Two postgraduate students talking

Training and development opportunities for our postgraduate research student community

Supporting you through your training and development needs

As a postgrad research degree student, you'll attend subject-specific online and face-to-face training and workshops as part of the Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP).

We've designed the Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP) to support you at key doctoral milestones, and to help you become an independent researcher and employable doctoral graduate. Our aim is to help you develop the research, professional and transferable skills to succeed in your research degree and beyond.

We work with the best tutors from across the University to bring you high-quality and engaging development opportunities. You'll hear from experienced researchers about their experiences of doing research and the lessons they've learned. 

Starting with your two day Induction event, you'll find the GSDP is a great opportunity for you to build networks across the University, meet other postgraduate researchers and discuss your research.

GSDP training and development

We recognise that every postgraduate researcher (PGR) brings their own set of skills and experiences to doctoral study. Whatever stage you're at with your research degree, we have development opportunities to suit your needs.

Our programme is organised into development areas, and most of these are linked to the skills and knowledge domains outlined by the nationally agreed Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF).

GSDP workshops

By the time you complete your thesis, you'll be expected to have developed high-level critical reading and writing skills. Our workshops offer a supportive environment in which you can work to develop Doctoral process your skills as an academic writer.

Academic reading group

Led by an academic reading specialist, learn how to be more selective and effective in your approach to reading.

Academic writing group

It can take time and practice to develop your confidence and capability as an academic writer. In this group, led by an academic writing specialist, you'll be provided with the space and support to do so.

Critical reading and writing

Learn strategies to help you engage critically with the literature and demonstrate this in your writing.

Introduction to LaTeX system for your thesis

LaTeX is a popular, free, open-source typesetting system that allows its users to create professional looking documents. In this workshop we'll discuss the benefits of this system, go through basic features including typesetting, documents control, bibliography and more.

Introduction to writing the literature review

Using real-life examples, you'll explore different structures for the literature review and discuss how to develop a coherent line of argument.

Making the best use of Microsoft Word for preparing your thesis

This training event will help you understand how to use Microsoft Word to format long documents including: outlines and master pages; styles and headings; indexes and contents; headers and footers; pages breaks and numbering.

PhD writing retreats

PhD writing retreats are full or half day events that give you the time, space and supportive environment in which to work on your writing, and increase productivity.

Producing an authoritative thesis

This group will help you develop an authoritative academic voice by providing techniques on dealing with a range of topics, from potential pitfalls (such as procrastination) to objectivity and criticality.

Your PhD as a 'hero's journey'

Enjoy a writing workshop that draws on your favourite films and books to explore ways of improving your own powers of expression, helping to focus your mind on academic objectives, creative aims and confident completion.

Identifying relevant literature and referencing it correctly is a crucial skill for doctoral researchers. In these workshops you'll learn how to find literature effectively, keep up-to-date with ease and work with references.

An introduction to using EndNote Basic and Mendeley to manage your references

Learn about the benefits and limitations of the available tools, and how to make the best use of web-based management software including EndNote Basics and Mendeley.

Effective literature searching for researchers

This series of workshops organised by discipline will help you to take a thorough and systematic approach to your literature search, employing strategies to help you keep up-to-date with ease.

Referencing and citations skills for your research degree using APA style

Whether you're new to this style of referencing or wish to hone your skills, this workshop will help to employ accurate and artful in-text citations using the APA referencing protocol.


Successful researchers are highly-skilled at managing research projects and their own time – and our workshops in personal effectiveness will help you make the transition to doctoral research be developing your ability to manage your work and your time effectively.

Making best use of your time

In this workshop, with support from an experienced and busy researcher, you'll share common challenges to effective time and self-management, and discuss strategies to help you to make the best use of your time.

Managing the supervisory relationship

Outline the roles and responsibilities of students and supervisors, and help you understand how to work well with your supervisory team. You'll also consider how your supervisory relationship may change over time, and how to manage any problems that arise.

