New Development Events for this Autumn

We have now opened registration for further events in the LDC Development programme for the coming Autumn. All events are online and open to all PhD and MPhil researchers at the University of Liverpool and LSTM. The events include workshops for those who have recently started their PhD and also for those further on in their degree, looking to develop new skills and preparing for their ongoing career.

A full list of events open for registration can be viewed on our programme timetable. Below we provide a summary by type of event. Follow the links on each title for more information and registration.
NB Places on these workshops are limited – please only book if you can attend and record the date in your diary. Unfortunately we can rarely fill a place when people cancel the day before!

Taking Ownership of your PhD – These sessions for those who have recently begun their PhD continue and also includes a repeat of two previously offered workshops,:

03 Nov10:00 – 12:15Taking Ownership of your PhD 1: Starting the PhD
10 Nov13:00 – 1515Taking Ownership of your PhD 2 :
Project Management of the PhD
18 Nov13:00 – 15:15Taking Ownership of your PhD 5:
Working with your Supervisor
24 Nov13:00 – 15:15Taking Ownership of your PhD 6: Developing as a Researcher

Registration will open soon for the two further workshops:

Dec 2 13:00 – 1515 Taking Ownership of your PhD 7 Surviving the PhD
Dec 9 13:00 – 1515 Taking Ownership of your PhD 3 Networking as a researcher

We have a further webinar to support those gaining familiarity with the PGR Toolbox:

12 Nov13:30 – 14:30Webinar: Effectively using the PGR Toolbox

Careers sessions: Our Careers sessions this Autumn include an early ‘Bootcamp’, for those late in their PhD who are facing a difficult (but not impossible) job market, and a Career planning workshop for those earlier in the PhD.

05 Nov09:30 – 12:00PGR ‘Career Ready’ Bootcamp
12 Nov09:30 – 12:00The Career Wise Researcher
19 Nov09:30 – 12:00Using LinkedIn to Develop your Career
26 Nov09:30 – 12:00Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
01 Dec09:45 – 12:00Online Writing Retreat
03 Dec09:30 – 12:00Shining at Interview

This series includes two workshops to support researchers in building their resilience (in Dec) and looking for ways to overcome Imposter Syndrome.

Writing and analysing research papers

We have three workshops to help you prepare and start your academic writing, presented by an external presenter Dr Jen Allanson:

04 Nov09:30 – 13:00Getting your Work Published
11 Nov09:30 – 13:00Getting Going on your Thesis Writing
18 Nov09:30 – 13:00Critical Analysis of Research Papers

Project Management

We are delighted to offer a repeat of these popular webinars delivered by Dr Fraser Robertson of Fistral Consultancy:

16 Nov09:30 – 11:30Webinar:Introduction to Project Planning, part 1
– Establishing Foundations
23 Nov09:30 – 11:30Webinar: Introduction to Project Planning, part 2
– Scoping the Project
30 Nov09:30 – 11:30Webinar: Introduction to Project Planning, part 3
– Creating the Plan

Creative, constructive and critical Thinking

We are also repeating the highly enriching sessions to inspire your ways of thinking, delivered by Dr Adrian West (Company of Mind):

10 Nov10:00 – 12:30Practical Thinking for Researchers 1 – Creative Thinking
17 Nov10:00 – 12:30Practical Thinking for Researchers 2 -Constructive Thinking
24 Nov 10:00 – 12:30Practical Thinking for Researchers 3 – Critical Thinking

Becoming a Mindful Researcher: 7 and 8 Dec – A 2-day Workshop delivered by
Priyanka Sakhavalkar. Registation will open soon.

Peers for PhDs: Uncertainty and Adaptability

Weds 30th Sept 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM BST

Details and registration

The world has changed a lot in the past few months, and our university life may not be what we expected. The PhD experience is itself surrounded with uncertainty. Many of us will be working towards long-term goals in less than ideal working conditions (e.g., lack of access to offices, closed labs, less use of facilities). How do we make the best of the uncertainty?

