The Researcher Toolkit

Workshop and webinar programme designed to help you lead a productive, positive and balanced PhD life

The Researcher Toolkit has been designed by PhD students, for PhD students. Developed in response to postgraduate researchers asking for a little more support and guidance with their research degrees, and more opportunities to share thoughts and ideas with others.

The project sees trained and experienced postgraduate researchers deliver five different workshops to their peers. Each workshop is delivered twice in the academic year and four area repeated as a webinar.

Our workshops are designed to be different, but also to complement one another. Topics covered include: starting your project; getting the most out of your supervisory team; and finishing on time. We think they will be particularly useful in your first year of study, but we’ve had excellent feedback from students at all stages. We wanted these workshops to be accessible, so they are all delivered as webinars as well as classroom sessions.

Initial feedback on the workshops has been overwhelmingly positive. Students have said that they find these workshops enjoyable, helpful, informal, and fun, and they love that it gives them the perfect opportunity to meet other students and make friends. 

A key benefit is that the workshops have been designed by PhD students, and they are peer-delivered. We have a fantastic group of postgraduate workshop leaders who have been there and done it, and they are incredibly passionate about sharing their knowledge and experiences with you. Some of our workshop leaders are students who attended the sessions, and appreciated them so much that they wanted to be a part of them.

It was well thought through, engaging and inspirational.

 

Workshop information

Workshop one: what next?

Starting a project and maintaining momentum 

'What next?' is the first workshop in a set of five that constitutes the University of Plymouth researcher toolkit. This workshop aims to guide and help you as a postgraduate researcher to:

  • consider what you want to get out of your PhD
  • think about how to set and achieve your goals
  • consider what makes a good researcher
  • become a reflective researcher

Our workshops are delivered twice during the academic year and repeated as a webinar.

Workshop two: how to get the most out of your supervisor

Communication skills, building empathy and resilience to criticism

'How to get the most out of your supervisor' is the second workshop in a set of five that constitutes the University of Plymouth researcher toolkit.

The PhD supervisory relationship is quite unique and can take many different forms. Inevitably, your supervisor will play a crucial role in your PhD experience, and so of course, you will want to have a good relationship with them. Our aims for this session are to:

  • consider exactly what you want to get out of your supervisor
  • gain a deeper understanding of the supervisory relationship and learn how best to manage it
  • learn how to communicate effectively and assertively with your supervisor(s)
  • learn how to recognise and manage constructive and non-constructive criticism.

Our workshops are delivered twice during the academic year and repeated as a webinar.

Workshop three: how to maximise your productivity

Identifying and challenging negative thinking styles, self-care, work-life balance

'How to maximise your productivity' is the third workshop in a set of five that constitutes the University of Plymouth researcher toolkit. Doing a PhD requires a lot of self-motivation, and to stay motivated and productive you need to be in the right mindset.

This session will cover how to notice when you’re not in the best mindset, and what to do about it. Our aims for the session are to:

  • consider what makes a good researcher
  • understand which factors influence our productivity and success
  • learn a range of techniques for maximizing productivity and success
  • practice using these techniques to overcome some common difficulties you may face during your PhD.

Our workshops are delivered twice during the academic year and repeated as a webinar.

Workshop four: how to finish your PhD on time

Avoiding burnout, good working practice, work-life balance

'How to finish your PhD on time' is the fourth workshop in a set of five that constitutes the University of Plymouth researcher toolkit. Time-management is an essential skill in completing a PhD on time, but a PhD is such a unique journey that it requires thinking about time-management in a different way to what you might expect. This workshop will cover:

  • understanding and applying effective strategies for time-management
  • some useful techniques to help you plan your time
  • how to ‘get things done’
  • how reflection can be used to improve the process.

Our workshops are delivered twice during the academic year and repeated as a webinar.

Workshop five: ten things all PhD students should know

General tips and experiences from workshop leaders, discussion with peers

'Ten things all PhD students should know?' is the fifth and final workshop in the University of Plymouth researcher toolkit.

In this workshop, you will learn our top tips for research students. We sent out a survey to all research students at Plymouth, and asked them what they wish they had known, what they wish they had done differently, and their number one piece of advice. We collated the information to create our top tips

This workshop is delivered twice during the academic year.

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