Part time researcher workshop 1 nov
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Part time researcher workshop 1 nov

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Slides from the NW part-time researcher workshop on 1 November featuring sessions on academic writing styles and getting the best from a part-time supervisor. This workshop was hosted by the ...

Slides from the NW part-time researcher workshop on 1 November featuring sessions on academic writing styles and getting the best from a part-time supervisor. This workshop was hosted by the University of Chester (Warrington campus) and facilitated by Emma Gillaspy and Moira Peelo

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  • In other words After checking you emails – which is number one on this list (for everyone) your thesis is the next top priority for you (or it should be)For your supervisors your thesis is a very small part of all of the activities that they are having to juggle
  • It is always worth remembering
  • There are many theories of learning and for the purpose of this session I will roughly look at the problems that arise with 2 board styles Think about what yourselves – when Christmas is coming upDo you have a list that you have put together through the year, presents have been picked up throughout the year and you only a a few more to get? Or do you leave everything until closer to Christmas – thinking about what is the prefect present – as tastes may have changed and you may get a better idea closer to the date? You are giving it a lot of thought but others may not see this and think that you haven’t done anything. This could be the tale of my sister and me – I like to think and try and get the perfect gift, usually right up to the wire with timing. My sister likes to have everything done, wrapped and ready by the beginning of December and I know that I frustrate her immensely. Can you relate to this? How many of you are thinkers? How many doers? – how do you feel about the other group? How do you find working together?Thinking about your supervisors – what is their style are they similar to you or are they opposite to you?Mixed messages, different ideas thoughts each meeting, no progress, lots of thoughts but no direction, nothing concrete Are some of the problems down to your styles of work –what can you do to overcome this?BrainstormThinking – yes I’m thinking about this – set a deadline for when you will have done somethingDoing – having a plan and getting agreement to the plan – have a mechanism for changing the plan/adapting
  • We want you to write 3 actions that you will be able to do in the next 3 months on the postcard in your packs and put your address on the envelope. We will send you the postcards in 3 months time to see if you have kept your promises!Tips for Action Planning:What you will do?When you will do it?What support might you need?How will you know when you have done it?

Part time researcher workshop 1 nov Part time researcher workshop 1 nov Presentation Transcript

