The referral deadline for semester 1 closes at 5pm on 7th October.
If there is a high demand for places a second module will run in the new year (January 2023).

This is an accessible and inclusive module for all students who would benefit from extra support with expression in English at doctoral level.
The module is delivered in the first semester of each academic year. It is delivered in the form of seven taught group sessions followed by three individual tutorials. The latter will be based on your own written work.

The schedule for the module in Semester 1 of 2022-23 will be as follows.

The taught group sessions will take place on the following dates from 2- 4pm. All classes will take place online via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.

  • 18th October 22
  • 25th October 22
  • 1st November 22
  • 8th November 22
  • 15th November 22
  • 22nd November 22
  • 29th November 22

The individual sessions will be organised at mutually convenient times between the Module Leader and students during the second semester.

If you would like to register for the module, you will need to be referred by your Director of Studies. They will need to complete the referral form at this link: 8ALDS001WReferral 2022 23 FINAL and email it to Richard Paterson ( Once you have been referred, you will be contacted to make sure that the module is right for you.

Referrals from DoSs will need to reach Richard Paterson by 7 October 2022. You will receive an emailing confirming your place on the module 11th October 2022.

If there is a high demand for places a second module will run in the new year (January 2023).

The university also provides support around writing through the Academic Engagement and Learning Development Team. One to one sessions and Postgraduate Cafes are available through them. Information on all they offer can be found here


The following three workshops are building on one another, guiding you through the process of designing an empirical study and analysing the findings with basic statistics as well as more advanced statistics. Doctoral researchers who have the knowledge of earlier workshops can skip those and attend the more advanced ones only.

Workshop 1 – Design of Empirical Research Studies with Human Participants

14th February 2023

This workshop aims to give a broad overview of designing empirical research studies with human participants, covering research questions, sampling and required sample size (power analysis), choice of variables and measurement techniques, as well as design of experimental and correlational studies. It also provides a theoretical basis for techniques which may be practised during practical exercises.

  • Introduction to the design of empirical research studies: experimental and correlational studies; experimental controls; selection and recruitment of subjects; piloting; ethical considerations
  • Measurement through observation of behaviour: direct and indirect observation; recording techniques; measurement of behaviour; activity sampling
  • Measurement through questionnaires and interviews: ranking methods, rating scales, application in interviews and questionnaires
  • Good practice in research methods – an overview: ethics, avoiding questionable research practices, open science, preregistration


Bourne, V., James, A. I., & Wilson-Smith, K. (2021). Understanding quantitative and qualitative research in psychology: A practical guide to methods, statistics, and analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Prerequisites and preparation for this workshop:

Participants need to bring a laptop that has Microsoft Word installed and running on it.


Workshop 2 – The Basics of Statistical Analysis

17th February 2023

This workshop aims to provide an introduction to basic methods used to analyse data from empirical studies with human participants, describing the key features of the data in a study with scientific language. It explains how to compute descriptive statistics and create graphs to visualise quantitative data as well as how to test hypotheses, covering the most commonly used types of inferential statistics and their assumptions. This workshop will be run with the software package SPSS. This workshop will be run in a modular fashion, where some of those aspects shown in parentheses will be covered, depending on PhD students’ needs and wishes in this teaching year.

  • Descriptive statistics
    • Types of data and data management
    • Distributions, esp. normal distribution
    • Central Tendency and Variability
    • Measures of central tendency (mean, median, mode)
    • Measures of variability (range, variance, and standard deviation)
    • The importance of variability
    • (Tables and graphs)
  • Testing Hypotheses
    • Probability
    • Null and Alternative Hypothesis
    • Sampling distribution and statistical decision making
    • Statistical significance and confidence intervals
  • Inferential statistics
  • (Non-parametric tests)
  • (Chi Square)
  • t-test, ANOVA (ANCOVA, MANOVA)
  • Correlation and Multiple Linear Regression


Field, A. (2018, 5th ed.). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics.

Prerequisites and preparation for this workshop:

  • Participants need to bring a laptop that has the newest version of SPSS installed and running on it.
  • Participants need to make sure they have a good understanding of the design of empirical research studies with human participants before attending this workshop. This can be from attending Workshop I in this series of workshops or from a BSc or MSc degree in a relevant discipline.
  • To prepare for this workshop, participants are asked to read the first three chapters from Andy Field’s (2018) book and take notes of key points as well as any questions they may have.