Mini motivation boost

Feeling bogged down by data collection? Stuck in a research rut or procrastination productivity freeze? Take a step-back from your current challenges and consider what strategies could help you get back on track.

Surviving and thriving in academia

An introduction to practical strategies to become more productive and focused in your research. Explore how to thrive in academia, through developing good support networks, managing your workload and overcoming impostor syndrome.


There are certain milestones you'll need to navigate during your doctoral journey. Through these workshops and online modules, we'll demystify the research degree process and help you to understand what is required at each milestone.

Preparing for your major review

A valuable opportunity to discuss your developing research project and gain feedback from experienced researchers. You'll be talked through the process by a major review assessor, experienced research supervisor and a member of the research degrees team; highlighting what to expect and how to prepare yourself effectively for this important milestone.

Planning and writing your thesis

Quite possibly the longest document you will have written! Whatever stage of your research degree you are at, book a place on this workshop to learn how to plan your thesis, and take advantage of this opportunity to talk about your research, which will ultimately help you when you need to get down to writing.

Preparing for your doctoral viva voce examination

Designed for those who are six to eight months away from their viva voce examination. This workshop will help you understand the purpose, process and possible outcomes. You'll also gain practical experience of defending your work using typical viva voce questions.

Compilation style thesis

Thought about publishing your research during the course of your PhD? Perhaps you're interested in an efficient way of incorporating your publications within your thesis? If that's the case, you may like to consider writing a compilation style thesis. Alongside PhD supervisors, this workshop will give you more scope into this style of PhD thesis.


Research governance is a core skill for all researchers – and our GSDP workshops will help to ensure you meet your ethical and legal obligations, and make the research process run smoothly.

An introduction to research ethics, integrity and governance

Mandatory for all postgraduate research students. The aim of the workshop is to help you understand your ethical and legal obligations as a researcher, how to then build these into the design of your research, as well as work with integrity as a researcher. You'll gain insightful tips and guidance on how to make your way through the ethics review process within and outside of the university.

Design and implementation of ethical research involving animals

All postgraduate researchers who plan to conduct research involving animals, or that might have an impact on their environment (whether or not the research is covered by the Animals (Scientific procedures) Act 1986) should attend. Discuss how to design ethical animal-based research and meet your legal obligations as a researcher. You'll also learn the submission process for the university's animal welfare and ethical review board.

Managing your research data and documents

A core skill for all researchers. Not only does this unsure you meet important legal and ethical obligations, but also protect yourself against data loss. In learning good document management methods, your write-up for your thesis will be much easier. Develop good practice skills, and plans for accurate record keeping and appropriate data management and storage.

Project management for research

This workshop demonstrates how to apply the key project management principles effectively in a research context and provides the opportunity to problem solve common issues arising in research projects.

A robust and carefully considered research design is a fundamental part of good research. These workshops will help you understand the philosophical underpinnings of research and kick-start the process of designing your own research project.

Doing research with the NHS

Run by the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, learn how to navigate your way through a successful research project in the NHS. You'll learn about the governance framework for NHS research and regulatory requirements for working with NHS patients. You'll also get tips on research design which is practical and deliverable within the NHS, and contacts to get you started.

Getting started with qualitative research and 'whistle-stop' tour of NVivo

This workshop will help demystify the principles and practice of qualitative research. You'll explore the assumptions on which qualitative research is based, and find out more about qualitative data collection and analysis. A 'whistle-stop' tour of NVivo will help you understand the potential value of qualitative data analysis software to support your research.

Principles of research design

This workshop provides the accessible introduction to the philosophical underpinnings of research. You'll work to identify your own assumptions on the nature of reality and knowledge, and explore how these relate to your own research questions. You'll also have the opportunity to gain feedback on your research ideas from fellow postgraduate research students and experienced researchers.

Quantitative research for complete beginners

Designed for those who are new to quantitative research and data analysis. Book to attend before you start data collection to help you plan your approach to analysis. You'll learn about key concepts in quantitative research, what statistical tests can be used, and how SPSS can be used to support your analysis.

