The Cook, the Chef and the Thesis

Cooking to a recipe

Following the recipe

In my office there has been a lot of discussion relating to The Great British Bake Off (GBBO for short) – for those who haven’t been exposed to this programme, it features a number of amateur bakers battling it out week by week to impress the judges with their creations.

All this talk of cooking reminds me of an issue that is bugging me in the world of doctoral research that I have been meaning to write about for some time. It’s around the  purpose of a thesis in demonstrating that a candidate has progressed from being an amateur to a competent researcher. This blog post is a work in progress…

In early 2015 the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) published the results of a survey The Role of Publications and Other Artefacts in Submissions for the UK PhD – which looked at the diversity of doctoral theses and what elements go into the assessment of whether the candidate has demonstrated “doctorateness“.

I think this is a fascinating debate because the Arts and Humanities disciplines have long been grappling with how to demonstrate doctoral achievement in practice-based and practice-led research in the submission for examination.

But there are also worrying noises in this debate pertaining to the sciences questioning the need to write a thesis in the traditional sense that was summed up in this article from the Times Higher, PhD: is the doctoral thesis obsolete?

The debate is about inclusion of published papers as part of the thesis. Some scholars want the submission of published papers to constitute the entire thesis – dispensing with “the filler” that is viewed as wasted effort.

Why do I worry?

I think it’s a little too convenient for some supervisors to have doctoral researchers churn out papers rather than focussing on writing a thesis – it does no harm to the volume of research outputs attributable to them. I fear it reduces the researchers’ work to a formulaic approach of reportage of results without any real contextualisation of their work.

I am noticing that more doctoral researchers are being asked to resubmit at viva, and often this because of a lack of breadth in the thesis – the candidates cannot express how their work fits into the bigger picture because they don’t have enough knowledge of the foundations that their work is built upon.

It pushes researchers in the direction of being technically competent but lacking in wider understanding of their work.

I fear it pushes researchers to be like a cook – able to accurately reproduce a recipe as written – instead of a being like a chef who has the foundational knowledge to create recipes from first principles.

I’m still working on the analogy but let me know what you think.

Getting Published – strategies for successful researchers

Research journals on a shelf

Research journals on a shelf

This week UWE put on a workshop aimed at research students and staff on the topic of getting research published.

Setting the scene

We’ve run this particular workshop for the past 10 years in which time the landscape of scholarly publishing has changed (and is still). This time we invited a number of contributors to offer different perspectives on getting published. Richard Goodman, Leila Moore and Jo Billings from Taylor & Francis publishing group came along to give their perspectives as Managing Editors of a number of journal titles. Professor Andy Adamatzky and Professor Richard McClatchey, two experienced academics and journal editors gave their insights as academic researchers.

Challenging the publish or perish rhetoric

I also gave my perspective on this, being a former researcher who now supports the development of early career researchers and an advocate of open research.

Much of my presentation (below) was drawn from what Professor Pat Thomson has to say on writing for peer reviewed journals and the differences between that and writing a doctoral thesis. In particular I found elements of her book, co-authored with Barbara Kamler, Writing for Peer Reviewed Journals: Strategies for getting published really useful in framing this session.

Part of the research landscape is the obsession with metrics which many fear are driving the wrong sorts of behaviour in higher education. There are many people who share my unease about advice given to early career researchers – it goes along the lines of ‘find the highest status journal with the biggest impact factor in your field and publish there at all costs’. I think this doesn’t take into account of the changing face of scholarly publishing and makes it more difficult for researchers to start the process of getting their reputation out there. I believe that researchers need to disenthrall themselves with the idea that journal impact factors are a good indicator of research quality.

It can’t be ignored that a publication record is important in academia but I think the focus should come back to the purpose of scholarly writing and understanding who it is you are writing for. I talked about how difficult it can be to write for peer reviewed journals, it is hard because it requires a different approach to that of writing a thesis or writing an application for funding because the reader is different in all those cases. The context is the key thing here.


Here’s the slides I used on the day.

A publishers’ point of view

Richard Goodman then gave a publishers’ point of view on the publishing process giving an useful overview of the mechanics. There was recognition that the open access agenda is changing things and that publishers will have to adapt their practices to accommodate the shift. The slides he and his colleagues used are included here:

Many researchers fall at the first hurdle when submitting a manuscript to a journal simply by not understanding the scope and format that the journal accepts – reading and understanding the journal’s guidelines/instructions for authors is an essential step.