Workshop 3– An Introduction to R

2nd March 2023

This workshop aims to provide an introduction to R, targeted primarily at users of SPSS. As many advanced statistical techniques are not available in SPSS and as R packages are constantly being developed and updated by the research community inside and outside of academia, R is becoming the method of choice for many procedures. This workshop will build on participants’ skills of structuring and analysing data in SPSS and show how this can be implemented in R.

  • Introduction to R: The R environment and R Studio, writing syntax in R
  • Importing and managing data in R
  • Creating graphs in R
  • Running basic statistical analyses in R
  • Outlook: How opportunities for data analysis in R go far beyond SPSS


Field, A., Miles, J., & Field, Z. (2012). Discovering statistics using R. London: Sage.

Prerequisites and preparation for this workshop:

  • Participants need to bring a laptop that has the newest version of SPSS installed and running on it.
  • Participants need to have R and R Studio installed and running on their laptop.
    1. Installing R:
    2. Installing R Studio:
  • Participants need to make sure they have a good understanding of the design of empirical research studies with human participants before attending this workshop. This can be from attending Workshop I in this series of workshops or from a BSc or MSc degree in a relevant discipline.
  • Participants need to make sure they have a good understanding of the basics of statistical analyses with SPSS before attending this workshop. This can be from attending Workshop II in this series of workshops or from a BSc or MSc degree in a relevant discipline.
  • To prepare for this workshop, participants are asked to read the first four chapters from Andy Field’s et al. (2012) book and take notes of key points as well as any questions they may have.



Doctoral research can sometimes mean that you will need some training in new research methods. The university runs a large number of research methods modules across its many masters programmes and it may be that joining some or all of the seminars of one of these modules will be useful to you. If you think that sitting in on one of these would be useful for your research, please discuss it with your Director of Studies. If you decide together that it would be helpful, then you should contact the Module Leader to ask if they would be happy for you to sit in on the class.

You can find the lists of research methods modules on the link below:

Level 7 Research Method Modules Audit Latest 2022-23


A number of video resources are available:

Library Guide for doctoral researchers

This is a recorded presentation which provides a useful introduction to the resources and support available to you.

Introduction to Mendeley Reference Management Software

Introduction to NVIVO*

*The GS also offers access to a series of 3 NVIVO workshops for those who need more detailed training and support. Places are limited and the application process will be announced shortly.

Managing your References

A range of online workshops are also available – details below.

These run twice in the academic year, so you can attend the one you prefer, using the relevant booking link.

Literature Searching

26 October 2022
Book your place here

9th March 2023
Book your place here

A literature search is a considered and organised search to find key literature on a topic. Get top tips on how to get started with your literature searching by hearing from the experts in searching Learn how to get the best out of the library catalogue, subject specific databases as well getting an overview of other resources that are available to you beyond the collection at University of Westminster.

  • define what you are searching for
  • decide where to search
  • develop a search strategy
  • refine your search strategy
  • save your search for future use.
  • know where to find further help

Organisation, time management and motivation during your PhD

Time Management can help you to reduce long-term stress, as it gives you a sense of control and purpose and it is also a crucial skill for the completion of your PhD. This webinar will provide you with strategies to manage your independent study time, and introduce you to organizational tools to break down tasks, allocate time and prioritize.

We all suffer from lack of motivation at some point and it’s important to find the right strategies that work for you when this happens. As such, this workshop will also explore how you can motivate yourself to use your available time more effectively!

7th November 2022
Book your place here

6th February 2023
Book your place here

An Introduction to Refworks Reference Management Software

4th November 2022
Book your place here

10th February 2023
Book your place here

An Introduction to Zotero Reference Management Software

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. In this session we will introduce you to Zotero and it’s functionality.

8th November 2022
Book your place here

16th February 2023
Book your place here

Defying writer’s block: Using Mind maps to generate, visualize and structure ideas

A mind map helps generate ideas before you make a formal plan and can reveal themes, gaps and links between ideas. This workshop will help you to develop a mind map on key words or themes so that you can use it as raw material for your earliest thinking and research. Mind maps are also a fantastic way to get started without the pressure of producing beautiful sentences, as such they can be highly beneficial in defying writer’s block. Additionally, they can also become the basis for creating a possible structure for your ideas!

