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.

Peers for PhDs – December: Communication during the PhD

Tue, 10th December , 2019 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM GMT

Please register to help the group plan the session: Eventbrite registration

The theme of the sessionin December is ‘Communication’. Communication is vital for effective working relationships, but it is common for PhD students to experience challenges relating to verbal, written, or non-verbal communication in the workplace.

What is important to you when you communicate with peers, colleagues, and supervisors? How might verbal, written, or non-verbal communication issues impact your progress? Are you satisfied with the communication between you and your supervisor?

Come join us to informally discuss these issues and identify potential solutions.

Peers for PhDs aims to improve the wellbeing of PhD students by hosting regular group meetings and social events, so that postgraduate research students can support each other through the challenges of the PhD journey. It is a friendly and welcoming group, open to all current PhD students at the University of Liverpool.

LDC Development part-time Communications Officer

The LDC Development team is aiming to recruit a PGR research student at the University of Liverpool to work with the team to communicate and promote the LDC Development Programme and related events within the postgraduate research community. The role is part-time, up to one day per week equivalent. We are hoping that the post can start as soon as possible, from late January if possible.

The Liverpool Doctoral College provides a flexible Development Programme for all PhD researchers to support them in their on-going professional and personal development for their research work and their future career. The programme serves the diverse needs of our multi-faculty community and, in order to communicate with our community of stakeholders, we use a variety of communication methods including, an externally facing website, blog, Twitter and newsletters, both central and at Faculty/School level.

We are looking for an enthusiastic PGR student with good interpersonal skills who has a strong interest in their own professional development and is keen to serve the needs of the wider PGR community. In this role, you will also have the opportunity to further enhance your administrative skills and support the evaluation of our overall communications approach.

The post requires a commitment of 3.5 hours per week to be spent working in the LDC Development team office (126 Mount Pleasant) on a mutually agreed day each week, with a flexible additional 1 -3.5 hours working as required, which may be spent out of the team office.

Key responsibilities:

  • Take an active role in promoting the LDC Development Programme to the PGR community
  • Support the communication of the LDC Development Programme through preparing content for University and Faculty-level newsletters.
  • Promote the programme through preparing and scheduling blogs and other social media posts
  • Explore and implement new ways to connect and communicate with the PGR community
  • Provide communication on wider activities across the LDC
  • Ensure timely delivery of programme communications
  • Other duties commensurate with post

Essential Skills:

  • Current PGR student at the University of Liverpool
  • Experience of the Higher Education Research Environment
  • Knowledge of the Researcher Development Framework
  • Good knowledge of the training and development offered by the University of Liverpool
  • Knowledge of wider opportunities for training and development in the University
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent organisational skills; reliability and punctuality; timely communicator
  • Excellent team-working skills
  • Ability to work on own initiative
  • Commitment to equality and a desire to meet the needs of a diverse body of students

Desirable Skills:

  • Knowledge of the experiences of PGRs based in other Faculties
  • Previous experience in promotional work
  • Writing articles for public communication
  • Experience of writing for the web or writing a blog
  • Experience with social media, including twitter
  • Administrative experience

Salary: Casual worker contract, Grade5 on the University pay scale for an 8 week period in the first instance.

Applications

We would like to start this appointment as soon as possible and interested candidates are advised to apply promptly. We will close the recruitment when we find a suitable applicant. To apply for the post, please send your CV and a Cover Letter by email to Shirley Cooper, Programme Lead, Liverpool Doctoral College Development Programme. email: Shirley.cooper@liverpool.ac.uk

November is Academic Writing Month!

Join us for WriteFest19

WriteFest is an annual event established as a way to support academic writing via the #AcWriMo hashtag on Twitter.  As part of our contribution to this global event, the LDC Development Team will be running writing events throughout the month of November, with the aim of bringing people together to raise awareness and celebrate academic writing.

The programme of events will consist of a series of workshops and webinars to help you write and four writing retreats to provide you with the time and space to write. We encourage all academics, research staff, and research students to join in the write-a-thon.

WriteFest19 is a collaboration with the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Exeter, Bristol, Kings College London, Keele, Sheffield Hallam, Newcastle, Derby and Adelaide.  The festival aims to provide protected time and space for writing to help you work on:

How to Get Involved

  1. Start by searching for #AcWriMo on Twitter for inspiration and tips from fellow contributors.
  2. Use the #AcWriFest19 hashtag to share your progress with other researchers at Liverpool and across other UK Universities.
  3. Book onto one of our workshops or webinars to learn new skills and gain advice.
  4. Join us during our WriteFest Writing Retreats to put your learning into practice and keep yourself motivated through peer support.

