PhD – the basics’

This short series of sessions are designed for candidates commencing their studies. They cover some of the fundamentals of the PhD thesis, including research design, literature review, and the problems of supervision – all the things you will need to be thinking about as you begin your studies.   

The sessions are informal and you are welcome to drop into them on an individual basis, or attend the entire series. Some of the topics may well be covered by your own institutions or department. You may, however, find a different angle on the same topic useful. 

Further sessions may be added depending on interest (these sessions are being trialled this year).  

Sessions topics will cover: 

  1. Getting the most from your supervisions – including: models of supervision, managing your supervisor, effective documentation and note-taking; understanding negotiation strategies; setting the agenda. Monday 18th October 2021, 4-5pm
  1. Shape of the PhD and Explanatory Strategies – In this session we will ask: what is a PhD? What is it to write a PhD?  We will look at questions of form, structure and content, and problems of authorship. We will ask: how is a research degree different from a taught degree?  What does it mean to make a significant new contribution to knowledge, and how will you go about doing it? What kinds of explanatory strategies are there and which are most relevant to your project? Monday 25th October 2021, 4-6pm
  1. Reading Critical Theory – this session will explore strategies for coping with ‘difficult texts’: how to read them, and how to engage with them critically. We will explore the origins of critical theory, what critical theory is trying to do in relation to the task of the ‘critique’ of society, and the social production of meaning. Wednesday 3rd November 2021, 10am-12pm
  1. What is an Essay? – in this session we’ll look at the nuts and bolts of writing an academic essay, including how to structure an argument, and how to organise your material. The session is designed for anyone who wants to refresh basic skills, or is coming into the PhD from a nonconventional route and is unsure of academic conventions. It will be of use for writing standalone essays or preparing chapters of the thesis. Monday 8th November 2021, 4-5:30pm
  1. Literature review – positioning yourself in the field: this session tackles one of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of writing a thesis – dealing with existing literature in the field. We will ask: what is the function of the literature review in the context of the thesis, and how to best go about preparing it? Monday 15th November 2021, 4-5:30pm

The sessions will take place remotely via Zoom. Please click here to register

The deadline for booking a place will be 12pm on the Friday before each session (with the exception of the session 3, bookings for this will close at 12pm Tues 2nd November).

Back to the top