Academic Skills offers workshops tailored to research students' specific disciplines. Using examples from students' fields, our curriculum for higher degree research students provides tools and strategies for managing, writing, presenting and publishing research. An individual workshop program can be developed for cohort students tailored specifically to their discipline and stage. Contact us to book teaching or make an inquiry.
Start me up
Knowing how to approach your project can be a major challenge in your candidature. If you get it right, it can be smooth sailing and you will be on your way to completing your program in good time. In these workshops, learn how to make the most out of your first year, what is expected during your program, and how to plan and complete your early research milestones efficiently and successfully.
Kickstart your PhD
How do you go about successfully managing a large research project from start to finish over a number of years? This workshop is ideal for research students at the start of their program although those further into their studies are welcome to attend. The 2-hour workshop takes a holistic approach to time, information and project management covering the following topic areas:
- Project management - prioritising, setting goals and making the most of the time you have.
- Reading and research strategies - reading smarter and more efficiently to extract the key information that you need and ensuring breadth and depth of research.
- Information management tools and strategies - learn about the available strategies and tools you can utilise to better manage the research and aid in critical engagement with the literature.
- Literature reviews - organising and categorising the research material for use in your thesis chapters.
The literature review is vital for demonstrating your command of the field, contextualising your research, and showing how your research is making a contribution to knowledge. However, writing a well-structured and persuasive literature review can be a daunting and complex task, especially when you are navigating multiple concepts, theories, and bodies of literature. We examine where the literature review goes in your thesis, how to plan and structure one in your field, and how to use the literature to articulate and justify your research question and approach.
Thesis proposal reviews
The research proposal outlines what you intend to conduct research on, why and how. It is the first major milestone for PhD students and is very important for convincing your department and supervisor(s) that you understand the process of scholarly enquiry, and that you have a project that is both viable and feasible. In this 2-hour workshop we deconstruct samples of research proposals so that you develop a better understanding of the purpose of the proposal, its key components, and learn how to go about structuring and writing one.
Your introduction situates your study within your field/discipline by providing important background context needed to understand what your study is about and its significance. It introduces the study's key themes, concepts, issues and arguments, and provides readers with a 'road map' for how you will go about connecting these in developing your overall message in the thesis' various chapters. In this workshop, we analyse the key features of introductions, how to structure them, and strategies for writing an effective introduction.
How do you logically weave together the separate parts of your thesis (the individual chapters or articles) to develop your overall argument that addresses the research question or problem? This workshop offers structural techniques to create a clear narrative and argument for the thesis as a whole.
Keep me going: writing and disseminating your research
When it comes to writing your thesis, publishing and presenting your research, it is crucial to use effective communication strategies to convey the value of your scholarship. Learn how to write outstanding journal articles and chapters that contribute meaningfully to your thesis. Discover the process of getting the most out of feedback, and learn how to write with authority and flair. Along the way, get tips on presenting your research in seminars and at conferences, and find out what makes an effective poster.
Your chapter needs to demonstrate where it fits in the overall thesis by developing and advancing a key component or stage in the thesis' argument. Using disciplinary-specific samples of written chapters, we identify the common elements, discuss the rationale for dividing the chapter into its various sections based on the overall chapter purpose, and offer strategies for developing arguments logically within chapter sections and connecting the sections for continuity and coherence. Further, we examine how the literature can be incorporated within the chapter to support and develop arguments.
Style and voice
Is there a clear sense of 'you' as the author in your writing? A vital part of developing your credibility as a scholar in your field or discipline is being able to demonstrate a strong commitment to your ideas. Developing your authorial 'voice' then, is about how you distinguish your ideas from others', and do so persuasively. Learn how you can become a strong advocate of your own work and lead readers towards your intended meanings using a range of strategies. Understand how disciplinary-specific conventions can affect how you engage with others' work, structure writing and integrate evidence. Challenge or affirm your own views about what constitutes 'stylish academic writing.'
The Mid-Term Review of Progress is a crucial stepping-stone towards completing the PhD. The paper is an opportunity for you to outline how your research project has evolved since the thesis proposal - what changes have you made and why, and what do you still have left to do? It is also an opportunity for you to obtain valuable feedback on your plan for completion. Using disciplinary specific samples, we examine the qualities of an effective review paper, and consider strategies for reporting your progress and challenges coherently and with confidence.
Journal article writing
If you intend on pursuing an academic career, establishing a publication portfolio is fundamental. Delivered as a 2-hour workshop, or as a half- or full-day writing retreat, learn how to get the ball rolling in writing for publication including what to consider when targeting a relevant journal for publication, how to select relevant material to publish, how to structure an article, and how to write effectively to communicate argument. We draw on sample articles from appropriate disciplines to demonstrate journal article writing principles. Discover tips for responding to reviewer feedback and crafting an effective abstract that concisely conveys essential information about your research in a way that creates reader interest.
Getting the most out of feedback
Getting constructive and useful feedback is fundamental to your project's success. Learn how to ask for informative feedback and how to interpret and respond to feedback professionally. Giving feedback is another essential component of an academic career. Learn how to provide constructive feedback to your peers and colleagues.
During your candidature, you will deliver a range of presentations - from departmental seminars to international conferences. Learn key techniques for structuring and delivering a presentation with a purpose, and discover effective strategies for communicating your message confidently using memorable visual aids.
For many students, posters are a key component of conferences. If your poster is designed well and communicates your message clearly, it can be a stand out contribution to a conference. Learn how to structure and design a poster that communicates your research successfully to your particular audience.
The final countdown - hand me in
Finishing your thesis and editing your work is a complex task. We demystify how to write a strong conclusion and how to edit your work systematically. These sessions help you through that final hurdle of polishing your work for a successful completion.
Your conclusion summarises what you did and what you found in relation to your research aim/question. More than this, the conclusion reflects on what these findings mean based on the literature, and shows how your study has specifically contributed to furthering knowledge. Learn how to write a conclusion that clearly wraps up your thesis and emphasises your contributions to your field.
Getting to end of the project will involve tying all the parts of your thesis together and ensuring cohesion and clarity. Discover a systematic approach to editing your writing and others' to improve its overall quality. This workshop provides both a macro approach to editing your writing, and delves into the micro elements of expression and style.