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Ability to learn

Research Skills required by PhD students D1: Ability to learn...

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9 March 2010

D1: Demonstrate a willingness and ability to learn and acquire knowledge

Check this skill

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

  • Do you attend research seminars, inaugural lectures, discussion or reading groups, or other research fora regularly?
  • Can you explain how you might use a social or intellectual network to find out about something new?
  • Can you explain how you would follow up on a lead from a conversation at a conference?
  • Do you discuss ideas, techniques, and approaches with other students?
  • How do you follow up on interesting leads?
  • Can you map out what expertise resides in your department?
  • How would you seek out particular expertise, both within your university and beyond?
  • Can you articulate which parts of investigating new areas and ideas, learning new techniques, or adopting new technologies - appeal to you most? - are hardest for you?

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.

  • A record of active participation in seminars, discussion groups, reading groups, etc.
  • A series of reflective commentaries on seminars attended, identifying key insights, knowledge or understanding gained.
  • Written summary of a previously unfamiliar topic.
  • Correspondence resulting from making a contact at a conference.
  • An invitation to join a journal club, reading group or similar outside your university.
  • Research journal.
  • Map of expertise in the department.
  • Notes on leads and contacts from a meeting or conference.

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

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