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Understanding the research context

Research Skills required by PhD students B1: Understanding the research context

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4 March 2010

B1: Show a broad understanding of the context, at the national and international level, in which research takes place

Check this skill

By the time students complete a PhD, they should be able to answer ‘Yes’ to most of these questions.

  • Do you know how research is funded? Do you know how your own studentship is funded?
  • If you need extra funding (for instance, to travel to a conference), do you know where you could go to get it - both inside and outside your university?
  • Can you outline the organisational structure for research in your university - at university, academic unit and departmental levels?
  • Can you describe how research in your field is organised in terms of the key professional organisations, conferences, societies, publications, and funding bodies?
  • Can you describe the administrative processes for submitting papers for publication in your field?
  • Do you attend research seminars regularly and discuss them with your peers and supervisors?
  • Do you attend research seminars outside your discipline?
  • Do you attend inaugural lectures?
  • Have you ever refereed or reviewed someone else's research paper?
  • Have you read other referees’ comments?
  • [Students in the UK only] What is the REF? What bearing does it have on the funding for research in the UK?

Evidence of this skill

These are examples of documents you can collect. Each implies a piece or work, which may be a good way for you to develop this skill.

  • Notes from and report of your Induction Training.
  • Statement of active participation in and your own reflexive notes on a relevant training session.
  • Record of attendance at research seminars and other research presentations.
  • Written notes on a seminar or other presentation.
  • Referee's report you have written on a paper submitted to a journal or similar.
  • Successful case made for funding from your training support grant or similar.
  • Successful application for funding from an external body - for example, a travel grant.
  • Record of attendance at, and notes from, your Faculty's Training Session.

This cloud is based upon material produced by The Open University’s research school to support doctoral students.

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