The aim of this session is to help us understand how we can adapt to this ‘new normal’. We will be talking about different ways of adapting to the uncertainty of the research, ‘the new normal’, as well as making sure to enjoy the PhD experience under the new circumstances.

All PhD students at the University of Liverpool are invited to join the conversation. Please register in advance using your university email.

Peers for PhDs is a student-led project for people undertaking PhDs at the University of Liverpool. We aim to support wellbeing by providing more opportunities for postgraduate researchers from across the university to meet, share practical solutions to common challenges and support each through the ups and downs of the PhD.

You can be added to the mailing list to hear about future events or ask questions by contacting mohamed.hammad@liverpool.ac.uk

The Peers for PhDs team.

Introducing ‘Taking Ownership of your PhD’

A new series of online workshops for researchers in the first few months of their PhD.

For new researchers we offer a series of half day workshops presented online in Zoom. Each workshop may be taken on its own, but together they will support you to take ownership of your own PhD. Collectively the series includes:

  • Advice to settle into the PhD in the first few months to an activity to help you envisage the whole PhD
  • Guidance to manage your own working time and support to build a good working relationship with your supervisor
  • Ways to build your resilience for the challenges in research and take a professional approach to your own development
  • Starting your networking and gaining practice in introducing your research to your peers

All workshops in the ‘Taking Ownership’ series are discussion based and include opportunities to network with other researchers from across the University. The use of a microphone and webcam are recommended for use in the small group discussions

These workshops will be delivered by Dr Shirley Cooper, from the LDC Development team, working with PGR tutors, who will share their own experiences of doing a PhD at the University.

We also offer a further webinar on how to effectively the software in the PGR Toolbox.

The full timetable for these workshops is listed below. The workshops in October are open for registration (follow the link on the title)

Places will be limited. If you book and find that you can no longer attend, please cancel your place so that it can become available to another researcher.

Support for postgraduate researchers over the summer months

How is your summer going?
Are you struggling with your motivation, or with isolation or loneliness through working from home?
Are you looking for a wider community for more support?

It is now over four months since the lock-down began and many of us are still faced with a longer period of working from home. This is not any easy situation for anyone and especially if you are struggling with difficult working conditions, possibly feeling isolated or lonely, in addition to concerns about access to the essential equipment for your research. The University is progressing with plans to open up access to buildings safely, and your Schools and institutes will advise further when this is possible, but the priorities will be for research and the opening process will take time.

Most researchers find it beneficial to have contact with peers experiencing similar problems, even virtually and some of you will have your own online networks. Below we outline a range of support for those continuing to work from home over the summer, including events run as part of the development team and the support provided by the wider University and a new online workshop for those in the middle years of their PhD.

If you are experiencing serious anxieties or lasting problems with motivation, this will be a particularly difficult time. There are many people in the University who do understand and are willing to talk with you about your concerns. The University offers a range of specific support, whether from peers or in the wider University, as outlined below, and we strongly urge you to make that first contact.

Online writing retreats

Our regular writing retreats are continuing on Tuesday mornings within August, moving to fortnightly in September. These provide a structure for your writing along with the experience of community support and peer accountability. You can use the session for your writing, or any other work that you need to progress with, producing diagrams, calculations, writing code and so on.

For further details and regular email reminders, please sign up to our email list for these sessions:

Online Writing Retreat – Tuesdays 9:45 – 12:00

A further group arrange peer-led sessions in Microsoft Teams and details are shared within the Tuesday morning retreats.

Surviving the middle years – NEW online workshop

Surviving the PhD – the middle years Wed, 23 Sep 2020 13:00 – 15:15

This new online workshop is for those in the middle years of their PhD, who are past the initial excitement at the start of their PhD project, possibly experiencing loneliness and isolation enhanced by the current pandemic and who are looking for ways to maintain their motivation and productivity for the years ahead. We will use small group discussions to explore these topics and to seek practical solutions.
(Follow above link for more details)

Peer support and Peers for PhDs

Peer ambassador scheme: Many Schools and Institutes in the University run the Peer ambassador scheme where you can discuss your problems with your peers in confidence. Yours schools can advise on contact details in these cases.

