3.The library is located in the centre of campus and is open 24/7. There’s seating right outside, where you can get some sun between study sessions.

1. Knowledge base 

Knowledge of: 
  • The area of research, the advances within it and its relationships with other research areas. 
  • The methods and experimental techniques appropriate for research design. 
  • Sources of information, bibliographic software and other information technologies. 
  • Literacy and numeracy skills and language abilities appropriate for research. 
Behaviour:
  • Makes original contributions to knowledge.
  • Identifies, applies and develops methods and experimental techniques appropriate for research projects. 
  • Conducts effective and comprehensive information searches. 
  • Records, manages and handles information/data using appropriate bibliographic software and other information technologies.

2. Cognitive abilities  

Behaviour: 
  • Analyses and evaluates findings using appropriate methods. 
  • Thinks originally, independently and critically; develops theoretical concepts. 
  • Critically synthesises information from diverse sources. 
  • Evaluates progress, impact and outcomes of research. 
  • Recognises and validates problems; formulates and applies solutions to a range of research problems. 
Attitude: 
  • Willing to give and receive constructive criticism.

3. Creativity

Behaviour:
  • Develops new ways of working; has novel ideas and realises their potential.
  • Identifies new trends; creates new opportunities.
  • Develops convincing and persuasive arguments to defend research.
  • Takes intellectual risks; challenges the status quo.
Attitude:
  • Takes a creative, imaginative and inquiring approach to research.
  • Is open to new sources of ideas.

Upcoming workshops

NVivo

NVivo for beginners

This session will demonstrate how NVivo qualitative data analysis software can enhance your research experience, and train you to use its key features and functions.
Intended learning outcomes:
At the end of this session you will be able to:
  • navigate easily around the NVivo interface
  • import text, audio, video, pdf and image files into NVivo
  • be able to title and provide descriptions of the different media content
  • code data across a variety of media to construct a coding framework
  • be able to organise your data in a hierarchical structure and be able to create memos
  • create a Framework Matrix
  • create a Classification based around units of analysis and set attributes and values to enable comparative analyses
  • apply NVivo's basic analytical functions, including text searches and word frequency queries
  • be familiar with NVivo’s visualisation tools.
Facilitator: Andy Edwards-Jones 
Applicability: suitable for most research students and research staff.
Course dates and times:
  • 15 November 2023, 13:30–16:00 UK time (online via Zoom)
  • 19 March 2024, 13:00–16:00 UK time (on campus) 
  • 19 June 2024, 13:00–16:00 UK time (on campus)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

NVivo users workshop (intermediate)

This workshop aims to enable you to work with NVivo in a more effective and sophisticated manner, introducing some streamlining functions and combining the coding process with the use of analytical tools. The session attempts to answer the question, ‘I’ve finished my initial coding, so what do I do now?’
Intended learning outcomes:
At the end of this session, you will be able to:
  • use your learning outcomes from previous introductory NVivo training and put them into practice using your own data
  • import and organise your own data
  • establish a coding framework for your own data
  • code your own data
  • use NVivo's basic analytical functions
  • apply specific functions to streamline the data analysis process
  • move forward with the next step of your own research project in NVivo.
Facilitator:  Andy Edwards-Jones 
Applicability: this session is not an introduction to NVivo. It is aimed at research students and staff that have completed the NVivo introductory training workshops or have some working experience of the application, but would benefit from further guidance while progressing their own research work. Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops with research data previously uploaded or ready to import into NVivo. Please do not expect to be able to install NVivo on laptops during the session as this can be very time consuming. 
Course dates and times: 
  • 12 December 2023, 13:00–16:00 UK time (on campus)
  • 11 April 2024, 13:30–16:00 UK time (online via Zoom)
  • 18 July 2024, 13:00–16:00 UK time (on campus)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

Which statistical software to use? a comparison of Matlab, Python, R, SPSS and Excel

