A postgraduate research training programme in generic skills and strategies: Description and evaluation

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Quality Conversations Vol. 25

July, 2002, 794 pages
Published by
Tony Herrington
0 908557 54 X

The Postgraduate Research Training Programme is a centrally co-ordinated, voluntary programme of interdisciplinary workshops at The University of Western Australia that provides postgraduate research students with training in key generic skills and strategies at two critical phases of their candidature: the beginning of research and its completion. This paper briefly outlines our approach to conducting workshops and provides both quantitative and qualitative data that indicate students’ approval of the approach. The workshops, some of which began in 1993 and were later amalgamated and expanded to create the Programme in 2000, concentrate on issues of direct and immediate relevance to the processes of conducting and presenting research. They are highly interactive, and designed to explore and build on participants' existing knowledge, expertise and experience. This format offers students the opportunity to exchange information and strategies as well as to learn from staff. Importantly, it encourages and equips students to be active and creative in seeking solutions to problems. All the workshops and the Programme have been rigorously evaluated. By every measure, students who have completed the Programme evaluate it as being highly effective in assisting them with practical matters associated with the research process as well as with affective issues such as motivation and self- confidence. For example, in 114 participants' evaluations in 2000-01, an overall mean of 4.47 out of a possible 5 was achieved for a range of 25 survey items seeking students' levels of agreement with positive statements about organisation, quality of teaching, relevance and personal value of the course.

Keywords: postgraduate research training

A postgraduate research training programme in generic skills and strategies: Description and evaluation

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Cooper, G. & Juniper, S.