Peers for PhDs is a student-led project, who work across all faculties, aiming to improve PGR wellbeing at the university, through regular meetings for those who need a chat and to share problems with other researchers. During the current lock-down the group have had regular meetings in zoom.

Date of their upcoming meetings include:

  • Thursday 6 August, 10:00am
  • Tuesday 11 August, 9:00am
  • Thursday, 20 August at 10:00 am

Details are sent to all on the mailing list. To join this list, please contact one of the three organisers:

Wider support within the university and the Student Guild

Student Services: Counselling and Mental Health Advisory Service, and Student Welfare Advice & Guidance

During Covid-19, Student Services, which includes Counselling and Mental Health Advisory Service, and Student Welfare Advice & Guidance, continue to provide support and guidance for all students. If you would like to speak to an Adviser, please email them at advice@liv.ac.uk with your name and Student ID to request a telephone appointment and an Adviser will call you back.

Student services provide a range of wellbeing resources to help you look after your mental health and to find support if you are experiencing mental health difficulties. These include strategies and tips for coping with COVID-19 anxiety. You can find further information on their website at https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/studentsupport/advice/resources/ .

International Students

There is specific advice available for international students regarding Visas available on the University COVID-19 FAQs via the ‘I am a Student’ link and under the ‘information for international students’ heading.

If you still have further questions relating to visas or other concerns as an international student, please contact the International Advice and Guidance team either via email iagteam@liverpool.ac.uk or telephone 0151 795 1000 to speak with one of the team.

They have provided specific COVID-19 FAQs query pages for the following areas:

The Student Guild provide independent support, which can include academic issues and which is also available digitally. The Guild advice team is available to all students inclusive of PGRs and currently, they are operating as a digital support service . If you require an appointment please contact the advice team via email guildadvice@liv.ac.uk to arrange a telephone or online appointment.

There is also a specific page on the support provided for postgraduate researchers by The Guild which can be found here

External services supported by the university

There is lots of self-help information, guides and online counselling services available via the university which can be incredibly helpful in managing your own mental wellbeing not only during this time, but throughout your time completing your PhD.

There is also a very good online resource ‘The Wellbeing Thesis’ developed to support PGRs with their wellbeing, learning and research.

External sources of support

Further to this there a number of support services and organisations that offer support for mental wellbeing:

Our Programme for June is open for registration!

We have a range of new sessions on offer for the coming weeks, covering topics in project planning, working with other people and career planning. Further details are provided on the links below.

Webinars providing an ‘Introduction to Project Planning

These two hour sessions are provided in Zoom by Fistral Training and Consultancy and now collectively replace the full day face to face workshop originally planned, ‘Introduction to Project Management’.

01 June 14:00 – 16:00 1. Establishing foundations
08 June 14:00 – 16:00 2. Scoping the project
15 June 14:00 – 16:00 3. Creating the plan

Online resources: Fistral also provide a series of short videos focussing on topics around project management, which free to view by all: Fistral Training ‘Exspressos videos’

Webinars on ‘Influencing without authority’

Delivered by Fistral training these two hour sessions present a mixture of informative advice supplemented by online discussions.The sessions below may be attended as a series or you may book on a single individual session.

03 June 14:00 – 16:00 1 – Mobilising your personal power
10 June 14:00 – 16:00 2 – Assertive communication 
17 June 14:00 – 16:00 3 – Making your case

Online careers-related workshops

These two hour online workshops, presented by our careers consultant, Sally Beyer, will be delivered in Zoom and will provide a mixture of advice and discussions. For further information, please follow the links below:

04 June  10:00 – 11:30 Using Linkedln to Manage Your Career
11 June  10:00 – 11:30 PGR ‘Career Ready’ Bootcamp (for final year PGRs)
25 June  10:00 – 11:30 The Career Wise Researcher (for pre-final year PGRs)
02 July  10:00 – 11:30  Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Sally will remain on-hand for a half hour at the end of each session to answer any individual questions.

