Latest Event Updates
In the previous post, Paul Roberts introduced the PRES results. I’d like to follow-up by talking about the survey comments relating to Library resources and what we’re doing as a result. We really appreciated the positive comments about our resources and services, as well as the suggestions for improvements.
Positive and negative comments were made about journal access. The Library offers access to 30,000 journals online but there will be journals to which we don’t subscribe.
If we don’t subscribe to a journal we are always happy to consider a subscription. As journals are a recurrent cost we do need to carefully evaluate all requests to make sure they are the best use of the budget. As a doctoral researcher you can request a journal subscription through your Library representative who will then get in touch with us in the Library.
Some researchers reported a lack of access to specific journals but often these were journals to which we already subscribed (Nature Genetics, Nature Protocols), or to which we had recently agreed subscriptions (Nature Methods). The easiest way to check if we have access to a journal is to use the Online Journals tab on the Library homepage. Remember that if you are off-campus you won’t be able to navigate directly to journals and get access, you need to go via the Library webpages so that you can be authenticated.
If we don’t have the book you need then you can request that we buy a copy. It usually takes less than three weeks to go from an order to the book arriving on the shelf. We will consider all requests, but our preference is to buy books that are of longterm use to more than just one person so if your item is very niche we would suggest you place an interlibrary loan request rather than a purchase request. If you think your research area is under-represented in the Library then please do get in touch and we can discuss with you and your Library representative.
Some respondents mentioned they would like to see more ebooks. We have been heavily investing in ebooks over the past few years and can offer access to over 35,000 titles. The best way to discover ebooks is to use Library Search – run your search and then filter the results by selecting ‘ebooks’ under ‘item type’ in the lefthand menu. We are also experimenting with fulfilling interlibrary loans by offering ebooks where available. This should make the service even quicker and of more use to distance and part-time researchers. Where lots of comments came in from particular schools about ebooks we plan to work with the Library reps to ensure our provision is suitable, and that researchers are aware of what is available.
Computers in the Research Hive
We’re delighted to hear that so many people want to use the Hive, and we’re aware that there is only limited space. Rather than filling all the desk spaces with PCs we are exploring other methods of meeting the demand for more computers so watch this space for future developments.
Get in touch if you have any questions or are struggling with Library issues – we are always happy to help and you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research Support Librarian
Thank you to everyone who completed the 2013 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES); we received a response rate of 34.4% with feedback from over 450 doctoral students at the University of Sussex.
This is a national survey with results feeding into decisions on policy as well as practical issues. At Sussex, the results are reviewed by the Director of Doctoral Education, Directors of Doctoral Studies, the Doctoral Studies Committee, and other relevant groups. Your responses will inform our action plans (at Department, School and University levels) and overall implementation is monitored by the University’s Doctoral School Board.
Summary of 2013 results
77% of 2013 respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they are satisfied with the experience of their research degree programme overall.
This is an area in which Sussex performed well with 91% satisfied that their supervisors had the appropriate skills and knowledge to support their research.
Working space and resources
The results were mixed in relation to working space and resources. There was specific praise for the provision of library facilities and access to specialist resources, but concerns were expressed around the provision of computing resources and related facilities; in some Schools, there are particular concerns around access to suitable working space.
There was very strong satisfaction with seminar programmes (Sussex is leading on this in the UK); there was also strong satisfaction expressed in relation to opportunities for presenting and discussing work within your research groups/departments. However, over 50% of you would like more opportunities to get involved in the wider research community and we are actively looking at how we can help with this.
Progress and roles / responsibilities
From survey results and text comments, we can see that we need to improve on how we communicate requirements, expectations and deadlines for progress and assessment. The University has already taken significant action in relation to this area by re-organising its professional service support for postgraduate research students. In particular, a new Postgraduate Research Administration Office will be established at the start of January 2014 to address some immediate improvements as well as reviewing all our processes from admission to graduation for postgraduate research students.
Research skills and professional development
Satisfaction with research training was strong, although there were some specific problems highlighted. One area was the need to support the understanding of research integrity amongst Sussex postgraduate research students. In response we have commissioned some additional training and are making changes to our progress and assessment procedures to ensure that issues of research integrity are addressed robustly. We have also taken action to improve the communication of the Researcher Development Programme. The Doctoral Studies Committee will be using responses relating to training to develop the researcher development programme for 2014-15.
55% of respondents had participated in teaching or demonstrating during their research degree. Satisfaction with support and guidance for teaching was strong and it was particularly pleasing to see that over 83% of you had received formal training to support your teaching and demonstrating duties.