Almost everyone doing a postgraduate research degree will have to collect, analyse, and visualise data. This work will be an essential part of your dissertation (of course) but also of conference presentations, public engagement activities, and press releases. There will be graphs and diagrams, pictures and illustration, summaries and infographics.
There are a number of software packages that can be used, either alone or in combination, for this type of work; and the aim of this session is to give researchers hands-on experience to as many of them as possible – and to compare them side-by-side to help inform decisions about which is the appropriate choice.
We will provide sample data and simple exercises in Matlab, Python, R, SPSS opr Excel. Attendees will work (singly or in groups) to get the same (or comparable) results in some or all (depending on time) of these packages allowing them to make informed decisions about which systems they wish to study further.
Facilitator: Martin Coath 
Course dates and times:  
  • 2 November 2023, 10:00–12:00 UK time (on campus)
  • 25 April 2024, 10:00–12:00 UK time (on campus)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk 

SPSS

This session will use the SPSS software to enhance your knowledge of the applied statistics and of the package. We will consider data structure as well as the differences between samples and populations.
Intended learning outcomes
  • Common statistical distributions will be introduced.
  • Useful methods for graphical, tabular and statistical summaries will be explored, along with various calculations, sorting, selection and transformation.
  • Finally, there will be both an introduction to hypothesis testing and Confidence Intervals using both parametric and non-parametric methods.
Facilitator: Yinghui Wei 
Applicability: suitable for most research students and research staff.
Course dates and times: 
  • 31 January 2024, 14:00–16:00 UK time (online via Zoom)
  • 22 May 2024, 14:00–16:00 UK time (online via Zoom)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

Understanding and working with quantitative data – taking the fear out of numbers

This session will provide a comprehensive exploration of the core methodologies used in data analysis within the realms of scientific and medical research. This session is designed to enhance your grasp of statistical applications, demystifying the foundational concepts that underpin each method. Our focus will be on practical implementation, emphasising real-world relevance and application.
Intended learning outcomes
  • Identify and rectify prevalent mistakes in data analysis to bolster the validity and reliability of your research findings.
  • Master the execution of various tests using widely adopted software, presented in an accessible manner devoid of complex mathematical jargon.
Facilitator: Daniela Oehring
Applicability: suitable for most research students/ staff
Course dates and times: 
  • 3 November 2023, 13:30–16:00 UK time (on campus)
  • 21 May 2024, 13:30–16:00 UK time (on campus) (moved from 3 May 2024)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

Python

Introduction to Python

This is an introductory course for absolute beginners in Python who are interested in discovering and learning Python programming language. This course will make the participant understand different variable, functions types and performing basic maths operations. You will also learn how to import a local file and read its data.
Intended learning outcomes
You will become familiar with the basic functions and syntax, in particular, the following topics:
  • variables, data types, comments and math operators
  • strings and print
  • conditionals and flow control
  • functions and importing modules
  • lists, for loops, tuples and sictionaries
  • functions.
Facilitator: Dr Martin Coath 
Applicability: suitable for most research students and research staff.
Course dates and times:
  • 14 December 2023, 10:00–11:30 UK time (online via Zoom)
  • 1 February 2024, 10:00–11:30 UK time (online via Zoom)
  • 11 April 2024, 10:00–11:30 UK time (online via Zoom)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

Getting Started with Python

Python is a popular and free general purpose programming language widely used by researchers from many disciplines. This session is designed as a gentle introduction to Python for non-programmers concentrating on the fundamentals. We will start by looking at using Python for mathematics and some simple statistics, simple graphing, and we will introduce some of Python's many data structures. We will also introduce scripting and some basic programming techniques and finish by examining a step-by-step approach to importing and plotting data from other sources such as spreadsheets.
Facilitator: Dr Martin Coath 
Applicability: suitable for most research students and research staff.
Course dates and times: 
  • 23 May 2024, 13:00–15:00 UK time (online via Zoom)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

Introduction to R

R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics, which can be easily downloaded from the web. It is now widely used for all types of statistical applications, from official and social statistics to modern methods for computationally based inference.
Intended learning outcomes
After this short course the participant will have a basic knowledge of R. In particular, the following topics will be covered (some in limited detail):
  • using an editor
  • arithmetic
  • data in R
  • R Objects
  • summary statistics
  • graphics including gplot2
  • linear models and correlation
  • reading in data from files
  • data manipulation using dplyr.
Facilitator: Matthew Craven 
Applicability: suitable for most research students and research staff.
Course dates and times:
  • 7 November 2023, 10:00–12:00 UK time (online via Zoom)
  • 8 February 2024, 10:00–12:00 UK time (online via Zoom)
  • 4 June 2024, 10:00–12:00 UK time (online via Zoom)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