Writing Retreats

Our morning writing sessions will also continue on Tuesday mornings in June, on the 2nd 9th , 16th, 23rd and 30th. For further details see the registration form below to add your name to our email list to receive reminders of upcoming dates. (NB you only need complete this form once!)

Online Writing Retreats

Peers for PhDs: Surviving the PhD AND Covid-19

Next meeting: Thursday 11 June at 10:00 AM.

NB The post below was first published 5th May 2020.

It’s week 6 of lockdown – it’s been six weeks since we left our university buildings, heads filled with disbelief and arms piled high with papers. For many PhD students, carefully planned research timelines have been scrapped. Junior researchers are in limbo, wondering how far their plans will need to adapt to this ‘new normal’, wishing things could go back to the way they were before. Although disruption has been experienced at all levels of academia, PhD students are so invested in just their one project – it’s understandable to feel that lockdown has really rocked the boat. 

As Peers for PhDs project leaders, we wanted to collect some tips for managing this time. These build on time and project management tools to help you make some progress if you are stuck. But it’s important that you look after yourself before your project – if you are struggling, speak to someone, whether your supervisor, IPAP reviewers, fellow PhD students or friends and family. We’ve included some advice on work-life balance and recognising stress, and hope you find the suggestions useful. 

Peers for PhDs is a student-led group to support the wellbeing of PhD students. We usually have regular group meetings, discussing a different theme each month as chosen by the group members. Recently we’ve moved onto zoom, and we’re meeting more often to allow more opportunities for PhD students to meet each other during this strange time. All postgraduate research students are welcome, so if you would like to join Peers for PhDs please email one of the project leaders (details below) to be added to the mailing list. 

 Our top 10 tips… 

 1. Build a comfortable working environment

First things first, are you working in a suitable environment? Is there anything that you can do to make it better? A tidy desk, an appropriate office chair, a scented candle – little touches can make all the difference to the feel of your work. If you can separate your workspace from the rest of your home, that’s even better.

2. Set your working hours

Your plan can include non-negotiable core focus hours and some fun or treats. I find I’m more likely to stick to my plans if there are perks as well as work in the schedule. Define your ‘off-time’ – you’re not expected to be on call continuously – and consider what notifications you might want to turn off over the weekend.

3. Prioritisation

To do lists are your friends, but keep them manageable – i.e. what do you have to do this month? If you’re not sure, try using the Eisenhower matrix to identify your urgent, important tasks and break down large work into smaller chunks.

5. Keep a record 

It can be helpful to record what you are doing each week, and you can archive these to look back and see how much you have done over the passing weeks. You might want to record one good thing each day, or note how you’re feeling, as a way of checking in with yourself too.

5. Let yourself off the hook

The productivity pressure is real! Avoid comparing yourself to imaginary others. Everyone has a different way of responding to these circumstances, they really are unprecedented, so it’s okay if all you’re doing right now is surviving. Don’t put more pressure on yourself than there already is.

6. Approachable goals 

It’s too easy, throughout the PhD, to set ourselves unattainable productivity goals and then beat ourselves up when we don’t manage it. Scale back your expectations – try to take baby steps in the right direction rather than a leap towards the finishing line!  

7. Pomodoro technique

Set a limited time for a task you’ve been struggling to do and set a timer – eg. 25 minutes. It’s an old trick but it’s a surprisingly effective way to make progress.

8. Connect with others 

Keep in contact with people, whether this is your supervisor, peers, friends, family, neighbours. Having a chat to break up the day is great for productivity and keeping connecting is really important for your mental health. Peers for PhDs has just started coffee mornings, which is an opportunity to meet other PhD students once a week.

9. Use technology 

There are so many productivity apps and hacks around – searching through them becomes procrastination in itself! I would recommend Mindful Browsing, which gives you gentle nudges away from distracting websites. There might be a new technical skill you’d like to learn or understand, and haven’t had time before.