Paul Roberts, Assistant Director of Doctoral School
More important than time management: the essential principles every Doctoral Researcher needs to know
Talk by James Hayton (http://3monththesis.com/) on Monday 11th November at 10.30am
Doing a doctorate can be difficult and stressful, and things rarely, if ever, go exactly to plan. If you find yourself in difficulty, many people focus on being more efficient through time management, or trying to be more organised or motivated or making better plans… There are thousands of books and articles full of these kinds of tips and I’m sure you will have tried some of them.
The problem with time management, productivity and motivational tips is that every single one works for about 3 days. Then you fall behind and just end up feeling worse for not sticking to it. If you are focused on time management, you are trying to solve the wrong problem. You need to be effective before trying to become more efficient. You need to make sure you’re going in the right direction before trying to go faster.
This talk, aimed at students at any stage of a PhD, will cover the fundamental principles you need to know to succeed in research, reduce the stress involved in a PhD, and maybe, hopefully, enjoy the process.
Book your place for the talk at: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/doctoralschool/internal/researcherdev/
About James Hayton, PhD
- I completed my PhD in physics at the University of Nottingham in 2007
- After three-and-a-half difficult years of research, I overcame severe procrastination and self-doubt and wrote my entire thesis in just 3 months
- Not only did I write fast, I enjoyed the process!
- I now work with students to help make the process easier, and I share what I know and learn on via my Three month thesis blog
The Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER)
and The Doctoral School, University of Sussex, UK
with the Postgraduate School of Educational Sciences, Umeå University, Sweden
invite you to the international doctoral seminar at the Sussex Conference Centre.
Diversity, Democratisation and Difference: Theories and Methodologies
27th – 30th January 2014
This free four day event includes:
- Lectures and workshops on theory and methodologies to interrogate diversity, democratisation and difference in social science research
- Opportunities to present your own work and receive feedback from international experts
- Networking, knowledge exchange and social events
Keynote speakers include:
• Professor Nafsika Alexiadou – Methodological and Theoretical Issues in linking the Supranational, the National and the Institutional
• Professor Valerie Hey – Post-post-structuralism? The Sensual Turn or Thinking Affects
• Professor Carolyn Jackson- Laddism in Higher Education
• Dr Anna Lindqvist – Catching the Transient. Research Design in Dance Education.
• Professor Louise Morley – The Knowledge Economy: Democratisation, Distributive Justice or Domination?
• Dr John Pryor – Perspectives on Visual Methods
• Professor Kirk Sullivan – Education as Linguistic Exclusion
• Professor Gaby Weiner – What’s in a Story? Getting the Best out of Interviews, Personal Accounts and Life Histories
Only 25 places are available for Sussex students. Please book early!
Send a one page summary of your research, including a 150 word abstract and a 150 word reflection on what you hope to get out of the programme, to Simone.Robinson@sussex.ac.uk
by 18th October 2013.
Successful applicants must commit to the whole four day programme
– including related social events.
“Literature Off the Page: The Cultural and Political Work of American Writing,” 16 November 2013, University of Sussex. An early career symposium exploring literature’s relevance to U.S. society.
Although consumed and enjoyed by many, the role of literature with respect to social trends and political developments in American life is rarely well defined. Looking beyond the “texts” isolated by new criticism and formally fetishized by print culture studies, academics recognise that literature has done and continues to do a considerable amount of work “off the page.” But how can we quantify the impact of literature, and clarify the many kinds of value it offers to readers and the wider community? In what ways do books, poetry, journalism, essays, speeches and the like provoke activities outside of their own immediate frame of reference, influencing other art forms like dance and theatre, catalysing change in mainstream and oppositional politics as well as in people’s everyday lives, and contributing to the development of important cultural, social and political systems of action and meaning in the United States? How, specifically, does this influence operate through the formal and stylistic properties of the written word and/or through content? By considering ways in which American writing past and present both reflects and inspires performative, political and expressive cultures, this conference seeks a better understanding of how literature shapes our lives.
Potential topics for papers might include but are not limited to:
· The nature and/or historical development of forms of interaction and integration between literature and society
· The influence literature exerts on social, cultural, artistic and political developments and vice versa
· Print culture/digital culture and socio-political engagement
· Journalism, community, and networks of influence
· Authorship and authority
· The politics of genre
· The relative impact of different forms of literature
· Literature and performance
· Literature and social inclusivity/exclusivity
· Literature and escapism
· Literature and ritual
Please send proposals of 250-300 words for 20 minute presentations focussing on any period of American literature along with a brief biography to Joanna Freer at email@example.com by 30 September 2013. There will be a small fee for attendance at this event. For further information and updates visit www.literatureoffthepage.wordpress.com.
Dr. Daniel Kane: Reader in English and American Literature, School of English Director, Center For American Studies Director, American Studies Year Abroad Program Member, University and College Union Executive Committee University of Sussex Brighton BN1 9QN