LDC Development Support for PhD researchers during Covid19

How solid are your plans for coping with the coming period of isolation due to COVID19? Are you confident of continuing with PhD work? What support would you like to receive from LDC Development over the coming period?

The University has recently announced the cancellation of all face to face workshops as part of the University’s response to COVID-19. In consequence, all face-to-face workshops in the LDC development programme are cancelled for the remainder of the Academic year.

Working at home for long periods can be a challenge, especially for those students who are used working on campus. The University encourages students to use Microsoft Teams to maintain formal meetings. Social contacts with peers and colleagues should be maintained online, too, to help us all retain the motivation and general well-being. Have you already arranged your support system? We would love to hear from you about different approaches, and to discuss them with other researchers, enabling everybody to stay engaged.

We are currently looking at how we can enhance our online programme. We would be very interested to hear your thoughts too! What kind of online programme would you like to see? Are there any topics we could add to our programme that would ensure further skills development? Please do get in touch and let us know what we can do to support you in this period.

Meanwhile, we are making significant changes to our programme as an immediate response to COVID-19 situation, which will include a greater range of online sessions as outlined below:

  1. Discussion-based webinars.

Webinar: Managing your PhD work during Covid-19’ 31 March 2020 12:30-13:30

This is a first in a series of webinars on maintaining research activities and social engagement throughout this unusual period. The focus will be on sharing problems and finding solutions. The idea is to move beyond just a presentation format and to encourage wider participation. There will be ample opportunities to ask questions and to share and discuss each other’s needs and experiences.

The webinars in this series will always take place around lunchtime, to give you enough time in the morning to focus on work but also to encourage you to take a well-deserved break!

2. Online careers events

Webinar: Developing effective CVs and applications 2 April 13:30 – 14:30

We are replacing the Workshop on Career Networking on the 26th March with a longer version of the webinar ‘Promoting yourself through networking’ and this will include additional exercises. The presenter, Sally Beyer is exploring options to provide additional online advice on career. More details will be announced soon.

3. Further online workshops

Many of our external presenters are offering to produce online versions to replace the longer workshops in our timetable for this summer that will no longer take place. We hope to announce further details soon.

4. Online writing retreats

Online Mini Writing Retreat 1 April 2020 09:45 – 12:00

During the period of Covid-19, we are moving our meeting online. We still hope that, by setting out specific and protected time for writing, the session can provide structure to your working day and a degree of community support. Please register for further details.

5. Online presentations

Many of you will be missing out on essential opportunities to give early presentations. Perhaps you were hoping to give a first talk at the ‘Your Voice’ PGR conference? The online environment is different, but we may be able to help you to deliver your talk, with accompanying slides and possibly an audience! Don’t forget that some people have to deliver their conference presentations online and that some job interviews are also done online.

We are looking to offer two forms of events:

  1. Practice session – similarly to ‘Academic Presentation’ workshops, the aim would be to give each participant 5 minutes to present their research. After the presentation, the participant would receive friendly comments on the communication, slides, voice etc. 2.
  2. Lunchtime short conferences with each talk lasts 10-15 minutes followed by questions from audience (other participants).

We understand that many conferences have been cancelled, therefore, if you have already prepared your presentation or paper maybe this is a good opportunity to share it. We are also exploring the possibility of organising mini-online conferences for different Faculties, or different field should there be wider interest. If you were wondering about your friends’ research maybe this is the right time to encourage them to apply and share their findings with you and others.

For these sessions you need to be able to access your microphone and send us your slides in advance. The session could be recorded, but with the recordings shared privately.

If you are interested in either of the above options, please email me, Shirley Cooper, shirley.cooper@liverpool.ac.uk with your proposed talk and any questions (NB Please use your University email as I need to know who you are!)

More details about all the proposed activities will be available soon. But should you have more questions please get in touch.

Similarly, should you have any other ideas or needs, please let us know! We can provide further support and discuss your ideas! Follow us on twitter, read our blog and keep an eye on our webpage (to be updated soon). All changes and new activities will be announced through these channels.

Shirley Cooper, shirley.cooper@liverpool.ac.uk

Research Writing – how to overcome challenges?

Empty Notebook

Most PhDs often have concerns when it comes to writing. What is a good writing? How to maintain the writing pace? How to structure, edit or revise your paper or thesis? It is hard to give definite answers – writing is a personal process.