The changing landscape of scholarly publishing

Probably the easiest way (and my preferred way) of explaining the changing nature of research is through the medium of Piled Higher and Deeper Comics

It’s important to place scholarly publishing in the wider context of the drive to be more open and transparent with research – not just with removing barriers to the outputs of research but opening up the whole research process.

Funders of research in the UK have applied some pressure for this change by incorporating the requirements to be open into the conditions of funding but I think it is also worth pointing out that open research is good for the researcher themselves.

Using digital tools to boost your reputation

A key factor in the changing landscape is to use the tools at your disposal to promote your research, the outputs and indeed your interests as a researcher. There was some discussion about how you can do this (see the Taylor and Francis presentation) and I also run a further workshop on this entitled The Digital Researcher. The next one is in February.

Jorge Cham of PHDcomics helps explain the issue of communication.


Academics’ point of view on publishing

Richard McClatchey and Andy Adamatzky gave a short and valuable insight to how experienced academics approach publshing and indeed academic writing as part of their daily work. Their tips are summarised here.


Further resources and advice

1. Help and resources for authors from Taylor & Francis

2. Vitae Researcher Development Website on publishing your research (login required)

3. Why Open Research – new website for open researchers

4. JISC resources to help researchers with open access

5. Facilitate Open Science Training for European Researchers (FOSTER) – European-wide project supporting open research across Europe

First Steps to Small Group Teaching

Today teaching in front of classI ran a session for researchers entitled “First Steps to Small Group Teaching”. This is a workshop that hopes to serve as an introduction to the role of teaching assistant/demonstrator/seminar leader/stand-in lecturer. My first disclaimer is that I am not an expert in educational research and/or the politics of learning & teaching. What I do have though is 12 years experience of teaching in various guises, demonstrating, lecturing, training and facilitating – the latter have been my life for the last 10 years.

I set out to introduce some basic principles that I think are important to know. Mostly the participants in the session were either research students or early career research (only) staff who had some experience of teaching undergraduate and/or taught postgraduate students in one way or another. Some were keen to learn more about how to be a ‘better’ teacher with a view to securing an academic position.

I started out the session by gathering the experience of the folks attending and talking about the challenges that teaching presents. We also talked about what the opportunities might be from teaching, some clearly had an idea that it might be seen favourably if applying to be a member of academic staff with a mix of teaching and research – I did forewarn that the balance of teaching is heavy when more junior as more experienced academics seem to only want to offload their teaching to focus more on their research interests.

As it happens there was a relevant live chat about this topic on the Guardian Higher website . I believe there is an inherent problem in universities – academics are not generally rewarded with promotion for their success or otherwise in teaching – it is their research outputs that determine many things:- the papers, the grants won, the research students supervised etc etc that really count. Yet, there are those who continually perpetuate the idea that the more research intensive an institution, the better the quality of the teaching… something doesn’t quite add up there!

We also took a bit of a diversion into discussing Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI) and how awareness of ones own preferences might give us some food for thought about the relationship between student and teacher/lecturer and/or (perhaps more importantly) the relationship to ones own supervisors. UWE students and staff can access an MBTI test called “Profiling for Success” through the UWE Careers InfoHub.

There have been a few interesting articles about Introverts which (I personally have found) are somewhat controversial in their suggestion. This about Introverts in the academy is a case in point!

The main concern, I think, of many a researcher remains how to teach without looking the fool.

Here are the main themes of the day in the slides I used:

A couple of other resources to look at:-

I suppose the main points are these:

  • We all prefer to learn in different ways
  • There are lots of “theories” or models out there that try to describe that
  • Most of them are paper thin in terms of evidence
  • Students (especially undergraduates) tend to adopt strategies to learning
  • These strategies tend to override preferred styles (driven by motivation)
  • There is nothing inherently wrong with these strategies – perhaps we (as teachers) dislike “surface” learners the most though!

I’m a scientist by training so I don’t recognise the phrase “theory” as applied to the scenarios above, I found this site that explains my reticence and challenges the assumptions made in these models.

Learning Styles Don’t Matter

We talked a while about the use of visual aids, powerpoint as a tool that can be used and misused came up more than once and prompted me to show this video clip:

We also looked at a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson, partly because of the perspectives he brings about education and partly it was a chance to see an engaging presentation style that uses humour, anecdote, poetry, insight yet no powerpoint….

