Researcher Development Programme: May 2019

With new sessions being regularly added to our events listing, here’s a quick round-up of events coming up this May as part of our Researcher Development Programme.

Preparing for your final year
Wednesday 1st May: 14:00 – 17:00 (Arts A – A071)
There’s so much to fit into to your final year and careful planning is essential. With clear guidance, individual exercises, and group discussion, this practical workshop helps you prepare for the last stages of your doctorate, including submission, the viva, and what happens next. Please note, there is a separate workshop that goes into much more detail on the viva.

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Voice, audience and reflexivity in writing
Wednesday 8th May: 14.00 – 17.00 (Arts A – A071)
What is the connection between who we are and what we write? What place does our audience, context and identity hold in the production of our ‘writerly’ voices? This workshop using freewriting and group discussion to consider the connections between voice and audience and suggests ideas for how and why we might think and write more reflexively.

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Using reference management tools – Zotero
Thursday 9th May: 09.30 – 11.30 (Library Training Room, Second Floor)
Zotero is a reference management tool that helps you create a personal database of references and add citations and bibliographies to word processed documents using your chosen citation style. This practical workshop will cover the main features of Zotero.

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Finding dissertations and theses for your research
Tuesday 14th May: 12.00 – 13.00 (Library Training Room, Second Floor)
Theses & dissertations form a valuable body of work that can be really useful for your own research, & there are a range of tools available for finding these resources in your research area. This session introduces several online tools that can be used to access dissertations & theses from academic institutions within the UK and beyond.

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Getting ethical approval
Wednesday 15th May: 14.00 – 17.00 (Fulton 114)
At an early stage of your doctoral research, it is essential to explore the need for obtaining ethical approval. This workshop will look at the key principles of undertaking ethical research, & explain how to go about obtaining ethical approval from the University. There will also be opportunities to consider some case studies, ask questions about your own work, and gain insights on how to embed good ethical practices in your research.

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How to Edit Your Own Writing: A One-Day Interactive Workshop
Wednesday 15th May: 10.00 – 17.00 (Fulton 107)
Are you close to a full draft of your book, article, or thesis chapter?
Does it resemble a baggy monster that needs taming?
If so, this workshop is for you. Through activities and tutorials, you’ll learn techniques for getting your writing into shape. By the end of the workshop, you will have a polished chunk of writing and a clear strategy for tackling the rest of your publication.

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Literature searching with Scopus and Web of Science
Tuesday 21st May: 10.30 – 12.00 (Library Training Room, Second Floor)
Scopus and Web of Science are online databases which search thousands of peer-reviewed journals to find articles across all disciplines. With useful guidance from the Library Research Support Team, this workshop will show you how to make the most of these two major resources.

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Using reference management tools – Mendeley
Wednesday 22nd May: 10.30 – 12.30 (Library Training Room, Second Floor)
Mendeley is a reference management tool that helps you create a personal database of references and add citations and bibliographies to word processed documents using your chosen citation style. This practical workshop will cover the main features of Mendeley.

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Presentation Skills for Doctoral Researchers
Thursday 30th May: 14.00 – 16.00 (Fulton B Lecture Theatre)
This workshop consists of a seminar covering how to structure a presentation, the do’s and don’ts of slide content, body language, pace, and preparation. This is followed by practical exercises to improve confidence, including breathing techniques, voice training and vocal projection, and projecting confidence though physicality.

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Festival of Doctoral Research 2019 – Get involved!

The Festival of Doctoral Research returns for 2019, bringing together the doctoral community to showcase and celebrate the depth, breadth, and importance of your work. There will be a range of events on offer and lots of opportunities to take part over three days in June (Tuesday 18th – Thursday 20th).

Why not get involved (and be in with the chance to win prizes!) by submitting an entry to our Research Image Competition or Research Poster Competition? There’s also an opportunity to take part by becoming a ‘book’ for our Living Library

Research Image Competition

Can you capture your research in a single image? Doctoral researchers are invited to submit an entry to our Research Image Competition. Prizes of £200 and £100 towards your research are available, so visit our Research Image Competition page for full details and to submit your image online by Friday 10th May.

Research Poster Competition

Our Research Poster Competition provides a chance to inform, engage and intrigue a non-specialist academic audience about your doctoral research. There are prizes to be won of £300 or £150 towards your research. Visit our Research Poster Competition page for full details, including the link to submit your poster online by Friday 10th May.

Living Library 

What stories and lessons live in the pages of doctoral researchers at Sussex? The Living Library enables you to borrow the most interactive book you can imagine – a fellow researcher! The living books in 2018 covered many important issues, including:

  • How to look after your mental health and wellbeing
  • Taking the plunge with public engagement
  • What to do when your fieldwork fails

If you’re interested in being a book for this year’s event, please visit our Living Library page for further information and complete our short online expression of interest form by Friday 24th May.

Have Your Say – Postgraduate Research Experience Survey

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey 2019 has been launched at Sussex and doctoral researchers will have been sent an email by the Doctoral School to their Sussex email address on 4th April, containing a unique link to access the survey. The survey closes on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete, and responses are confidential to the research team. As a thank you for participating, doctoral researchers completing the survey will:

  • be entered into a prize draw for a £100 Love2Shop or Amazon voucher, with 5 chances to win.
  • have £1 donated on their behalf to the University’s Student Hardship Fund.

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey is the only national survey of postgraduate research students. It provides a great opportunity for you to let us know what works well and what could be better for doctoral researchers at Sussex. Find out more about the survey here.

PhD & Social Media Research

Are you Instagramming your way to your PhD… or have you deleted your Facebook account? Do you Whatsapp friends and family all over the world?