Matlab environment and scripts

Introduction to Matlab environment and scripts

Matlab is a powerful piece of software that is a programming language, but which also has some features in common with statistical packages like SPSS, and other features that make it more like a spreadsheet or database. As a result it can seem bewildering and complex. However, at its simplest it is just a very sophisticated calculator with great graph drawing facilities which make many routine data analysis and presentation tasks a breeze. Give it a try before you decide.
Intended learning outcomes:
  • To introduce new and inexperienced users to the Matlab programming environment, basic mathematical and statistical operations on small data sets, using the GUI to draw simple graphs, exporting results to document preparation software, and an introduction to scripting.
Facilitator: Martin Coath 
Applicability: suitable for most research students and research staff.
Course dates and times:
  • 30 November 2023, 10:00–11:30 UK time (on campus)
  • 7 March 2024, 10:00–11:30 UK time (on campus)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

Matlab environment and scripts – intermediate

Suitable for those that have attended the introductory session or have a little experience with other programming IDE’s.
If you have grasped the basics of Matlab or if you are happy with the idea of programming languages this session will let you explore how to get exactly what you want, in ways that should save you time and effort. We will be exploring how Matlab goes way beyond a simple calculator or spreadsheet and find how new facilities can be added by programming, and how data is stored, retrieved, and presented in a multitude of ways decided by the user.
Intended learning outcomes:
  • To explore all aspects of the Matlab programming environment, mathematical and statistical operations using matrices, creating and editing graphs, use of scripts and functions, introduction data structures, introductory program debugging.
Facilitator: Martin Coath 
Applicability: suitable for most research students and research staff.
Course dates and times:
  • 11 January 2024, 10:00–11:30 UK time (on campus) – Cancelled
  • 22 February 2024, 10:00–11:30 UK time (on campus)
  • 23 May 2024, 10:00–11:30 UK time (on campus)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

LaTeX

What is LaTeX – an introduction

This first session on the LaTeX typesetting software is for everyone, particularly if you have never heard of LaTeX. Even if you are already a LaTeX user come along and join the debate. The time will be split between demonstrations and detailed answers to students questions.
All academics have to write reports and papers of one sort or another. Of most immediate concern to most graduate students is the thesis or dissertation which represents the culmination of an intense and demanding period of study and research.
For almost 30 years there has been debate between those who support general purpose word-processors (such as Microsoft Word) and those who argue that academic writing requires a specialist tool. LaTeX is such a tool and represents the alternative to word-processing. LaTeX is free, designed specifically to handle large complicated cross-referenced academic documents, and has been used successfully for nearly 30 years in all academic fields.
Intended learning outcomes:
  • The aim of this introductory session is to allow graduates to discover what it is and to make an informed choice about whether or not to consider using it.
Facilitator: Martin Coath 
Applicability: everyone. If you have heard of LaTeX and are not sure what it is then this is your chance to find out. If you have never heard of LaTeX then it could be what you are looking for. Please come along even if you are a LaTeX user and join in the discussion.
Course dates and times:
  • 30 November 2023, 12:00–13:00 UK time (online via Zoom)
  • 4 April 2024, 10:00–11:00 UK time (online via Zoom)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

LaTeX – getting started

The second session is aimed at those who are curious to find out more about LaTeX and those who are seriously considering using it. The previous LaTeX session is not a prerequisite but there will only be very limited time for debate and explanation so please do come to ‘What is LaTeX’ so you know what you are getting yourself in to! We aim to achieve three things in this session.
Intended learning outcomes:
  • To get LaTeX installed and running on every computer. You will need to bring a laptop running Windows 7 and on which you have full administrative rights. If you have a University issue laptop you will have to contact IT support to be sure you have been made an administrator (there will not be time in this session to cover installation for Mac and Linux users – if you want to take part install Windows in a virtual machine).
  • To create and edit some simple documents to illustrate as many of the general principles as possible in the time available. This should be enough for you to go away and start experimenting with your newly installed software.
  • To make everyone aware of the vast array of free LaTeX support material on the internet. After you have mastered the basics you will be able to find books and tutorials that are available to anyone who wants to go further.
Facilitator: Martin Coath 
Applicability: everyone. If you have heard of LaTeX and are not sure what it is then this is your chance to find out. If you have never heard of LaTeX then it could be what you are looking for. Please come along even if you are a LaTeX user and join in the discussion.
Course dates and times:
  • 25 January 2024, 10:00–11:30 UK time (on campus)
  • 2 May 2024, 10:00–11:30 UK time (on campus)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