His earlier TED talk from 2006 is just as engaging and personally relevant to me as a parent but as he says, aren’t we all interested in education?

I then moved on to talk more about the difference between teaching and being a trainer, facilitator and coach. The main difference for me is the latter require less telling but more asking and listening to the group. We spent a lot of time talking about “crowd control”, i.e. how do you manage a group of people in a learning environment. It brought back memories I had of the NUS run program “Training the Trainer” that was part of the National Student Learning Programme (NSLP) on which I both learned how to be a trainer and subsequently contributed to as a tutor. Within that program was a session entitled “Dealing with nightmare trainees” – somes tips to deal with disruptive/disengaged folks that we all come across from time to time.

We ended up by having just one more look at a TED talk, this time by Benjamin Zander. This is one of my favourite talks because it represents why enthusiasm and passion for what you do is so important to being able to enthrall others or to get them to think, do or feel something different as a result of your input as a teacher/trainer/facilitator. That, I think, is what we should be aiming for…

Digital Researcher #druwe

Social media on electronic displayThis week I ran a workshop at UWE on the use of social media in the context of research. This workshop is along similar lines to a workshop that I ran in February 2012 for researchers and a workshop at the Vitae Conference in September 2012 for researcher skills developers from across the country.

Some context then about this workshop; researchers are changing the way they use digital tools in the context of their research. There is lots of work going on as part of the wider JISC Developing Digital Literacies programme including work being carried out by Vitae to better understand the development needs of researchers.

I’m interested in the digital literacy of researchers for a couple of reasons:

1) It surely makes sense to better understand how researchers use digital tools in the context of research so that we are better able to support them

2) I believe that these digital tools are key to researchers building their own professional profile in an increasingly competitive academic research environment.

The slides I used to support this workshop are below.

Prezi for #druwe

Prezi for #druwe


We started out the morning by highlighting some of the hopes & fears that researchers have about using social media tools… I predicted that the fears would fall into three broad categories:

  1. Information overload – the fear that engaging in social media would be too much information to keep track of
  2. Digital Identity – concern over what to share about oneself, privacy issues and the blurring of private versus professional
  3. Data/intellectual property concerns – what happens if I share something that someone else exploits/stealing of ideas
Hopes and fears

Hopes and fears


Basic overview of what is out there

Getting research out there

To become more aware of others with similar interest & activities to my own

Catch up with colleagues who use twitter/blogs naturally

Which button do I press?

How to quantify opinion (or research data) gathered via social media tools


Maintaining privacy

Managing a digital reputation

How do I edit the digital me?

Will this become another distraction?

Digital Identity

We spent some time discussing online identity, how to balance the “personal me” vs the “professional me”, how different tools lend themselves to different purposes and how actively managing information about yourself is a good thing to do.

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it”.Erik Qualman



We asked the participants to use twitter to interact with their networks using the hashtag #druwe

Power of networks

We discussed a little bit of network theory, illustrated by this video for a TEDx talk by Zella King

Managing information overload

We had a look at portals and aggregators to help manage information streams.

Using social media tools in research

There is increasing concern about ensuring rigour when using digital tools to gather research data. At UWE, we have some guidance available on the Research Ethics pages. I think there is still some way to go to understand better how this area of social media use can be supported.

We discussed how research is social & iterative, the benefits of engaging with folks far and wide about your research outputs and how to use tools to make the finding out about knowledge a little easier. We had a play around with some social citation tools, e.g. CiteULike, Zotero & Mendeley


We discussed why folks blog – a variety of reasons including:- organising thoughts, mind dump, getting feedback at an early stage etc.

This blog is a just one such example!


Summed up with “Common sense!”

Other sources of information

Here’s a list of things that I have come across recently on the topic of social media in research (clearly not exhaustive!):-

A blog about blogging in an academic research context from Imperial College – some really interesting advice and guidance here.

The Networked Researcher blog site which promotes the use of social media tools for researchers – “Digital Professionalism – what not to share”

The British Library – Help for Researchers – “Web 2.0 as a social science research tool”

The Guardian Higher Education site – discussing benefits of blogging as a researcher – “How blogging helped me find my research voice”

The Research Information Network site – “Social Media: A Guide for Researchers”

The Vitae/Open University “Social Media Handbook for researchers and supervisors”

Thanks to the researcher who attended both physically and virtually!