10. Take a screen break

It’s important – not just for our eyesight – that we take some time away from the screens too. Can you mark some separation between work, play and sleep? Taking a whole day away from technology is an interesting challenge at the moment – but you might be surprised at the difference it makes.

Peers for PhDs is running regular coffee mornings each week. It’s a great start to the day and a relaxed way to meet people who understand the stresses of the PhD. You can join the mailing list or ask questions by emailing one of the project leaders:

Natasha Bradley natasha.bradley@liverpool.ac.uk 
Ella Fox-Widdows ella.fox-widdows@liverpool.ac.uk  
Mohamed Hammad mohamed.hammad@liverpool.ac.uk

Past dates of next Peers for PhDs meeting: 

  • Tuesday 5th May: 9:00 am
  • Thursday, 14 May: 10:00 am
  • Tuesday, 19 May: 9:00 am
  • Thursday, 28 May: 10:00 am
  • Tuesday, 2 June: 9:00 am

The LDC Development team have recently announced their programme for May, continuing the Writing retreats and introducing interactive Mindfulness sessions.

Natasha, Ella and Mohamed

People skills, facilitation, writing retreats, … and more in May

Our programme for May contains a varied range of opportunities, online workshops, writing retreats and shorter sessions, to support your development and to support your well-being in this time of uncertainly and to help maintain a sense of continuity.

Online workshops – Working with difficult people

The Company of Mind are providing a series of three shorter online workshops for the originally offered full day workshops, ‘Working with difficult people’. These online workshops will be presented in the Zoom software and will provide a mixture of ideas and interactive activities, with a further half hour at the end of each workshop for questions and discussion.

1: Wednesday, 13 May 2020 10:00 – 12:00 – Online workshop “People – Similarities”

2: Thursday, 21 May 10:00 – 12:00 – Online workshop ” People – Differences”,

3: Friday, 29 May 10:00 – 11:30 – Online workshop ” People and Change”

Follow the above links for further details and registration.

Facilitation

Would you like to learn more about the role of an effective facilitator? Facilitation skills are an essential part of the toolkit for managing group discussions, whether in formal or informal meetings and in group teaching, as well as for tutoring on our development programme.

.20 May 12:30 – 14:00 Webinar: Facilitation skills for working online

This webinar forms part of the LDC Development tutor scheme and, following this session we hope to provide opportunities for further practice in online facilitation.

Online presentations practise: We are providing second opportunity to gain practise in delivering online presentations in a friendly environment, with supportive feedback. Please contact me directly, shirley.cooper@liverpool.ac.uk if you have any questions or suggestions.

06 May 09:30 – 12:30 Online Presentations practice session

Online Writing retreats

Our online writing retreats are continuing in May with sessions every Tuesday morning. These retreats provide a structured period for writing between opportunities for group discussions at share concerns and gain a sense of camaraderie.

  • 05 May 09:45 – 12:00
  • 12 May 09:45 – 12:00
  • 19 May 09:45 – 12:00
  • 26 May 09:45 – 12:00

We will be supplementing these retreats with shorter sessions to discuss different aspects of writing. Further information will be circulated to those on the email list.

Please note that we are using a single Eventbrite form for these retreats, which will serve as an email list. You only need to sign up once to this form, without obligation to attend specific events (The event date will regularly update, but this is solely so that the date of the next retreat appears in Liverpool Life!)

Brilliant Club

The Brilliant club are now recruiting PhD researchers as tutors in local schools for 2020-21. To find out more details, come to one of their webinars:

20 May 11:00 – 12:00 Webinar: Introduction to the Brilliant Club

This webinar will outline what the Brilliant Club does and the advantages of getting involved in this scheme. Further details are provided in our blog on the above link.