  • Part-time researcher workshop1 November 2011
  • About us
  • Brought to you by Vitae Vitae is committed to enhancing the quality and output of the research base in the United Kingdom, through supporting the training and development of the next generation of world-class researchers
  • Programme Time Activity 10:00 Welcome 10:05 Part-time success stories 10:15 Getting to know you & objective setting 10.40 The ethos and process of part-time research 11.30 Academic writing styles 13.40 Introduction to the afternoon 13.45 Getting the best from a part-time supervisor 15.25 Objectives review 15.40 Action planning 15.50 Questions
  • Success stories
  • Breaking the ice...
  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Ethos and processWhat is part-time research?What issues must youconsider?How do you succeed?How do you determine quality?How do you join the researchcommunity?Others?
  • Academic writing styles- adapted for use by Moira Peelo 1.11.11
  • Workshop objectives Discuss the general aspects of academic writing and the structure of an argument Consider the accessibility and readability of academic writing Develop a text analysis strategy for theses in your discipline in order to influence your own writing
  • 11.30-12.00Discuss the general aspects ofacademic writing and the structure ofan argument
  • 1 What makes academic writing good?(Briefly, come up with lists in groups c. 4people – 10 minutes) In general? In your subject area? (are these one and the same?)
  • Some thoughts about goodacademic writing to add to yourown… Content original, sound research, timely, valuable, justifiable, replicable Selection (WHAT is included, and in how much detail.) Focused, in sufficient detail that someone else could replicate Organisation logical, following a conventional pattern for article or thesis Presentation appropriate writing style, choices of words and phrases. Grammar, punctuation, spelling. Visually: does it look good on the page? Typography, layout, clear diagrams
  • Areas to question whenanalysing structure of journalarticles, theses and dissertations Content – nature of Organisation/ research & its structure – what is contribution conventional in your Selection of material area? - focus, detail Presentation - language use – visual appearance
  • 2. Structure of an argumentData So, Qualifier , Claim/conclusion Since Unless Warrant On account of Rebuttal From Toulmin, S. (1958, updated 2003) Backing ‛The Uses of Argument’, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  • Michelle was Michelle is aborn in So, presumably , British subjectNorthernIreland Since Unless A person born in NI will be a British subject Both her parents were born in Eire, or she has On account of become an Irish citizen The following statutes and legal provisions… Data Michelle was born in Northern Ireland Question to be discussed - Is Michelle Irish?
  • 12.00-12.30Consider the accessibility andreadability of academic writing
  • ‘Read a lot’ The best way to learn about writing is through reading – as much as you can But academic reading brings its own challenges that can make this simple advice hard to follow Especially for part-time students, for whom time is limited So, before thinking about how to analyse academic writing as a way of supporting our own writing – let’s think about some reading challenges.
  • Making sense of academicreading (work in groups c. 4for 15 minutes) Spend 5 minutes listing what makes academic reading difficult for you Spend 5 minutes listing what makes academic reading easy for you Agree 1 reading strategy that helps academic reading – write it on the flip chart paper provided so that we can share the advice
  • Translation versusevaluation Sometimes it is possible to spend so long trying to fathom the meaning of text that we forget about the central place of criticality in academic reading at doctoral level. Criticality is not about picking and fault-finding for the sake of it – instead, it is about evaluating the worth of the evidence and analysis provided for solving the specific problem you have set.
  • Be critical in yourquestions…Have some questions ready whenever you read other people’s work, e.g. – What’s the problem being addressed? Why does it matter? What’s the central argument/message? What evidence is presented? Does it persuade you?
  • 12.30-1.00Develop a text analysis strategy fortheses in your discipline in order toinfluence your own writing
  • Understanding disciplinarity It is part of your development as a researcher to: Analyse and understand the variations Be aware of flexibility Balance them with your preferred style
  • Analysing style In groups develop a template for analysing texts in your disciplines Consider, for example: Macro level – whole piece Mid level – large sections Micro level – paragraphs Highlight key issues – any specific issues?
  • Disciplinary variations –primarily: (a) problemsaddressed (b) arguments,analysis & (c) what constitutesevidence These factors are reflected in discussions about: Author’s voice – first person or not Structure – eg IMRaD structure in science Appropriate language – phraseology, choice of words
  • 2 examples of thesisstructure
  • IMRaD structure in science Introduction - why was the study undertaken? What was the research question, the tested hypothesis or the purpose of the research? Methods - when, where, and how was the study done? What materials were used or who/what was included in the study? Results - what answer was found to the research question; what did the study find? Was the tested hypothesis shown to be correct? Discussion - what might the answer mean and why does it matter? How does it fit in with what other researchers have found? What future research is required?
  • Section 1 Section 1 Section 1 Section 2Introduction Further Methods and Data chapterto theory & literature methodologyliteratureSection 2 Section 2 Section 2 Section 3Data chapter Data Data Chapter Conclusions Chapter and discussion
  • Your writing development Apply the same analysis you have designed here today to your writing which features need development? which features are good enough already? Analyse texts as you read them Your template For readability
  • Final thought Understanding writing styles in your discipline and area does not mean that you will naturally write like that. Never try to write the perfect ‘end product’ straight off. Write your own thoughts and ideas first informally – get down what you want to say. Then learn to become a good EDITOR
  • Getting the best from a part-time supervisor
  • Overview Decide what you need from your supervisor Consider any issues which may make that difficult to achieve Determine a way to optimise the relationship between you and your supervisor
  • Supervisor-heroWhat should yoursupervisor be like…?
  • Supervisor-hero But… they are only human Perhaps it might help if… they had a bigger brain or a smaller ego or extra arms or were a mini-me
  • Now you have thetechnology In groups, draw your perfect supervisor Feel free to add genetic modifications or to ‘cyborgise’ them Decide what you need from your supervisor Don’t worry about any discomfort to the supervisors – make sure that they suit your needs
  • The role of the supervisor Interested in your research Available to discuss your conclusions and ideas Able to provide feedback on your progress Able to provide feedback on your written work Encouraging you to participate in group meetings, seminars and occasional conferences Developing your professional research qualities by example
  • Part-time supervision issues You may find your supervisor is not available when you need to speak with them has unrealistic expectations of how much you should be achieving in the time available is often slow to provide feedback. Any others?
  • Supervisor-hero world? In groups, discuss what you understand of ‘supervisor-hero world’ What does an academic actually do, when not supervising postgraduate researchers?
  • A day in the life… Planning and preparing taught modules Teaching undergraduate and Masters’ students Marking coursework and exam questions Acting as personal tutor to undergraduate students Writing research proposals Carrying out and keeping up to date with research Attending and presenting at conferences Attending department and university meetings Serving on university committees Managing their own office (word processing, email etc) Social life, home and family time… plus much more…
  • Understanding prioritiesStudent’s Priorities Supervisor’s PrioritiesA LIST A LIST B LIST C LIST1.Check emails 1.Check emails 1.Research 1...2.My thesis 2.Teaching 2.Papers 2...3... 3.Admin 3.Grants 3...4... 4.Reports 4... 4... 5.Exam marking 5... 5... 6... 6... 6. Your thesis
  • Part-time issues for yoursupervisor Your supervisor: cannot easily contact you in working hours does not know what your other commitments are cannot monitor how much time you are putting into your PhD can get frustrated if your research sometimes appears to be going very slowly.
  • What does your supervisorknow about you? What are your other commitments? Who are you? What do you need?
  • The ideal postgraduateresearcher… Contacts their supervisor and updates them on progress regularly Produces ideas for discussion Participates in group meetings, seminars and occasional conferences Meets agreed deadlines for research targets Is committed to gaining their PhD Others?
  • Rules for managing yourrelationship Your supervisor is on your side Keep your supervisor informed Discover what makes your supervisor tick Earn your supervisor’s respect with your initiative Assert yourself to find solutions that work (for everyone)
  • Potential barriers What working style do you prefer? How do you like to communicate? Are there limitations on your time that may not be apparent to them? Have you encountered difficulty in areas of research that you have not brought to their attention? Do you need any specific help?
  • Communication Good communication between supervisor and postgraduate researcher is key You have a large responsibility for maintaining this
  • Preferences Thinkers Do’ers Reflectors Theorists Pragmatists ActivistsIt’s all about Lets write Lets make Trial and the ideas a paper a difference error
  • Improving supervision What changes would you like to make in your supervision arrangements?
  • Serious problems? What can you do if your supervisor repeatedly fails to respond to requests for help? All universities should have a mechanism to mediate in this situation If you feel your supervisor is not supporting you, approach the head of department, director of research or your graduate school for advice
  • Finally: to do Arrange a meeting with your supervisor to discuss: Potential changes to method of supervision What frequency of contact is needed Specific help required What methods of communication will suit you both best (eg telephone, email)
  • Review
  • Action planning Where am I now? Where Taking do I action want to be? How will I What’s measure my stopping progress? me? How do I get there?
  • Three things to do next
  • Questions...