The Art & Science of Communication

This week UWE put on a two-day intensive course for researchers on the topic of communication. The intention behind this was to go beyond a regular ‘presentation skills’ course, more to have a nose under the bonnet of communication to examine the fundamental principles that could be used to craft a range of effective messages suited to the purpose at hand. Researchers find it challenging to find ways of engaging others in the research they do for fear of losing its academic rigour.

I brought in Piero Vitelli from Island 41 to shape the course into something of real substance that would be of value to the participants. Piero used the analogy of the course being a bit like Sachertorte, an incredibly rich and calorie packed chocolate cake to describe the deliberate attempt to put a lot of content into the two days.

Speaking of packing content or data into a short space of time, here’s a clip that should demonstrate that it doesn’t matter how complicated your data is, it is important to make it accessible.

Over the two days we set out to try and understand the secret behind impactful, engaging communication of research.

The following notes summarising the course are reproduced here with permission from Piero.

The basic model of communication we put forward was as follows:

comms model

More often than not, when we set about preparing a piece of communication we pay too little attention to the upper half of the pyramid, we focus on the content; the “what” of our communication.

We spent a lot of time looking at the “why” of our communication or in other words, what is behind our motivation to tell others about our research, what are our values, what do we stand for. I’ve written about this sort of thing before, it comes down to asking yourself “why”. This then informs “how” we might go about delivering the content.

Much of the rest of the course was about looking at the techniques and/or qualities of effective communication– getting into the mechanics of it all.

The other major talking point of the course was around the issue of confidence. Everyone talks about the need to feel more confident when giving presentations and most people assume that others have more confidence than they. It’s a weird thing but a presenter’s job is not to feel comfortable but to give every fibre of their being to the audience, to forget how uncomfortable it feels.

Only others can give confidence because it is, after all, about being “with trust” (latin:- Con fidere), so literally only others can have trust in you. You can see this demonstrated in this clip featuring Paul Simon playing a concert in Toronto when he invites a fan on stage (named Rayna) to play the song she requested (“Duncan”) because it was the one she learned to play guitar on… watch how Paul Simon has trust in her and provides the encouragement.

How ‘confidence’ really works?

Some last thoughts, I really enjoyed the stories, the metaphors and the analogies used by various folks throughout the two days. I was amazed by the risks that the participants took in trying things out to explain, illuminate, highlight or inspire about research to bring things to life. Here’s one picture that springs to mind: what you see (the number 6, the maths symbol sigma or the number 9) all depends on your perspective…

Is it a six, a nine or a sigma? - depends!

Is it a six, a nine or a sigma? – depends!

Further resources

The following publication is actually a piece of research about the art of presentations among public interest professionals. It is equally as relevant to academia and has some of the best advice contained within around “chunking”, taking audiences on a journey from A->B, considerations about the use of visual aids etc. And it’s free.

Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes (free download)


A blog site about all things presentation related. It’s a must read…

Presentation Zen


Image Attribution

Sachertorte by _chris_st available from Flickr at under a creative commons 2.0 licence. Full details

The progression exam

Under the spotlight

Under the spotlight

This week I ran a workshop for our research students entitled “The Progression exam”. This is a formal milestone in the research degree journey that pretty much every doctoral candidate at any university will have to overcome. Some call it a “transfer” exam, others a “progression viva” but whatever the nomenclature they all have an aim similar to the following: –

a formal test of progress in the early stages to ensure a suitable basis for continuation on the programme has been established

I have run this workshop numerous times in the past and there have been one or two changes in how progression at UWE is now monitored.

Whenever I run a workshop on this topic or the related “Writing up” or “The Final Viva” workshops I always try to do two things:-

1) Provide knowledge about the process

2) Reduce anxiety by reassuring doctoral candidates

Recently at UWE we established a Graduate School at UWE with a new (and hopefully improved) web presence that puts all the information about research degrees in one place. We have created sections that relate to the major milestones including the progression exam.

Disclaimer: One should read my post in conjunction with the latest rules governing PG Research study.

Those rules are set out in section K of the UWE Academic Regulations here.

