What training do I need?
It’s important to think about the kind of skills and experience you will need to develop in order to carry out your research and successfully complete your DPhil.
Everyone’s individual needs and career aspirations are different, so we have developed the Training Needs Analysis (TNA) to help you make the best possible start to your DPhil research, and to go on and complete a successful doctorate. It will help you identify, prioritise and record the things you need to learn and develop. It’s a good idea to start this process at an early stage in your DPhil, and continue to review it regularly.
The TNA is structured around the core generic skills that are essential to becoming a good and effective researcher, and should be tailored to you by adding the research and discipline related skills that you will need. It also provides guidance on the standards required for each skill.
Download the MPLS Training Needs Analysis (TNA) template here.
There is also guidance on how to use the TNA.
You might also find a summary of courses to help with the core skills useful.
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.
- Download the Project Initiation Plan Template (Word doc)
- View the Project Initiation Plan template as a webpage
One of the critical aspects of the TNA is to make sure that you review and update it regularly throughout your DPhil - consider it as a living and evolving work. How often this happens depends on what you and your supervisor think is appropriate for you, but the division recommends a review at least once a year and preferably more often.
By reviewing what progress has been made on the learning needs identified previously and deciding on which new priorities to address, you will ensure 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 it is also a good idea to think about which additional skills you need or want to work on – for example Public Engagement and Enterprise skills. As well as the information within these pages, the Vitae Researcher Development Framework also provides information and ideas.
The Graduate Training framework will help you schedule which skills to develop when.