Induction and Orientation
Make sure that you attend your school and University level inductions. In some instances there may also be a discipline level induction – check your school handbook.
It is important to remember you are part of a community of PhD students, try to meet fellow researchers in your area/school/discipline. Remember the PGR School holds a weekly coffee morning so you have the chance to meet researcher from across the University. If you are studying at a distance, we have a virtual ‘Shut Up and Write’ group that you can join to connect with other researchers. Try to find out about University or local groups and clubs that fit with your interests and hobbies.
Make sure you have read and understood University expectations and milestones that are required to meet during your supervised study, you can find these in your school and the PGR School handbooks.
Use your Initial Skills Audit to reflect on the skills you have and those you will need in the first few months as you develop your research ideas. Discuss with your supervisory team how you will develop the skills, knowledge and/or attributes you have identified and how you will meet upcoming milestones.
Working with your Supervisor(s)
Make sure you know who the key administrative and academic contacts are in your department/school and how they can support you during your PhD. You should meet the academic PGR coordinator for your school and/or discipline and learn what their role is in supporting your research degree.
Agree with your supervisor(s) how you will work together, how often will you meet, how will you agree actions from supervisory meetings etc. Use the supervisor/student expectations as a basis for your discussion.
Discuss any work/family or other commitments with your supervisor(s) and discuss how your research will fit around them.
During this phase you will orientate yourself with your topic and within the related literature. It is normal to conduct a literature review in the early stages of your PhD, which will help you see how it can inform your own work including findings and methodologies.
Discuss with your supervisor what research normally looks like in your discipline/field. Think about health and safety, methods, languages, techniques and/or equipment you may need to access. Think about what sort of data you will collect (remember this can be your interpretation of texts or sources, not just raw data) and how you will store it securely. Similarly you should discuss research integrity and any ethical implications or intellectual property rights that may be associated with your research.
The PGR School offers courses, workshops and activities tailored to help you make the best start in your research degree. Explore the Researcher Development Programme on the PGR School webpages and use the workshop themes and reflective questions to help to review where you are in your journey and to make a plan to ensure you continue to progress.
The list below is not exhaustive but suggests some training courses that may help you get started. Please note as a condition of being a postgraduate research student at the University of Aberdeen, you are required to undertake a series of mandatory training courses within your first six months of study. These are detailed below.
Research Governance & Ethics
Equality & Diversity
Health & Safety
Information Security & Research Data Management
PGRS Official Welcome Reception (if on campus)
OTHER SUGGESTED COURSES
PGRS Induction and Orientation Week
Local School/discipline Induction
Year 1: Getting Started with Your PhD (online)
Managing your Supervisor/Establishing the supervisory relationship
Assertiveness Skills: How to handle challenging conversations to achieve your goals
Qualitative Research Ethics
Literature Searching (Databases and References- Library courses)
Conducting a Literature Review
Using NVivo for your Literature Review
Developing and Refining Research Questions