The slides that I used in the workshop are below:

Recent changes

From October 2013, all new research degree candidates will be subject to a slightly amended progression exam process where the option of re-submission (a time limited referral step) is now available to the examiners. Full details about this are on the  Graduate School website. Other recent changes are summarised below.

  1. When a progression report has been submitted, a viva will automatically follow
  2. Two independent examiners are appointed for a progression exam, one of whom will be designated the Principal Reviewer
  3. The Principal Reviewer may be used in subsequent progress review stages including the final viva voce examination if this is appropriate

Any queries about how the progression exam is arranged, the paperwork etc can be found by contacting the team in the Graduate School Office

Director of Studies Update

Successful supervision of research

Successful supervision of research

This week the Graduate School ran a short session for experienced doctoral supervisors who perform the role of Director of Studies (DoS) at UWE, Bristol. The intention of these sessions is to provide a way for colleagues to bring themselves up to speed with the changes in postgraduate research study, particularly with respect to the policy landscape and the institutional response to those changes.

We started out with a wide lens, how the Bologna Process has shaped a number of things at doctoral level and moved onto how the regulatory bodies in the UK assess compliance and/or adoption of these principles. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) have a Quality Code that sets out the expectations of UK universities who offer research degree programmes.

The presentation that I used to support the session can be found by clicking on the image below (redirects to the prezi website).

DoS update

We spent a little time talking on how support for postgraduate research study has been reorganised at UWE with the creation of the Graduate School and the associated website that has all things relating to the doctoral process on it including guidance and regulations, all the forms for research degrees and a whole programme of skills development events.

The session moved onto reflecting on the changes that have been implemented around recruitment and selection, project registration, progress review, teaching support and the final assessment process (appointment of examiners, submission of the thesis etc).

During the session, we shared some of the results and subsequent actions in light of student feedback, principally via the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) conducted in 2013. This survey will run again in 2015 and will provide us with some feedback about how the Graduate School is impacting on PGR provision.

One of the areas that many universities struggle with is the section on research culture. It is the theme which scores lowest across the board when looking at the aggregate data. It is hard to understand what can be done to improve the situation because I believe there are many factors that contribute to research culture – it’s partly about the status of PhD students (are they doctoral candidates, students, early career researchers, valued members of staff?), partly about facilities and infrastructure (do I have an office, computer, desk – somewhere to call my own?), partly about the sense of isolation in carrying out doctoral research (the top complaint about being a doctoral researcher) and partly about the role played in university structures (in departments, research centres and/or groups).

At the Graduate School we are continually trying to improve the sense of community of doctoral researchers by using online tools where possible. The skills development offering are mostly available via video conference as well as face to face, a twitter presence, a facebook group and this blog.

There is clearly some way to go but I think we are moving in the right direction.

Perfect Posters! A guide for researchers

The perfect poster guaranteed!

The perfect poster guaranteed!

This week I ran a workshop at UWE on the topic of putting together posters for the purpose of presenting research at conferences. I deliberately called this “Perfect Posters” because I had a sneaking suspicion that it might draw folks in and it did! So I began by telling the researchers that there probably isn’t such a thing as a perfect poster, there is no ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’, just a range of approaches that are more effective than others at communicating the intended message.

Researchers are often confused about what posters are for, so I spent some time discussing, debating and/or arguing about what they are & why conferences increasingly have them as part of a programme.

Posters are a way of presenting one or two central themes of your work using images and text with the objective of encouraging conference attendees to enter into a dialogue with you about your research. It is hard enough to achieve this in an ideal setting but the additional challenge for poster presentations are that they are often held in less than ideal conditions. It was also discussed at some length what they are not, they are not simply a reorganisation of a journal article onto one sheet of paper, they are not the same as an oral presentation. It requires a different way of thinking and, honestly, a lot of preparation time in order to put one together.

Here is an audiocast of the main themes contained in the prezi (which is embedded below). I hope you find it useful.

Here is the prezi I used, embedded below.

The rest of the session was covering hints and tips for putting together posters, here are those tips: –

1) Think about your purpose. What are you trying to achieve? Try to avoid presenting everything that you have done, think of a take home message and build from there.

2) Think about your audience. It is unlikely that your audience will be all in the exact same area of research as you, it more likely that some will be in broadly the same area, some will be in related areas and some will be non specialist. This means think about the language and/or jargon that you use or rather do NOT use. Use of plain language is not the same as dumbing down, if noone understands your research, how will it be useful??

