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Planning for Best Practice in Research Professor John Breen Dean, Graduate School

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Presentation on theme: "Planning for Best Practice in Research Professor John Breen Dean, Graduate School"— Presentation transcript:

1 Planning for Best Practice in Research Professor John Breen Dean, Graduate School

2 I will speak about Managing expectations What you expect of us What we expect of you Ethics and Governance Planning your research strategy Acquiring the necessary skills

3 Managing Expectations Why is this important?

4 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 …

5 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

6 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

7 Why is this important? We need to understand the relationship between the supervisor and student – many elements to a successful relationship The relationship may impact on what you do and on your research and writing The roles vary over time – need to understand how they change What is the objective of the research?

8 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?

9 Continued… 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!

10 Responsibilities of the student Be responsible for your own research activity – only you can write the PhD Be responsible for your own personal career development 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

11 Continued… Seek and participate in training courses But do so in ordered way: not course junkies! Seek to publish your work, acknowledging the role of the supervisor, co-publishing with the supervisor when appropriate Submit your thesis within the agreed time frame

12 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 charter Agree on a schedule of meetings / deadlines

13 Work Plans and Timelines Plan out your project: Personal Development Planner Use a weekly/monthly planner – plan each year out Year 1, 2, 3 (4) – what are your supervisors expectations? Parallel tasks, meetings, revision, and writing tasks Be aware of time management What are your goals What tasks need to be completed Set deadlines for yourself Monitoring and review your progress

14 Common problems Poor planning & management of project Unrealistic expectations for the research Poor formulation of research question / hypotheses Methodological difficulties Writing up Isolation Personal problems outside the research Inadequate or negligent supervision

15 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 supervisor Importance of holding regular supervisory meetings Agree on training needs & skills development at the outset CV development / awareness of profession / networking Be prepared to attend conferences / give papers / publish your research Be aware of IP issues and commercial possibilities

16 University of Limerick Research Ethics & Governance Committee ULREG

17 Ethics and Governance ULREG + 4 Faculty RECs + some sub-faculty RECs (where not single discipline) Any research involving anything to do with humans needs ethical approval Faculty and PGR research needs FacultyREC approval BEFORE THE RESEARCH BEGINS

18 Ethical approval Just now, limited to research involving humans But … others might be on the way. Work ethically: Working with animals? Working with the environment?

19 Working ethically Be honest: says it all Research Governance issues For example: what happens if a researcher falsifies the data? Concentrating on avoiding the problem, not trying to deal with it by legislating for it Plagiarism: short discussion on issues Co-authorship


21 Structured PhD:



24 Online Modules using interactive solutions from Epigeum spin off company of Imperial College London

25 Research Skills Online

26 Very soon … On line registration for Skills courses Researchtraining /at/





31 Generic and transferable skills Personal Development Planning Training Needs Analysis Short programmes of skills: e.g. Research skills Searching databases, bibliography management Data analysis Communication: posters, oral presentation skills etc, etc

32 Skills development GS is also provides supervisor training Supervising Examining Latter delivered to PGRs also as surviving the viva aimed at students close to finishing Well take suggestions and we welcome suggestions for further courses

33 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)

34 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 Researchtraining on-line registration

35 Plan what skills you need Personal Development Planners See them as a diary / planner for your entire research programme





40 Theses: never too soon to start planning! Monograph form e.g in sciences, Introduction, Materials & Methods, Results, Discussion & Conclusions By publications (see code of practice) Individual chapters mimic publications DVD etc of supplementary materials: PhD by practice Examination Board for your viva voce examination determines what is the accepted norm in your discipline, and provides quality control for the university

41 e-Submission of theses Starting from next Examination Board PDF of thesis required Will expose any plagiarism Open Library: national project Is this an issue for your results? IP, Patents etc Balance this with being discovered by Google etc Open access is the way forward, but we need to manage it

42 For PGRs who will be ordering Official orders Take advice from e.g. Senior Technician in your department Official Purchase Order form from Procurement Website Rules about using recognized suppliers or 3 quotes



45 For further information on graduate studies see:

46 Some commonsense! Back up data. PC World 1TB disc at present 89 Put file called Owners contact details on your usb drives Enquire about UL M:\ drive – remote access Two programs I find very useful CCleaner (cleans rubbish – including registry if you are brave) Jing (copies part screens) I use CCleaner and defrag my PC and laptop regularly

47 How to defrag your laptop

48 Questions & Discussion

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