Louise De Azambuja Elali, a doctoral researcher from the School of Media, Film and Music, is interested in understanding how Sussex PhD students use social media and about experiences with international students. If you’d like to contribute to Louise’s research, you can fill out the survey at

Upcoming Active Learning Network and Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Events at Sussex

If you are a doctoral researcher who teaches, you may be interested in the following events organised by the Active Learning Network and the Technology Enhanced Learning Team at Sussex.

Technologies for supporting diversity in the classroom
Wednesday 10th April 11am-12pm
Fulton Building, room 110

Tutors, risk-taking and good-practice teaching
Thursday 11th April 12pm-1pm
Bramber House, room 235

Step to Learn: Embodied representation for Learning in Organisations
Friday 3rd May  12pm-1pm
The Quiet Room, the Meeting House

Active Learning Network Conference
Tuesday, 11th June 9am-4pm
University of Sussex

Call for Participants – Decolonisation and Research: Problematics, Challenges, Prospects and the Global South (Research training)


DATE:  May 2-3, 2019

LOCATION: University of Sussex, Falmer Campus, Moot Room, Freeman Building.

Overall objective: To reflect, through research projects and examples, on research as a (global westernized) institution and how it can be (re)negotiated for the service of people in the Global South.

Summary: A two-day event that seeks to reflect on decolonisation and offer hands-on tools and guidelines towards it.

The training will begin with an introductory seminar by Prof Gurminder Bhambra (Sussex) on decolonisation with an exploration of resources. It will then move to a seminar with Prof Mona Harb (Prof of Politics and Urban Studies, American University of Beirut) on decolonising research where reflections from various research projects and institutions will be used to explore how this can be, and is being, achieved.

Then, the event will shift to small-group workshops where PhD students and Post-docs can present their work to Prof Harb and the group for feedback and a constructive (short) discussion. The informal presentation can touch on multiple aspects of the researcher project but the main objective is to offer feedback and advice towards conducting non-colonial research in the Global South.


Day 1: Thursday 1st May 2019
9:30-11:30: Seminar 1: Decolonisation – Global Social Theory, Prof Gurminder Bhambra (Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies, Sussex).
11:30-12:00: Break
12:00-2:00: Seminar 2: Decolonizing Knowledge Production: Lessons from Research in Lebanon, Prof Mona Harb (American University of Beirut).
2:00-3:00: Lunch break
3:30-5:00: Workshop group 1

Day 2: Friday 2nd May 2019
9:15-11:15: Workshops group 2
11:30-1:30: Workshops group 3

Eligibility and application process: this event is open to Sussex PhD students and Post-doc researchers across all relevant schools, departments and research centres. To participate, you are requested to submit a short CV and a paragraph (no more than 500 words) outlining how this training is relevant to your research and interests. These should be submitted by email to by midnight April 12, 2019.

N.B. There are no limitations in terms of research project but priority will be given to projects with a focus on the West Asia region. Each participant will be required to attend both seminars and one workshop session (either group 1, group 2 or group 3). You will be required to confirm your attendance with a firm commitment, so please only apply if you intend to come and please be aware that there is limited capacity.

This training is funded by the Sussex Doctoral School Researcher-Led initiative fund and supported by the School of Law, Politics and Sociology at the University of Sussex.

Researcher Development Programme: April 2019

With new sessions being regularly added to our events listing for the Spring Term, here’s a quick round-up of events coming up this April as part of our Researcher Development Programme.

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Practical Assertiveness for Researchers
Wednesday 3rd April: 13:30 – 16:30 (Arts A – A071)
You may not be able to control every situation, but you can (with practice) change the way you communicate, and that can have a positive influence on the responses of others. Assertive behaviour is a skill that will help you communicate directly, honestly, and appropriately in your interactions with others. Developing these skills will grow your confidence in handling challenging situations at work and in your professional relationships.

By the end of the session, participants will:

  • Identify assertive, passive, aggressive & passive-aggressive behaviours
  • Analyse the impact of their communication behaviours on interactions with others
  • Practise & evaluate assertiveness techniques for different situations
  • Experience the benefits of communicating assertively
  • Feel more confident in handling difficult situations

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WEBINAR: Effective CVs for Researchers
Thursday 11th April: 13:00 – 14:00 (Online)
Find out how to produce an excellent CV for roles inside or outside academia after your PhD. This webinar will look at different styles and approaches to help you market your skills effectively.

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Preparing for your viva (Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences)
Tuesday 16th April: 14:00 – 17:00 (Jubilee G31)
The doctoral viva can be a daunting experience for which you need to be well-prepared. This workshop will de-mystify the viva process & requirements, & provide you with useful guidance on preparing for the big day. You’ll also hear examples of real questions & experiences from recent successful vivas across different Schools, & benefit from the opportunity to participate in a mock viva.

By the end of the workshop you will have:

  • Understood the viva process & possible outcomes
  • Received practical guidance on familiarising yourself with your thesis & preparing for potential questions
  • Gained useful insights on what to expect & how to get ready for your viva

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Planning, structuring and writing your thesis in the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences
Thursday 25th April: 14:00 – 17:00 (Freeman Centre G22)
With essential advice and guidance on writing a thesis in the Arts & Humanities or Social Sciences, this practical workshop is suitable for doctoral researchers who are about to start writing as well as those who have already begun. The emphasis is on planning and structuring your thesis, and motivating yourself to start writing.

By the end of the workshop you will have:

  • Understood the requirements and elements of a doctoral thesis
  • Assessed what you’ve already achieved & what is left to do
  • Received guidance on developing the structure & content of your thesis
  • Discovered useful tips for planning & scheduling the writing (& finishing) of your thesis

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