Each individual will need to approach writing differently, as you may have found when discussing writing with your peers. It is important to find out what suits you best. So, it is important to seek out advice to help you feel comfortable about your writing. Here are a few tips to begin:

  • Check the institutional requirements. These are formally defined in the University’s PGR Code of Practice, Appendix 7, which includes advice on the formatting and presentation of the thesis. The editing process might take much longer if you do not consult this early. However, you should also check out any departmental advice for your subject area, for example they may have recommended minimum word count and advice on publishing your data. You could also view previously submitted thesis within your Faculty, School, or Department and see how their thesis and the arguments are structured!
  • Write as much as possible, as often as possible. Writing is not just about the thesis! Try to practice your writing when, for example, taking notes or preparing a presentation. Write down your thoughts occasionally. It will help you structure your sentences and arguments. Good writing comes with extensive practice.
  • Don’t be afraid of feedback, ask for it, and accept the need for revision. Article or thesis editing is a continuous process, and it will follow you from the start of the thesis until the submission moment (and possibly throughout the whole career). 

LDC Team has developed a webinar series to support your writing. The timetable for these sessions follows common challenges as they appear throughout the writing process.

Research Writing – Finding motivation and making a start  09 March 12:30-13:30 

The focus of this webinar is on the initial stage of writing. Topics include overcoming procrastination and different approaches to starting the process of writing. 

Research Writing – Producing an academic document      16 March 12:30-13:30, 

The focus of this webinar is on the construction of academic document and the ways you can build a strong and convincing, yet easy to read, arguments. 

Research Writing – Managing the editing process         23 March 12:30-13:30

The focus of this webinar is on improving clarity and fluency of writing. The topics will include the development of effective editing system and different approaches to reviewing the whole document. 

Writing retreats

LDC Development hosts regular retreats for postgraduate researchers, both two hour mini-writing retreats and full day writing retreats. Together we bring our laptops and collectively write together to accomplish our writing goals. It’s a great way to avoid procrastination and gain writing confidence. Many PGRs have attended the retreats previously, with positive feedback

‘I found that without interruptions, my productivity went up.’

‘I have had trouble focussing on my work recently and feel that attending the workshops would make me set aside time for writing/planning my project.’

‘It enabled me to work better on my writing tasks as I had peers around me doing the same thing in a quiet and conducive environment.’

There are still available places for the Mini writing retreats in March and April:

Mini writing retreat                              18 Mar, 10:00-12:00

 Mini writing retreat                        27-Apr 10:00 – 12:00

The LDC Development also offers   full-day writing retreats in May/June, with full refreshments provided for those who want an intensive day to make progress with their writing, whether you are working on the final thesis write-up, on publications, or your annual reports. The communal process also provides a chance to exchange practice and learn techniques from each other.

 One-day writing retreat                27-May 10:00 – 16:00

 One-day writing retreat              02-Jun 10:00 – 16:00 

 One-day writing retreat               09-Jun 10:00 – 16:00

Check our full programme timetable for details of all upcoming workshops.

LDC Development Team 

Invitation to events at Liverpool John Moores – New dates!

Postgraduate researchers have been invited to the following events offered by the Doctoral Academy Researcher Development Programme at Liverpool John Moores University.

Note these events are all moved to late April, not in March as originally advertised.

Monday 27th April, 14:00-16:00, Writing Reflexivity

Tuesday 28th April, 10:00-12:00, Getting to Grips with Method and Methodology

Tuesday 28th April, 13:30-15:30, Focus Group Skills for Researchers

All events are in this area of Liverpool – please see the Eventbrite registration form for venues. Please register using your University of Liverpool address.

* Organised by the Library at LJMU with speakers from across Liverpool including Fatiha Bouanani from the University of Liverpool.

Peers for PhDs: Tips to gain confidence and overcome imposter syndrome

An informal discussion led by Priyanka Sakhavalkar and Mohamed Hammad.

session logo

Thurs, 27 February 2020
17:30 – 19:30 GMT

Taylor Room, Sydney Jones Library

Please register here!

‘Imposter syndrome’ is a feeling of inadequacy that persists despite evident success. If not recognised, it can cause further anxiety and stress. ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is frequently reported by PhD students. Are there times when you think you don’t belong to the academic environment? Or that most of your colleagues are better than you are? Do you ever think that only luck has brought you where you are, rather than your work, commitment and personal success?

If you feel any of these, or other similar issues, you are in the majority of PGRs. This session, led by the Peers for PhDs team, aims to encourage PGRs to open up and speak about the ‘Imposter Syndrome’. The goal is to seek mechanisms that can help us recognise the ‘Imposter Syndrome’ and to build our confidence.