Mindfulness Interactive workshops

Following on from the workshop on Mindfulness techniques, we are offering weekly 30 minute yoga based  interactive sessions in May to help you develop a positive mindset and practice meditation. Presented by Priyanka Sakhavalkar, these sessions will include a mixture of relaxation and guided meditation

The sessions will run on Thursdays at 12:00 on the 7th,14th ,21th and 28th May.

To sign up for further information to join these events, please register on the Eventbrite form for these workshops.

Peers for PhDs

In May the group are hosting coffee mornings on alternative Tuesday and Thursdays as follows:

  • Thursday 30th April
  • Tuesday 5th May
  • Thursday 14th May
  • Tuesday 19th May

For further details please email Natasha Bradley at Natasha.Bradley@liverpool.ac.uk.

All postgraduate researchers at Liverpool are welcome to join any of the above events. Further events for June will be announced in our Programme Timetable, and communicated through this blog, PGR News @Liverpool, and on twitter at @livuniPGRDev.

Our new online programme for April

We are pleased to announce a range of new online workshops, webinars and writing retreats for April, following the cancellation of all face to face workshops for the remainder of the academic year.

Al postgraduate researchers at Liverpool are welcome to join any of the events below. Further events for May and June will be announced soon and the dates will be be listed on our Programme Timetable, and communicated through this blog, PGR News @Liverpool, and on twitter at @livuniPGRDev.

Online workshops and webinars

We have expanded on our planned webinars for April, as follows:

16 Apr 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Using Twitter for Academic Purposes 
22 Apr 10:00 – 12:00 Mindfulness techniques to support self-isolation 
(Online workshop)
29 Apr 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Time-management techniques for
working in isolation

In addition, the Company of Mind have agreed to provide a series of three shorter online workshops for each of the originally offered full day workshops, ‘Practical thinking for researchers’ and ‘Working with difficult people’. These online workshops will be presented in the Zoom software and will provide a mixture of ideas and interactive activities, with a further half hour at the end of each workshop for questions and discussion. The first set of workshops are as follows:

08 Apr 10:00 – 12:30 Practical Thinking for Researchers, 1 –
Creative Thinking (Online workshop) – FULLY BOOKED*
16 Apr 10:00 – 12:30 Practical Thinking for Researchers, 2 –
Constructive & Practical Thinking (Online workshop)
24 Apr 10:00 – 12:30 Practical Thinking for Researchers, 3 –
Critical Thinking (Online workshop)

Each of these online workshops may be booked and taken separately. *Priority booking for the first session on the 8th April has been given to those who registered for the workshop for 31st March, and who will receive an email with further information.

Online presentations practise: We are also providing an opportunity to gain practise in delivering online presentations in a friendly environment, with supportive feedback. This first session will be trial session, please contact me directly, shirley.cooper@liverpool.ac.uk if you have any questions or suggestions.

28 Apr 09:30 – 12:30 Online Presentations practice session 
(Online workshop)

Online Writing retreats

During the period of Covid-19, we will need to meet virtually, but we hope that by setting out specific and protected time for writing, with set periods of discussion and silence, we give those attending a chance to motivate each other and feel part of a wider, supportive community. Each session will begin with a short general discussion for those attending to share any concerns or good practice.

The upcoming sessions are as follows:

08 Apr 09:45 – 12:00 Online Writing Retreat
15 Apr 09:45 – 12:00 Online Writing Retreat
21 Apr 09:45 – 12:00 Online Writing Retreat
27 Apr 09:45 – 12:00 Online Writing Retreat

Please note that we are using a single Eventbrite form; by signing up to this form, you will receive regular updates on this part of the programme and are not committed to attending on any specific date.

Methods webinars from LJMU

Liverpool John Moores University have kindly opened their series of webinars on methods to postgraduate researchers at the University of Liverpool. Further details and booking below:

27th April, 14.00-16.00 Writing Reflexivity

28th April, 10.0-12.00 Getting to Grips with Method and Methodology

28th April, 13.30-15.30 Focus Group Skills for Researchers

Please use your University of Liverpool email address when you register for any of the above events.

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