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Using IT

Research Skills required by PhD students C4: Using IT...

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4 March 2010

C4: Use information technology appropriately for database management, recording and presenting information

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

  • Can you fluently use word processing systems appropriate to writing your thesis?
  • Can you format documents the way you wish?
  • Can you prepare illustrations, figures and images, and incorporate them in electronic documents?
  • Can you use database software for handling references (e.g., EndNote) effectively?
  • Can you readily reformat manuscripts for different journal styles? Can you use presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint) to prepare electronic presentations?
  • Can you use communication technologies such as First Class, wikis, mailing lists, and bulletin boards?
  • Do you know what software to use to prepare a poster? Do you know how to go about getting it printed?
  • Can you us spreadsheets (e.g. Excel) to organise data collection?
  • Do you have a reliable backup system that uses more than one device and keeps copies in more than one place? Do you make backups regularly?

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.

  • Plan to develop your IT skills and a schedule of registration on appropriate courses
  • Record of active participation in IT training. Evidence of application of this training – such as the production of a fully referenced research paper using EndNote or a presentation using advanced PowerPoint.
  • Examples of the databases or spreadsheets used in research.
  • Construction and maintenance of a personal website.
  • Record of participation in a First Class conference or other web-based discussions.
  • Poster.
  • Slides prepared for a research seminar.

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

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