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Good Practice in Research


9/2/09. Graduate School. 1. Good Practice in Research. Dr John ... Irish world music centre. Arts. Irish Chamber Orchestra. National self portrait gallery ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Good Practice in Research

Good Practice in Research
  • Dr John Breen
  • Dean, Graduate School

Enjoy the campus!
  • Use the facilities
  • Sports - Arena
  • Concert hall UCH
  • Irish world music centre
  • Arts
  • Irish Chamber Orchestra
  • National self portrait gallery
  • Hunt museum (UL-Shannon)
  • Other art galleries

Today …
  • Intro to Graduate School
  • Why more PhDs?
  • Nature of research degree
  • Managing expectations … yours and the
  • Role and responsibilities of researchers
  • Good research practice working with your
  • Research Training and Supports

UL Graduate School
  • Aims
  • Improve overall coordination of graduate studies
  • Enhance the value of the postgraduate experience
  • Implement a faculty and student friendly
    graduate-centred system for admission,
    registration, progression and examination
  • Encourage faculty to take on new research
    students seek funding
  • Provide more training opportunities for faculty
    and students

Whats a Masters/PhD?
  • Masters …must show evidence of independent
    enquiry and/or originality in either conclusions
    or method
  • PhD should …show evidence of independent
    enquiry, originality in the methods used and/or
    in the conclusions drawn and must make an
    appreciable new contribution to knowledge or
    thinking in the candidates field. Ch5. 5, S.
    14.2 Handbook of Academic Regulations.

Graduate School
  • Graduate School is responsible for
  • Research taught postgraduate strategy,
    procedures, regulations
  • Postgraduate recruitment advertizing
  • Postgraduate admissions
  • Postgraduate funding / scholarships
  • Postgraduate infrastructure / desk space
  • Faculty student induction training
  • Management of the thesis submission process

Who does what?
  • John Breen Dean Graduate Studies
  • Michael Frain Graduate Administrator
  • Anne ODwyer Research Training Coordinator
  • Marie Beaumont Administration
  • Frances McCann Postgraduate Admissions
  • Other useful contacts
  • Marianne Tormey Student Academic Admin
  • Aisling Ryan PG Payroll, Finance Office
  • Mary Allen Fees Office

Why more PhD graduates?
  • Your country needs you!
  • Number of researchers per 1000 population
    Ireland 14th of 30 OECD countries
  • National targets for the universities
  • SET 543 (2005) ? 997 (2013)
  • HSS 187 (2005) ? 315 (2013)
  • UL 67 (2005) ? 134 (2013) all PhDs

Traditional PhD everybody here!
  • 3 year programme
  • Average in UL is 4.2 years
  • Tends to be single supervisor per postgrad model
  • Moving towards more joint and team supervision
  • Four years, not for years!
  • Added value generic transferable skills
  • So moving towards …

Fourth level Ireland
  • Moving towards more
  • Structured PhD programmes (4 years)
  • In first 1 to 2 years taught modules, beginning
    of the project, then
  • 2 years research programme
  • You will hear about Greps
  • Graduate Research Education Programmes
  • Name used by IRCSET / IRCHSS for structured PhD

But experience from abroad
  • In some countries, even after 20 years
  • lt30 of postgrads are in structured PhD
  • So dont feel left out, but …
  • Avail of the skills development programmes you
  • Discuss with your supervisor … plan!

Four years, not for years!
  • Experience in a number of countries is that gt5
    years there is a sharp decline in finishing rates
  • UL recent average completion duration is 4.2
  • 4 years is a realistic goal

4 years not for years
Research institutes
So, example MSSI
  • 34 Academic Staff,
  • 38 Postdoctoral Fellows,
  • 139 Postgraduate students
  • 211 Researchers
  • Chemistry Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Science Electronic
  • Physics Biochemistry

  • Many of you are funded
  • If not check possibilities for the research
  • (Science, Engineering, Tech)
  • (Humanities, Social Sciences)
  • Some postgrads get funded after Year 1 Grad
    School organizes advisory sessions
  • A few UL scholarships may help call in May

Generic and transferable skills?
  • Short programmes of skills e.g.
  • Research skills
  • Searching databases, bibliography management
  • Data analysis
  • Communication posters, oral presentation skills
  • etc, etc
  • Ircset provides 1500 for your generic and
    transferable skills training
  • The GS and YOU need to keep records of who does

