- 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.