LaTeX – pictures, bibliographies, tables and other assorted problems

You will need to be familiar with the basics of LaTeX to get the most out of this session. For absolute beginners this means a) coming to both previous sessions and b) having done some practice and research in the time since session 2. Experienced users are very welcome to come along – there are always tips and tricks to be shared.
Intended learning outcomes:
If you have made it this far you will be starting to appreciate that despite the fact that LaTeX offers huge advantages it also has its share of frustrations. Many of these can be dealt easily with help from experienced users. We will deal with the most common problems first, but this session also has time to address any particular issue that you want to bring along.
In particular: the placement of figures, the handling of bibliographies, and the design of tables in LaTeX are frequently raised as ‘problems’, although in fact in most cases the ‘solutions’ are trivial but merely difficult to find. If you are convinced that LaTeX is for you then you should find this session very helpful. If you are still not sure then seeing some of the potential problems dealt with might help you to make up your mind.
Facilitator: Martin Coath 
Applicability: everyone. Please come along even if you are a LaTeX user and join in the discussion.
Prerequisites: You must have attended both previous sessions and have done some practice and research.
Course dates and times:
  • 14 March 2024, 10:00–12:00 UK time (on campus)
  • 6 June 2024, 10:00–12:00 UK time (on campus)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

Project Approval Process (RDC.1)

The aim of the workshop is to prepare students for the process of project approval (RDC.1). Project approval stage is compulsory if you are registered for the degrees of MPhil, PhD, ResM or MD. The process of project approval requires the production of a research prospectus, plan of work, Data Management Plan and any other materials and processes specified by local Research Degree Management Units and, their assessment by experts in the field who are independent of the supervisory team.
Intended learning outcome:
The session is designed to explain the process and to assist students in the preparation of the RDC.1 submission.
Applicability: suitable for all research students
Facilitator: Richard Yarwood and Sarah Kearns 
Course dates and times:
  • 25 October 2023, 14:00–16:00 UK time (on campus)
  • 24 January 2024, 10:00–12:00 UK time (online via Zoom)
  • 24 April 2024, 14:00–16:00 UK time (on campus)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

Confirmation of Route Process (RDC.2/2A)

The aim of the workshop is to prepare students for the process of the transfer (RDC.2/2A). If you are registered as an MPhil/PhD student, the Confirmation of Route process is compulsory. Transfer to PhD status is also possible from ResM, MD and MPhil research degree registrations. The process of transfer requires the production of written reports and any other materials and processes specified by local Research Degree Management Units and, their assessment by experts in the field who are independent of the supervisory team.
Intended learning outcome:
The workshop is designed to explain the process and to assist students in the preparation of the reports.
Facilitator: Stephen Essex and Sarah Kearns 
Applicability: full-time research students who are 9 to 12 months (part-time students: 15 to 21 months) into their programme.
Course dates and times: 
  • 4 December 2023, 13:30–15:30 UK time (online via Zoom)
  • 13 March 2024, 13:30–15:30 UK time (on campus)
  • 18 June 2024, 10:30–12:30 UK time (online via Zoom)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk

Preparing for the viva

The aim of this workshop is to help postgraduate research students with the purpose and the format of the oral examination of their thesis. This workshop will familiarise participants with the format of the viva including in-person, remote (online) or hybrid models and, the role of the internal and external examiners and the judgements they will be making in the course of the viva. There will be an opportunity to consider the types of questions that candidates may be asked in the course of the oral examination.
Facilitator: Richard Yarwood, Director of Doctoral College
Applicability: all postgraduate research students
Course dates and times
  • 20 November 2023, 10:00–12:00 UK time (on campus)
  • 7 March 2024, 14:00–16:00 UK time (online via Zoom)
  • 23 May 2024, 14:00–16:00 UK time (on campus)
Bookings and enquiries: researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk 
*Please note: a recording of this session is available at the Researcher Development Programme DLE/Moodle page.