Writing Retreats

To attend a writing retreat, choose the ones(s) that best suit your schedule and book your place through Eventbrite. Then, simply bring your laptop, or a pen and some paper, and get writing! This one-minute video outlines what the retreat sessions will, and won’t involve.

This year, we are hosting four weekly two-hour writing retreats for up to 24 people.  The retreats provides protected writing time for you to accomplish your academic writing goals. We sit together in a room and use peer accountability to help us avoid the distractions of email, social media, the internet, impending meetings, tea making, paperclip sorting, desk cleaning, lab work, or any other procrastination techniques you’ve been employing in your everyday working practice.

Please arrive in plenty of time, and stay for the full session.

Don’t forget to bring cables, chargers, adaptors and any other accessories to help keep you writing without disruptions.

**BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL**

WriteFest19 programme of events

Date & Time Event
04 November
12:30-13:30
Webinar: Research Writing: Finding Motivation and making a Start
05 November
10:00-12:00
WriteFest Retreat
11 November
12:30-13:30
Webinar: Research Writing: Producing an Academic Document
12 November
14:00-16:00
WriteFest Retreat
18 November
12:30-13:30
Webinar: Research Writing: Managing the Editing Process
20 November
10:00-12:00
WriteFest Retreat
26 November
9:30-12:30
Writing a Scientific Article
26 November
13:30-16:30
Get going on your thesis
29 November
10:00-12:00
WriteFest Retreat

Resources

Our website has a wide range of guides and resources to explore.  You may wish to start with our Communication: Writing theme webpage: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/pgr-development/themes/writing/

Writing retreat facilitator’s guide: You may also be interested in running your own writing retreats, and to help with this the Think Ahead team at Sheffield University have put together a guide to give you an idea of how to structure and facilitate the event. If you run a retreat during November, please let us know!

Articles about Academic Writing: WriteFest founder Dr. Kay Guccione has also collected articles and blogs about writing on Scoop It!

Finding your direction at the start of your PhD

Or how to take ownership of your PhD

Signpost at dawn

Starting a research degree can be an exciting time, as you are effectively beginning a journey into the unknown, making new discoveries and ultimately becoming a subject specialist in your specific field. However, this can also be a daunting time, where you may be working in a new, and sometimes isolated environment. In addition to developing subject knowledge and learn specific research techniques, you may need to develop new skills to manage your own time and project, or to enhance your wider skills in presentations, writing, creativity and critical thinking in order to communicate your research effectively, as well as to build your resilience as a researcher.

The LDC Development team offers a range of support for your development at the start of the research degree, including specific advice on those essential research skills. Our sessions will provide a greater understanding of the expectations of you, as a research student, and will help you take more control of this process yourself, to start the journey to becoming an independent and confident researcher and ultimately, to take ownership of your own PhD.

Video Introduction to the LDC Development Programme
Video introduction to the theme: Taking Ownership of your PhD

The programme includes both workshops and webinars. Our highly interactive workshops take place on the Liverpool campus and include opportunities to network with researchers across the University. The hour-long webinars are accessible online to all, on or off campus, including those who are attending research experiments.

Our Programme timetable lists all events offered this Autumn. The links on the dates below offer further information and registration for the events most relevant to new researchers:

Upcoming Workshops

  • Taking Ownership of your PhD – A full day workshop, 09:15 – 16:30
    10th Oct, 23rd Oct, 5th Nov
  • Build your PhD 17th Oct 13:00 – 16:00
  • Improving your Social Wellbeing during your PhD 19th Nov 10:00 – 15:00
  • Setting Goals for 2020 3rd Dec 13:00 – 16:00

Upcoming Webinars – all run 12:30 – 13:30

  • What to expect and what to do early in the PhD14th Oct
  • Effectively using the PGR Toolbox 1st Oct, 15th Oct, 7th Nov
  • Surviving the PhD 21th Oct
  • Time management for PhD researchers 28th Oct
  • Developing a healthy supervisory relationship 30th Oct
  • Adapting to an international research environment within the UK 6th Nov

Online Support

The LDC Development team offers a range of online resources that can be viewed by all postgraduate researchers at Liverpool and which offer advice and suggestions on wider research skills including writing, presentations, time management. This resource collection also includes packages covering research integrity and more subject-specific guidance on research methods.