at this time of year, because many of you will be completing your Development Needs Analysis (DNA) forms around now, and self-reflection is a key part of this process. Continue reading “Spotlight on the RDF: “Self-reflection””

Spotlight on the RDF: “Appropriate practice”

In the first of an occasional series, 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.

The RDF  descriptor “appropriate practice” is one which is easier to define through its opposite:  academic malpractice is any activity – intentional or not – that is likely to undermine the integrity essential to scholarship and research.  Examples of academic malpractice include plagiarism and falsification/fabrication of results.  Continue reading “Spotlight on the RDF: “Appropriate practice””