Generic skills
  • To
  • Teach
  • Mentor
  • Publish
  • Ask questions
  • Know how to solve them
  • Be truthful
  • Think laterally beyond the walls it is a PhD
  • Doctor Philosophiae

Transferable skills
  • Define a research question / problem
  • Literature searches
  • Design how to collect the relevant data
  • Write a report (thesis)
  • Defend your thesis (viva voce exam the viva)

Training programmes, contd.
  • Emails to the UL community from Anne ODwyer
  • Sometimes also to Shannon Consortium (LIT, MIC
    and ITT) Sif funding
  • Problem
  • Students register and dont show up!
  • Working on how to cope with this
  • Expensive courses to run!
  • Aim to produce a GS transcript of who has done
    which programmes

Plan what skills you need
  • Personal Development Planners on the way,
    initially as an option
  • See them as a diary / planner for your entire
    research programme

More on skills development
  • GS is also providing supervisor training
  • Supervising
  • Examining
  • Latter ? surviving the viva aimed at students
    close to finishing
  • Well take suggestions and well have a committee
    for critical feedback

The Nature of a Research Degree
  • Observation a masters or PhD dissertation is
    probably the largest piece of work you have ever
    faced and it can be daunting
  • Implications have to think about to approach a
    large piece of work
  • Planning and preparation are critical to success
  • Establishing a good working relationship with
    your supervisor(s)

Managing Expectations
  • Why is this important?

Your expectations of the University
  • What are your expectations of the University?
  • High quality, trained supervision
  • Reasonable access to resources …
  • Guidance on submission and completion
  • Career development advice
  • Managing expectations …

Our expectations of you
  • What are the Universitys expectations of you?
  • Enthusiasm, commitment, professionalism, good
    work ethic, curiousity, honesty and integrity,
    knowledge of subject, organised
  • Foster creativity, independence and reflection
  • Ownership of your own research degree programme

Role Responsibilities of Researchers
  • Role and responsibilities of the supervisor
  • Role and responsibilities of the student
  • Work plans and timelines
  • Good research practice
  • Research degree training
  • Research supports and infrastructure

What should you expect of your supervisor?
  • PhD, qualified professional, academic, ethical
    standard of work
  • Supervisor must know the regulations, documents
    and procedures …. training
  • Aware of available support services
  • Can assess the research topic does it have merit

  • Can identify your training needs
  • Is accessible and gives adequate time for
    uninterrupted supervision
  • Competent in mentoring … adaptable … watchful and
    resourceful … helps with career
  • High expectations!

Responsibilities of the student
  • Be responsible for your own research activity
    only you can write the PhD
  • Be responsible for your own personal career
  • Be aware of academic rules, regulations, ethical
    guidelines grievance procedures
  • Maintain regular contact with your supervisor,
    agree keep deadlines, report on progress (end
    of semester report) keep a written record of
    meetings (email useful)

  • Seek and participate in training courses
  • Seek to publish your work, acknowledging the role
    of the supervisor - usually co-publishing with
    the supervisor
  • Submit your thesis within the agreed timeframe

Responsibilities of the supervisor
  • At the outset at supervisor should
  • Explain what is involved in doing a PhD
  • Agree a programme of work and time frame
  • Agree the ground rules find out what your
    supervisor expects
  • Acquaint you with regulations / postgraduate
  • Agree on a schedule of meetings / deadlines

Common problems
  • Poor planning management of project
  • Unrealistic expectations for the research
  • Research question or hypotheses NOT clear
  • Methodological difficulties
  • Writing up
  • Isolation
  • Personal problems outside the research
  • Inadequate or negligent supervision

Good Research Practice
  • Research must be undertaken independently with
    the support your supervisor(s)
  • Research must be of the highest standard and
    conducted in ethical manner … research ethics
  • Maintain a good working relationship with your
  • Importance of holding regular supervisory
  • Agree on training needs skills development at
    the outset
  • CV development / awareness of profession /
  • Be prepared to attend conferences / give papers /
    publish your research
  • Be aware of IP issues and commercial

Importance of Training
  • Need to identify your training needs
  • Research skills and techniques
  • Research environment
  • Research management
  • Personal effectiveness
  • Communication skills
  • Networking and team-working
  • Career management
  • Employability beyond the world of academia…

Some useful supports
  • Guide to Postgraduate Supervision
  • Handbook of Academic Regulations
  • Postgraduate Charter
  • Postgraduate Agreement
  • Postgraduate Prospectus
  • Postgraduate Student Association

For further information on graduate studies see
  • http//