3) Think about your space. Find out how big your display area will be before you start to put the poster together! An obvious tip perhaps but one often ignored.

4) Think about pictures. The saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words” so consider the use of images, diagrams, photographs that can give the reader information better than reading lines of text.

5) Think about text size. Bigger is better! A poster is not the same as reading from a page, it is read from a distance so text needs to be increased accordingly.

6) Think about using less verbiage. Think back to your central message, edit, edit, edit and then edit some more. If anything doesn’t back up the central message then dump it.

7) Think about colour. Some colour is good, it can help to orient the reader around your poster and make things stand out. BUT be careful, many posters can be hindered by garish colour schemes!

8) Think about where to place different sections in your poster. Use headings to help guide the reader. Popular convention appears to be to arrange images and words in the same format as a magazine article, broadly in columns. However there is no rule that states you have to follow this convention, organise your poster in a way that maximises impact but make sure that the reader is left in no doubt of where to look, you need to provide a visual grammar so to speak.

9) Think about titles. Academic convention seems to be that the longer a title is, the more impressive it is. In fact, many go as far as inserting a colon into the title so that it can be made even longer! Think about your purpose, you want to attract people to read your poster and talk to you, not run a mile from an incomprehensible title, so keep it short, intriguing and inviting.

10) Think about doing the small things. Can you take a handout of your poster and/or a relevant research article that explains something in more detail to give to interested people. It will free up your poster to focus on the main message without getting bogged down. Be enthusiastic about your research, no matter how many times you have to explain the same thing. It matters.

These are just a few tips to be going on with, I dipped into a few resources to help me with this:-

Creating effective poster presentations – George Hess, Kathryn Tosney & Leon Ligel

How do I create an effective scientific poster? – Bandwidth

Preparing Scientific Illustrations: A guide to better posters, presentations and publications – Mary Helen Briscoe

P.s. I also trawled Google Images for some examples of research posters which I now include below. I shall call this, “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly”. You can decide for yourself which ones are which, okay?

Project Management in a Nutshell

It's a nutshell

Acorn in a nutshell

Last week I ran a 3 hour workshop for researchers entitled “Project Management in a Nutshell”. This is a variation of a workshop that I have delivered to a number of different audiences. The problem for me is that project management is littered with jargon that makes it seem very daunting to the uninitiated. Add to this you have very complicated-sounding schemes like PRINCE2 which just fuel the mystique!

The reality is that PRINCE2 is a methodology, a process-driven mechanism which does little to inform anyone of the basic principles of good project management, it’s a bit like trying to follow a recipe from a gourmet chef without any basic cooking skills. So my focus for this workshop was to de-mystify some of the language and to concentrate on the important fundamental elements.

The slides I used are embedded below.

Some basic hints and tips then:

  1. Know who your stakeholders are, what they want and how to manage them. Unless you meet their needs and expectations, the project won’t be successful.
  2. Define the scope and get it agreed up front. This sets the boundaries of the project, what you will do and (more importantly) what you will NOT do. The most common reason for projects to be late, over budget or below par on quality is because someone changes the scope part way through.
  3. Once you have a scope, you have to break down what needs to be done into small enough chunks so that it can be monitored – need to be thorough here, no room for being vague
  4. When all the tasks are worked out then it’s time to take stock and ask the question, what could possibly go wrong? In other words conduct a risk assessment on your project, how likely is it to go wrong and what impact will it have. If both likely to go wrong and completely de-rail things, then it’s time for a plan B!
  5. Having said that, it’s perfectly acceptable to entertain some risk in a project – without risk there is no innovation
  6. A plan is a plan, it is not a fixed thing but it helps you to keep on top of where things are. Important as the project manager to have the oversight, don’t let others change the plan without discussion.
  7. Plans can and do change, it is almost a certainty in research that things will deviate from the original course in some way or other but this means you have to be alive to when things aren’t going well at the earliest opportunity so you have the opportunity to do something about it before it gets too late or just darn stressful!
  8. The type of planning/monitoring tool is not really important as long as you have a robust method, it’s the principle that matters more.

So there’s a few snippets to be going on with, what are your experiences of managing projects? Do they fit the above principles?

To close the session I showed the participants this simple tale about getting things done… works well for the PhD process I think!