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Research Environment for International Postgraduate Research Students (REFIRS) Dr Linda Hui Yang & Dr Lowry McComb Centre for Academic and Researcher Development.

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Presentation on theme: "Research Environment for International Postgraduate Research Students (REFIRS) Dr Linda Hui Yang & Dr Lowry McComb Centre for Academic and Researcher Development."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research Environment for International Postgraduate Research Students (REFIRS) Dr Linda Hui Yang & Dr Lowry McComb Centre for Academic and Researcher Development Miss Helen Han Law School 3 Dec 2013 Global Citizenship Seminar Ustinov College, Durham University

2 ∂ Summary Background Research Environment for International Postgraduate Research Students (REFIRS) Project Key findings Q&A

3 ∂ Background: Number of international students has more than doubled in the UK Proportion of full-time international postgraduate research students (PGRs) increased from 34% to 50.3% International PGRs’ experiences are under-researched

4 ∂ Background: previous studies Supervisor/supervision Access to research cultures Academic & cultural transition Integration with UK students Etc.

5 ∂ Aims of REFIRS Project An evaluation of the extent to which various different research environments meet international PGRs’ expectations and needs; Recommendations for best practice for ensuring research environments are suitable for international PGRs; A methodology which is applicable to other institutions wishing to evaluate their research environments.

6 ∂ Research Method: Participatory approach Co-enquirers Final-stage international full-time PGRs East Asia and Middle East regions All three faculties Qualitative data collection Semi-structured interviews Focus Group Thematic data analysis

7 ∂ REFIRS Project HEA-funded One-year Case study (Durham)

8 ∂ Durham Student Profile Summary 12,087Undergraduate Students. 3,028Taught Postgraduate Students. 1,548Research Postgraduate Students (PGRs). 15,273Total Student Numbers. PGRs 1133 FT PGRs. 407 PT PGRs. 48% of total FT PGRs are from outside the UK. 60% of total PT PGRs are from outside the UK.

9 ∂ 1. Set up on-line questionnaire2. Call for participation3. Identify co-enquirers4. Fill-in on-line questionnaire & arrange interviews5. Check questionnaire & prepare interviews6. Conduct semi-structured interviews7. Transcribe & analyze data 8. Check findings with participants 9. Refine findings & prepare for focus group 10. Conduct focus group 1. Co-enquirers check needs & expectations 2. Co-enquirers rank needs & expectations 3. Co-enquirers brainstorm practices addressing needs & expectations 4. Co-enquirers recommend practices addressing needs & expectations 11. Check focus group findings with participants 12. Write final report & interview senior management staff MREE Methodology for Research Environment Evaluation

10 ∂ Research Environment Research Community Knowledge & Skills Employment & Caree r Facilities Pastoral Support Supervisor Internal PGRs & staff External PGR & academics Research Language Publication Teaching Funding application Transferable skills Office & social space Library Computing support Technical support Equipment necessary for research Emotional Mental health Staff in department PGRs with families Application of research & skills Career in academia and industry Support for Ovs PGRs Employment -related skills

11 ∂ Research Community External PGRs & Academics Internal PGRs & Academics Self & supervisor(s)

12 ∂ Research Community Supervisor Regular meetings; prompt and constructive feedback; tailored supervision; contact point for networking; employment and career; emotional support; monitoring progress; prompt arrangement of new supervisor.

13 ∂ Research Community Internal PGRs and staff Feedback on research; belonging to active research group; interactions with senior PGRs; integration with UK PGRs; opportunities to interact with PGRs (different research area & disciplines); support for interdisciplinary PGRs; suitable working/social space.

14 ∂ Research Community External PGRs and academics Access to completed research projects by external PGRs; external researchers; regional/international research community & collaboration; financial support.

15 ∂ Knowledge and skills Research skills Subject/discipline-specific training; management of supervisor(s)/supervision; identifying and addressing training needs; Language Advanced-academic writing; subject-specific terminology; foreign language which is essential for research; speaking skills;

16 ∂ Knowledge and skills Publication Subject-specific support for publication; journal rankings; Teaching Equal teaching opportunities; support for teaching(culturally specific needs; diversified classroom);

17 ∂ Knowledge and skills Funding applications; More opportunities; support on making funding applications; Transferable skills Popular courses; awareness of transferable skills; skills for cultural and academic transition.

18 ∂ Employment and Career Application of research skills Career choices (own research field and broader context); subject-specific & generic research skills. Career paths in academic and industry in the global context Interests & choices; beginning of PhD programme.

19 ∂ Employment and Career Application of research in non-academic context Application in non-academic context & benefits to the society. Support addressing the international PGRs’ needs Competitive advantages; UK and own context; visa. Employment-related skills Identifying skills; how to improve; job-application.

20 ∂ Facilities Office and social space Office (own PC, bit of privacy); social area (tea break; fridge, microwave; chair/sofa). Library Hot drinks; good collection of references; longer opening hours. Computing support PC quality; prompt response & assistance

21 ∂ Facilities Technical support Prompt, advanced & professional support; designated technicians. Equipment necessary for research Free (printing, photocopy, DDS stickers, data analysis software).

22 ∂ Pastoral Support Emotional support Supervisors; friends from same country Support on mental health Stress (friends); Counseling service?; Nightline?

23 ∂ Pastoral Support Support from staff in department Support mechanism in department (noticing); friends, supervisor; Support for PGRs with families PGRs (work and family); family (cultural transition; language; school; social activities).

24 ∂ Research Environment Research Community Knowledge & Skills Employment & Caree r Facilities Pastoral Support Yang, H L & McComb, L (2013) Research Environment For International Research Students Project Report. Durham University, UK.


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