Peers for PhDs is open to all PhD students at Liverpool. Contact the Peers for PhDs team to the join mailing list or come along to a session to find out more.

**Peers for PhDs is a student-led project aiming to improve PGR wellbeing at the university. We’re a welcoming and supportive group that hosts monthly meetings and regular social events with the support from Liverpool Doctoral College (LDC)**

The LDC Development programme offers two workshops with advice to help researchers overcome ‘Imposter Syndrome’ as they prepare for their ongoing career, within or outside research:

27 Feb  09:15 – 12:30  Pushing beyond imposter syndrome       (Fully
booked)
2 July 09:15 – 12:30  Pushing beyond imposter syndrome     Booking   
opens soon

Further Peers for PHDs events this year:

26th March Thursday  Supervisory & Other Working Relationships in the PhD
30th April  Thursday  Wellbeing, mental health and sleep hygiene
28th May  Thursday  Networking, communication and negotiation 
25th June  Thursday  Stress relief with mindfulness

Making the most of Academic conferences

What do conferences offer to new researchers?

  • A chance to learn of the new exciting research in your area?
  • Opportunity to meet the big names’ in your research area?
  • Chance to network with peers undertaking similar research to your own?
  • A chance to make contacts to promote your future career interests?
  • Chance to present your work to a wider audience of subject specialists?

First-time participants might feel uncomfortable joining an academic conference, with rooms full of confident academics who all seem to know each other. However, it is crucial to keep two things in mind. Firstly, all academics were once first-time participants, and they know what it will feel like for a new postgraduate researcher. Secondly, proper preparation can help you gain confidence to benefit more from the experience.

Some ways that you can prepare for conference attendance:

  1. If you are presenting a poster or paper, these will need preparation. You might ask, what can you do to help your contribution stand out? Who are the likely audience and their research areas? What they will be interested in and what questions they might ask?
  2. As an attendee you can review the  research of key speakers, maybe undertaking background reading to help you gain most from their talks and possibly ask questions. Before or nearer the time you might view attendance lists to see if there are attendees who you wish to contact.
  3. You can prepare a ‘pitch’ to support your networking, to be ready to summarise your research in a brief but convincing manner, and with enthusiasm, when you meet researchers from other institutions.

LDC Development programme opportunities

The LDC Development Team offers support for those soon to attend their first  Conference. If you find it hard to structure a presentation well, or if you have difficulties engaging in conversation with established academics, you might begin with our online resources helpful. For example, ‘The ‘Good Networking Video, for example, deals with issues related to networking and includes thoughts and experiences from PGRs and established academics. (University of Liverpool password required). Further online resources support your preparation for poster and talks:

The LDC Development Team also offers a series of Webinars and workshops in these areas. Join us to learn ways to fully engage in the Conference experience and gain practical tips that can help you prepare well for your presentations or networking.

Webinar: Preparing a Conference Poster  10 Feb       12:30 – 13:30
– An interactive session  reviewing what makes a good conference poster?

Webinar: Preparing an ‘Elevator pitch’   17 Feb          12:30 – 13:30
– An outline of the essentials to create a good elevator pitch for your networking.

Webinar: Making the Most of Academic Conferences   19 Feb         12:30 – 13:30
 – A view of conference attendance from the PhD perspective and delivered by two current PGRs .

 Pushing beyond imposter syndrome     27 Feb          09:15 – 12:30
– A workshop to help you understand your fears and develop techniques to overcome them.

Effective Networking at Conferences   3 Mar             13:00 – 16:00
  – A practical session focussing on conference networking and now to approach this, including practice to help you develop the important networking pitch!

Sessions focussing on Presentations skills

Further sessions will help you improve your presentation skills, prepare and even practice in advance of  a key presentation:

11 Feb  09:30 – 12:30   Planning and Preparing an Effective Research
Presentation
18 Feb   09:30 – 12:30   Delivering Academic Presentations
– repeated on the 17 March, and  28 April.
24 Feb   09:30 – 12:30 Webinar: Enhancing your Research Presentations
1 – defining your message
2 Mar  09:30 – 12:30 Webinar: Enhancing your Research Presentations
2 – delivery

New to PhD Research at Liverpool?

  • Are you feeling confused and disorientated at the start of your PhD?
  • Are you seeking opportunities to connect with other researchers in similar positions?
  • Are you aware of what the LDC Development programme has to offer?

Starting the PhD can often be a bewildering process as you try to find a structure and make sense of what you need to do, not just to start your research, but to manage all those various administrative processes. Unfortunately, there is no generic roadmap for the PhD.

