These workshops and events may be offered to cover specialist training that has been requested by members of the doctoral research community. Often they are identified by the GS, as opportunities to learn more about a particular research activity a member of staff or an external contact is involved in.

They are scheduled on an ad-hoc basis throughout the academic year, so do check regularly for new events. They are listed in date order and booking is the same process as for the DRDP workshops – just follow the booking link for each listing.

How to write a literature review

11th MARCH 2021

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).


Researching with Compassion: Relational and reflexive ethics, and culturally responsive research

11th March 2021

This interactive workshop will draw upon material from Towards the Compassionate University: From Golden Thread to Global Impact (Waddington, 2021). It will address the ethical principle of ‘do no harm’, which at an individual researcher level is about understanding and applying the science and skills of self-compassion. More broadly, understanding the inter-relationship of ethics and reflexivity is about ‘doing no harm’ at all stages of the research process, and across all methodologies and disciplines. Compassionate, culturally responsive researchers are mindful that participants may have different, multiple, and conflicting perspectives about reality, society, power, and knowledge. This is about a wider interdisciplinary notion of ‘ethical knowledge creation’ that extends beyond the narrow ‘procedural ethics’ of VRE Research Ethics Committee approval.

Waddington, K. (Ed.) (2021). Towards the Compassionate University: From Golden Thread to Global Impact. Abingdon: Routledge.


Undertaking data collection/fieldwork: An intercultural perspective

24th March 2021
Book your place here

When undertaking data collection/fieldwork through, for example, interviews or questionnaires, we are interacting with our informants. These interactions could be on-site or on-line. The willingness of our informants to contribute, the way in which they will interpret our questions and answer them, as well as a myriad of ethical aspects will be influenced by their cultural background. You might be doing fieldwork in a culture you are very familiar with or one that you know only from a distance. At the same time, the way you are framing and phrasing your questions or request for information is influenced by your own cultural background (and that of your supervisory team). This workshop is designed to help you reflect on these important aspects, in order to fully consider cultural perspectives and their implications for your fieldwork. The workshop is open to all PhD students preparing for their data collection who have already submitted or are about to submit their ethics application.



An Introduction to qualitative research methods

This is a repeat of the workshop which ran in November 2020.

In this 2-part course, 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.

Each part will last 1.5hrs and will include a Q&A.


6th MAY 2021

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

13th MAY 2021

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


The Creative Researcher

7th June 2021

Research is a cyclical form of structured enquiry that begins with an open-ended question or hypothesis and ends with the creation of new knowledge that answers the question and progresses the field of enquiry.

There are several distinct stages in the research cycle that present different kinds of challenge, and the researcher needs to draw on a variety on skills to meet these challenges and make progress in their research. Some of these challenges require a greater emphasis on the critical appraisal of existing knowledge, observations and data, but creativity always works symbiotically with critical thinking.

Other challenges are more speculative and open-ended, requiring a greater emphasis on creativity. These include identifying the initial research question, ideas to proceed with addressing the question, and the design of the investigation.

This workshop, though covering some aspects of critical thinking, will focus mainly on creativity. Everyone is creative to some extent, but little emphasis has been placed on the importance of creativity in research, perhaps because it is less well understood than critical thinking. This workshop will illustrate how creativity is at the heart of progress in research, and how individual creativity can be nurtured and developed further. It will explore the nature of creative thinking and the factors that both nurture and inhibit it. Some ‘tools’ for nurturing creative thinking in research will be applied, and a framework will be described in which the various tools for critical thinking and creativity can be applied in a systematic way.

This workshop aims to describe the nature and nurture of creativity in the context of doing research. It will describe a framework for creative problem solving and will cover some tools, techniques and behaviours that can help access individual and group creativity. Some of the influences that inhibit creative thinking will also be discussed.

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General enquiries: +44 (0)20 7911 5000
Course enquiries: +44 (0)20 7915 5511

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