14th November 2022
Book your place here

16th February 2023
Book your place here

Critical thinking, argumentation and academic voice

To achieve a PhD you will present your original research in a structured, authoritative, academic thesis. You will need to master critical thinking, that is, reaching conclusions from evidence and reasoning.

This workshop will help you consolidate the notion of critical thinking, providing tools for critically analysing and evaluating information. It will help you demonstrate critical thinking in your academic writing, present compelling argumentations, and refine your academic voice.

This online workshop will be delivered in a friendly and interactive format so we will welcome your questions and contributions!

14th December 2022
Book your place here

29th March 2023
Book your place here

Effective Use of your Resources in your Writing

Doctoral researchers at all stages are welcome to attend this session. We will discuss the principles behind referencing, quoting, paraphrasing and synthesising to ensure sources are effectively and ethically integrated into your academic work.

25th November 2022
Book your place here

24th March 2023
Book your place here


These on-line workshops are for PhD researchers who want to develop a strategic approach to their publishing.  Three weekly workshops explore benefits and challenges associated with developing a more strategic approach to publishing.  They include a series of activities, guided reflection, discussion, and advice to help participants’ develop a writing and publication strategy which reflects their personal and career objectives.  Workshop 1 will consider the benefits and pitfalls associated with writing in collaboration.  Workshops 2 and 3 will explore approaches identifying and selecting appropriate journals and then delving deeper into the conventions and existing debates within those journals.

Week 1: Writing in collaboration or alone
27th February 2023
Book your place here

  • How do we write?
  • Exploring norms in different subject areas/specialisms
  • Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of writing with supervisors or colleagues
  • Collaborative writing – approaches to setting out the rules/norms

Week 2: Targeting and researching your journal (Part 1)
6th March 2023
Book your place here

  • Understanding journal ranking
  • Thinking about your research strategy – what are your personal objectives?  What other factors are relevant?
  • Starting to explore journals and select a shortlist.

Week 3: Targeting and researching your journal (Part 2)
13th March 2023
Book your place here

  • Selecting your journal  
  • Exploring the conventions of that journal
  • Starting to design a paper specifically for that journal
  • Reflections and feedback  

13th March 2023
Book your place here

The main purpose of a literature review is to situate new research (to be described in detail later), within the existing body (or bodies) of published knowledge. This requires the author to first undertake an analysis of all the relevant earlier and current research. This analysis is concerned with first describing the established knowledge, and then with identifying and articulating the earlier and current debates, inconsistencies, and tensions in the published work.

The analysis is followed by a synthesis, in which the new research is integrated creatively with the existing knowledge. This requires the development of arguments for justifying the new research undertaking, in terms of its contribution to progress in the field. Given that there are no precedents for the new research being described, this necessitates a greater presence of the author’s unique ‘voice’ in the writing.

Whilst the literature review in journal papers may be relatively brief in some academic disciplines, in a thesis it is always a more comprehensive undertaking. This requires the researcher to work continuously, in terms of planning and writing the review. Initially this may begin as an annotated bibliography, but later on it takes the form of an outline review that will be revised, edited and updated continuously as the research progresses.

This on-line presentation will describe how to write a literature review in five stages, and examples will be shown of reviews from different disciplines. In addition it will provide information and examples of some of the pitfalls that have been observed in reviews from the perspective of the reader (ie examiner/peer reviewer).


Workshop 1
26th October 2022
Book your place here

This session will consider accessibility practices that enable learners to navigate through resources more efficiently and read them more comfortably, including the following:

What are the accessibility requirements with headings, hyperlinks and tables?
How do you test them?
How do you remediate them?
How can fonts, colour and layout make reading more comfortable?
How does the format you provide influence the reader experience?

Workshop 2
22nd November 2022
Book your place here

This second workshop will explore how digital accessibility tools can make content easier to understand or more meaningful to people with sensory disabilities. We will consider such topics as:

How to check for reading level.
How to check content works with text to speech and reads in a logical order in documents and presentations.
Practical (and achievable) advice on dealing with images, audio, video and tables so they make more sense to more readers.