I liken the start of the PhD to setting out on a sea voyage in an unfamiliar boat, to an unknown destination and with limited charts. You might have some guidance from your supervisor, some supervisor can be very helpful but others may have limited time. Your first trip out usually involves considerable trial and error; you will need to learn many general skills and gain new knowledge, how to handle your ‘boat/research’ , how to communicate with the ‘shore/work with collaborators’ as well learning the navigation/research skills. The first destination may not be where you expected, as research is about exploring the unknown, but, the first voyage will give you a much better idea of how to approach the next trip.

Remember; Many other PhD researchers do feel  ‘in the same boat’ !

The Liverpool Doctoral College provides a range of induction material for new starters, including the LDC Handbook, and your School or Institute should also provide an induction.  The PGR Toolbox includes the Record of Supervisory Meetings, a tool that all PhD researchers must use. There is a range of online help for this tool.

For more information see Essential University Links and a video Introduction to the LDC Development Programme

LDC Development programme

The LDC Development programme also offers sessions with opportunities to network with  researchers from across the  University and share experiences. In particular, we offer two events of specific interest to those just starting the PhD at Liverpool:

  • Webinar: Effectively Using the PGR Toolbox  5 Feb  12:30 – 13:30 – learn more about this essential tool and an opportunity for questions.
  • Taking Ownership of your PhD 11 Mar         09:15 – 16:30  – a day of activities and discussions to help you understand the processes and milestones in the PhD, working with your supervisor, planning your own professional development and starting networking.

The programme includes a range of further workshops and  webinars to help new researchers develop the wider skills, particularly in communication and productivity to succeed as a researcher. See our programme timetable for details.

Peer Support – PostGrad Society and the Peers for PhDs group

Finding support from your peers can be valuable early on in the PhD, so that you build on their experiences. You will probably find it useful to both seek both communities within your department/school or subject area and with mixed communities from other areas.

There are a couple of University PhD student groups that offer frequent meetings on campus and are open to all PhD researchers; look out for events run by the PostGrad Society and also the Peers for PhDs group, who offer facilitated discussions to share  experiences and plan to move forward.

Call for Papers: IGEL Liverpool 2020

Posted on behalf of International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature (IGEL).

IGEL 2020 biennial conference University of Liverpool , 1-4 July 2020.
Call for papers, deadline 20 FEBRUARY 2020.

The International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature (IGEL) invites submissions to the 2020 biennial conference across all areas of the empirical study of literature and media, including but not limited to, cognitive processing of literature, literature/media and culture, neuroscience and literature, literary reception, reading and emotion, historical study of literature, and corpus analysis of literature.

conference room

It will therefore be of most benefit to postgraduate researchers from HSS and HLS faculties, although all are welcome!

Submissions may be accepted either as spoken presentations (individual papers or parts of pre-organized symposia) or as poster presentations. The format of spoken presentations (whether paper or symposia) is 20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion.

For individual papers reporting research, the summary should contain a short introduction, a description of the methods used, the key results, and a brief conclusion. Although research reports have priority, individual papers that address theory development and generic methodological issues will also be considered, provided they have clear implications for empirical studies of literature. For either category of paper proposal, the summary should be 600-800 words. Note: The committee will not accept proposals based on data that have yet to be collected.

The Society also invites proposals for coordinated sets of 3-4 individual papers on a chosen topic. (See the ‘Symposia’ section on the website below for more details.) Additionally, it will consider proposals for posters that present preliminary and promising results.

Acceptance decisions will be communicated to the authors by March 20, 2020.

Submitters should also provide the following information for each submission.

  1. Author information
  2. Co-authors (if any)
  3. Three to five relevant keywords
  4. A 100-word abstract
  5. Indication of the format (poster, paper, symposium paper).

Submissions should be sent to IGEL2020@liverpool.ac.uk by January 10 2020.

EXTENDED DEADLINE: 20 FEBRUARY 2020.

Outstanding Student Paper Award.

IGEL will give an Outstanding Student Paper Award. In order to be considered for this award, the first author must be a graduate student, and the student’s supervisor must send a recommendation to IGEL2020@liverpool.ac.uk describing the student’s contribution to the research project. First authors should indicate the eligibility of their submission using the provided checkbox during the submission process. For further details, please visit our website at: http://www.liverpool.ac.uk/english/our-events/igel2020/. Links are also provided to the official IGEL homepage.

You can also follow us on Twitter: @2020Igel.

What development are you planning for 2020?

