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Flexibility and open-mindedness

Research Skills required by PhD students D3: Demonstrate flexibility and open-mindedness ...

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9 March 2010

Research Skills required by PhD students D3: Demonstrate flexibility and open-mindedness

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

  • What do you do when something surprising happens in your research?
  • Do you read about research outside your discipline, for example in a digest such as New Scientist?
  • Do you attend research seminars in other areas?
  • How do you respond to challenges to your approach?
  • If your supervisors ask you to do something other than you've planned, how do you respond?
  • Are you willing to complement your preferred research approach by using other approaches?
  • How do you respond to criticism?
  • Can you recognise appropriate criticism when it is given?
  • Can you describe how you go about incorporating constructive criticism into your research planning?

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.

  • An example of incorporating constructive criticism into research planning (e.g., in supervisory meeting notes).
  • A revised thesis chapter draft, incorporating feedback from your supervisor.
  • An example of discussing your research with researchers outside your domain.
  • Asking questions of a range of speakers at a generic event .
  • A review of your training needs analysis and a revised training plan, to take account of unexpected developments in your project.

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

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