Introduction to Research Data Management
This is a recorded presentation which provides a useful introduction to what Research Data Management is and why it is important.

Link to Panopto recording

Transcript_Introduction to Research Data Management

There is also a workshop available – see below.


20th March 2023
Book your place here

All the physical or digital materials that underpin your final doctoral thesis are research data: from photographs of archival documents, reading notes and bibliographies, to spreadsheets, software, instrumental data, and 3D models. When planning your doctoral research, it is good practice to think about how you will collect, store, organise, and share this research data during and after the lifetime of your doctoral programme. This session introduces the basic principles of research data management across the research data lifecycle, from creation to publication. The second half of the workshop will comprise a practical exercise: ‘write your own data management plan’ for your doctoral research project. The University’s Research Data Management Officer [and an academic subject specialist] will be on-hand to answer any questions.

This session will enable doctoral researchers to:

  • understand what ‘research data’ is (cross-disciplinary)
  • understand the benefits of developing a research data management plan
  • create a data management plan (DMP) for their doctoral research project
  • locate guidance and support for managing research data both within and beyond the University

All research involves working with others, whether that means thinking about what our reader needs when we are writing, engaging in discussion with supervisors and with others in our field, or joining with others to turn ideas into funding proposals or entrepreneurial schemes. This workshop will give you the opportunity to think about how best to work with others through your degree and beyond.

Click on the appropriate link below to book a place.

Working with Others in Social Sciences, Humanities and Architecture (SHAPE)
Date TBC
: book your place here

Working with Others in STEMM Subjects
3rd May 2023:
book your place here

Working with Others in Business
3rd May 2023: book your place here

Working with Others in Arts, Media and Communication
3rd May 2023:book your place here


Writing retreats are a fantastic opportunity for researchers to concentrate on writing in a supportive atmosphere in a way that can increase both productivity and confidence. The DRDP supports two different kinds of writing retreat – residential and on campus.*

Both kinds of writing retreat follow the model of the structured-writing retreat (Murray and Newton, 2009), and are facilitated by colleagues who have been trained in this method. The retreats are designed around a well-being model, and the aim is to provide and enforce writing time in a relaxed, supportive and peaceful environment. The group writes together, during prescribed time-slots.

The residential writing retreats are held twice each academic year (December and July). There will be 10 places available for doctoral students. Travel costs (train/taxi) will be reimbursed after the retreat.

Instructions on how to apply for the residential retreats will go out via email in the middle of the first semester for the December retreat and early summer for the July retreat.

12th – 14th December 2022
Visit this page for full information and the application form.

Details to be announced

The 1 day, on-campus writing retreats will all take place once a month through the academic year. Lunch will be included. You can book as many of these as you wish.

If you cannot attend in person, you can book to join in online. Follow the booking link for the date in question below, and you will see an online booking page link in the VRE information.

Book a place on your preferred workshop below:


This workshop will run once in each semester, so you can choose which date you would like to attend by using the relevant booking link.

17th November 2022, Parts 1 and 2

18th May 2023, Parts 1 and 2

In this one day course (with Part 1 in the morning and Part 2 in the afternoon), students will be introduced to both the basics and new thinking in qualitative research. The course is suitable for the beginner and those looking to refresh their knowledge.

Part 1 – Building a project

  • defining your objective
  • developing a sample
  • writing a screener
  • devising a methodology
  • writing a discussion guide

PART 2 – Delivering a project

  • focus group best practice
  • behavioural economics and the focus group
  • projective techniques
  • effective reporting

Where foreign language proficiency is deemed essential for carrying out doctoral research projects, the University will facilitate relevant training through Polylang, the university’s open language programme, which is open to all students as well as to members of staff, our alumni community and members of the public. All levels are catered for, from beginner to advanced. Doctoral researchers should seek advice from their Director of Studies and discuss support needs with their School DRDP Co-ordinator.

You may also want to learn a language beyond the demands of your doctoral research, but if you wish to learn a language beyond your research, you will need to cover the fees yourself.

For more information on what Polylang offers, see here.

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Course enquiries: +44 (0)20 7915 5511

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