Welcome to 2020!  The LDC Development Programme is now open for Jan – March 2020

What might you achieve in the coming year? Have you made any New year resolutions? Or have you awakened to new ambitions?

The New Year is a time to revisit your personal ambitions and set new goals.  What might be possible in the coming year? And then, what can you do to  achieve these goals? Managing your project and eventually writing up on time will be important, but, what else do you need to start doing now?  Are there new activities you can join to enhance long-term prospects, and your personal life, or are there new skills you need to develop to gain these wider opportunities?

Our programme includes an early webinar, ‘Creating your own plan of professional development’ to help you start this planning process, The programme also includes range of workshops and webinars to help your development in other research related areas as follows:

Webinar and workshops to support your planning and time management:

20 Jan 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Creating your own plan of professional
development
27 Jan  12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Time-management for PhD researchers
3 Feb   12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Project Management for PhD Researchers
– an Introduction
5 Feb  12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Effectively Using the PGR Toolbox
Date to be
confirmed
09:30 – 12:30 Introduction to Project Management Tools and
Techniques
25 Feb 09:15 – 16:30 Getting Organised for Research (and Life)
by Company of Mind

Sessions to support your conference preparation, including conference posters:

10 Feb  12:30 – 13:30    Webinar: Preparing a Conference Poster
17 Feb  12:30 – 13:30   Webinar: Preparing an ‘Elevator pitch’
19 Feb 12:30 – 13:30    Webinar: Making the Most of Academic Conferences
3 Mar  13:00 – 16:00  Effective Networking at Conferences

Sessions to improve your presentation techniques. See our December blog for further information.

21 Jan 09:30 – 12:30 Delivering Academic Presentations
4 Feb     09:30 – 12:30 Delivering Academic Presentations
11 Feb  09:30 – 12:30   Planning and Preparing an Effective Research
Presentation
18 Feb   09:30 – 12:30   Delivering Academic Presentations
24 Feb   09:30 – 12:30 Webinar: Enhancing your Research Presentations
1 – defining your message
2 Mar  09:30 – 12:30 Webinar: Enhancing your Research Presentations
2 – delivery

Sessions to support your  writing, including the Mini-writing retreats to maintain that writing:

22 Jan 14:00 – 15:00 LJMU: How to write well: some tips for PGRs
29 Jan 10:00 – 12:00 Mini Writing Retreat
26 Feb 10:00 – 12:00 Mini Writing Retreat
9 Mar  12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Research Writing: Finding Motivation
and making a Start
12 Mar 09:30 – 12:30 Get going on your thesis

In addition, we will also be repeating our regular careers   sessions in March. For full list of all upcoming events view  our programme Timetable, and watch out for further blogs that highlight specific events.

Enhancing your presentation skills

How do you develop the skills to give research talks with ease and impress your audience?

Presentations are an important part of research communication,  but can be challenging for new researchers, particularly those lacking experience and confidence. Practice is often cited as a crucial method to improve your skills, but this is only one part of the development process.  You will also need to try out new ideas, in content and delivery and to regularly reflect and review your own performance.

From January onwards, we are offering a number of small group coaching sessions to help attendees review their presentation skills, recognise their assets and identify ways for future improvement. In each session, participants deliver a five-minute presentation, which is videoed, giving each a chance to view their own performance before gaining constructive feedback.

‘It was great to get positive, constructive feedback from different disciplines. Though I dislike being on camera, I admit that looking back at my own performance was very useful.’

Past participant 2019

Our sessions dates start in January. The following sessions are open for registration:

15 Jan  09:30 – 12:30 Delivering Academic Presentations
21 Jan  09:30 – 12:30 Delivering Academic Presentations

with further sessions on the 4th Feb, 18th Feb and 17th March.
full list of events for January.

NB Numbers are strictly limited for each session. Please only book if you are sure that you can attend.

Note for each workshop, you will need to prepare a 5-minute presentation to present at the workshop. Further guidance is sent by email a week before the workshop. You will gain the most benefit from this workshop if you have completed several months research and are preparing to present your work to colleagues. You will not need to present research findings or results in your presentation.

Tips for preparing presentations The LDC Development programme includes further workshops to help you prepare your presentations. Registration will open in early 2020, with links from the programme timetable.

11 Feb 09:30 – 12:30 Planning and Preparing an Effective
Research Presentation
24 Feb 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Enhancing your research presentations 1
– defining your message
02 Mar 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Enhancing your research presentations 2
– delivery
03 Mar 09:30 – 12:30 Effective Networking at Conferences

Our Presentations Theme page provides further online advice and other resources.