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This section provides background information, resources and tools to help you assess your discipline-specific, research and broader skills and experience, then to prioritise and plan for those that you need / want to develop.

Training needs analysis (TNA)

A training needs analysis has been developed at the request of current DPhil students. It has been designed to help you make the best possible start to your DPhil research, and to go on and complete a successful DPhil. It will help you identify, prioritise and record the things you need to learn and develop in order to carry out your research successfully.

Although it’s known as a ‘training needs analysis’, it should really be called a ‘learning needs analysis’. Skills and experience are developed not only through attending formal training / events but also in more informal ways such in collaboration with your supervisors and colleagues and through your day to day work.

What is a training needs analysis (TNA) and how do I carry it out?

 A training needs analysis is a tool to help you, with the support of your supervisor, review you current skills and experience, and then prioritise and plan for those that you need / want to develop.

You can download the MPLS Training Needs Analysis template here.  It is structured around the core skills that are essential to becoming a good and effective researcher. It also provides guidance on the standards required for each skill.

There will be additional skills and experience related to research methods and to your particular discipline and aspirations that you will need in addition to the core skills listed in the TNA. Space has been included for you and your supervisor to add details of these.

In discussion with your supervisor, consider your level of each skill against the standards guidance and identify any gaps. Then prioritise which of the gaps you should work on and how – for example you might attend a training course or develop the particular skill / experience in another way. The graduate training framework below will help you schedule which skills to develop when. 

There is a list of relevant MPLS divisional courses here 

You can find more information about training courses from the division's graduate training page, and details of  training available from other training providers in the University here

You should make notes and keep records on the TNA document.

When should I carry out a training needs analysis?

To help you make the best possible start to your research, and because core skills are reviewed at Transfer of Status, it is essential that you start thinking about this right at the beginning of your DPhil. You should have a project initiation meeting with your supervisor during the first weeks to get the process going, and then review and update it regularly.

The Project Initiation Plan Template  provides a useful framework for this.  It will help you start thinking about your research question and methodology, the skills and equipment that you will need, and about other aspects of your DPhil activities.

One of the critical aspects of the TNA is to make sure that you review and update it regularly throughout your DPhil. This will mean that your skills and experience develop in the right way for you; and that you have a record of your learning, which you can refer to when you come to create your CV.

As you progress you should also think about which additional skills you need or want to work on – for example Public Engagement and Enterprise skills. The MPLS Graduate Training Programme and the Vitae Researcher Development Framework  provide information and ideas. 

MPLS GRADUATE TRAINING FRAMEWORK : DIVISIONAL COURSES

To help you plan the activity that will help you develop the skills and experience you need and want, training courses for DPhil students in the MPLS Division have been organised into a framework of phases and categories to guide you through the broad periods of your doctorate, and help you decide which skills you want / need to develop. The framework is intended to act as a guide and is not prescriptive.

Your department / supervisor will be able to advise on when you should be developing academic, research and discipline-specific skills and experience. To browse the full range of courses provided by departments in MPLS, see the Researcher Training Tool

The Framework

The training categories are defined as:

Academic skills are lecture courses / subjects that form an extension to, and fill gaps in, undergraduate knowledge.

Research skills are those needed to actually carry out research, for example safety, equipment use, programming.

Transferable career skills are those which are core to every student’s development and are genuinely transferable, although they may have a subject nuance.

Academic skills and Research skills are provided in departments. Transferable career skills are provided both by departments and the division (and other providers as appropriate).

 Please use the phases for guidance rather than as rigid timescales. 

             

 

 

Foundations Phase (0-12 months)

Intensive Research Phase

(12-30 months)

Completion Phase

(24+ months)

Any Time during the DPhil

Transferable Career Skills courses

 

Foundations for a Successful DPhil

GRAD Challenge

Completing your DPhil

 

Introduction to Research Data Management

Scientific Writing: Getting your Paper Published

Viva Preparation and Practice

Thesis & Report Writing

Managing your Supervisory Relationship

 Poster Design and Presentation

 

 

Introduction to Public Engagement

Presentation Skills

 

Teaching and Learning: Tutors and Class Assistants (PLTO)

 

Navigator for men (not 1st years)

Research Integrity

 

Teaching and Learning: Lab Demonstrators (PLTO)

 

Scientific Writing: Core Skills

 

 

Developing Learning and Teaching (DLT)

 

Springboard for Women (not 1st years)

 

Research Skills

 

 

Research Skills at these phases are delivered in your department and research groups. For more details see the Researcher Training Tool.

 

 

Academic Skills

 

 

Academic  Skills at these phases are delivered in your department and research groups. For more details see the Researcher Training Tool.