Practice Research

For those embarking on research that involves practice, establishing the relationship between artefact and exegesis is a necessary step towards creating a dynamic dialogue between the two. In this session, you will consider models for successful approaches and share your emerging plans with fellow Postgraduate research degree students.

Researching within your workplace

For postgraduate researchers conducting research within their own workplace, this workshop provides a forum to discuss the specific issues that arise for practitioner researchers. It will help you plan an effective professional or work-based project that is academically credible and professionally relevant.


Once you have decided on a research question and overall research design, these workshops will help you think carefully about the details of your research design and consider how you'll collect your data.

Ethnography and observation

We will discuss ethnography as a research stance, and go through research designs, phases and levels of observation, and how to craft ethnographic methods to meet your research purposes. We will also explore the role of the researcher in ethnographic and observational research, and, finally, solutions for presenting different types of data in research reports.

Getting started with survey design

This workshop will help you to understand this common approach to research, clarifying issues relating to sampling, data collection and analysis. You'll identify the difference between a survey and a questionnaire, and find out about how to design and evaluate and effective survey instrument.

Introduction to archival research

If you're planning on undertaking archival research, then this workshop will help you understand its value; how to locate and access local and national archival collections; and make best use of archive material. 

Introduction to big data

Big data (data collected in large volumes, at speed, in a variety of formats)provides many exciting opportunities fro researchers to explore questions using large samples of real-life data. This introductory workshop aims to help you understand the possibilities and considerations for working with big data as a researcher.

Introduction to case study research

If you're considering a case study approach to your research, this workshop will help you to understand the purpose and practice of case study research including: the principles of data collection, issues around methodological rigour, developing theory from cases and writing up your findings.

Introduction to critical and interpretive research perspectives: taking a hermeneutics approach

This workshop will help you to understand how research that seeks to explore the 'meaning-making' practices of participants is conducted, discussing the opportunities and challenges of such research, and underpinning philosophy and theories.

Mixed methods

Learn about the different forms of mixed methods research, and discuss appropriate ways in which a mixed methods approach may be applied. Key considerations and issues in data collection and data analysis will also be discussed.

Principles of systematic review

Popular in healthcare, they are increasingly being conducted in other fields such as education, business and the wider social sciences. Whether you are planning on conducting one, or have encountered them in the literature, this workshop will help you to gain a clear understanding of the purpose and process of conducting systematic review.

Qualitative research skills

Move forward with the key decisions you need to make as a qualitative researcher. Find out more about effective data collection, including how to organise and conduct high-quality interviews and focus groups, and record and store qualitative data. You'll also learn how to start with your qualitative data analysis.

Questionnaire and scale design and validation

In this workshop you'll learn about the difference between questionnaires and scales, and find out how to select or develop a robust questionnaire for your own research project.

These workshops will help you plan your data analysis and present your findings to the best effect, and make even the most stats-phobic student feel confident working with data.

Qualitative data

Analysing talk and text

This workshop will help you understand the principles and practice of different approaches to analysing talk and text. Learn how to apply them to the analysis of text-based documents (e.g. media or policy documents) or accounts (e.g. interview transcripts), images and videos, and to naturally occurring conversation.

NVivo qualitative data analysis software: Part 1, an introduction to the software

Understand the potential of NVivo, a commonly used computer-aided qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS), to support your own data analysis. Upload your data in NVivo, build a project database and initiate coding processes.

NVivo qualitative data analysis software: Part 2, advanced skills

For postgraduate researchers who have already completed Part 1, in introduction to the software. Build an understanding of the advanced features of NVivo, discuss different analytical strategies, and learn how to make effective use of query, relationship coding, and modelling functions in NVivo.

Writing and reporting qualitative data analysis

Learn how to communicate your data analysis process and findings, and construct meaningful and justified conclusions. 

Quantitative data

Understanding data and descriptive statistics

Learn how to conduct exploratory data analysis and produce meaningful descriptive statistics. No prior knowledge of statistics will be assumed, but you might find it useful to have attended the 'Quantitative research for complete beginners' workshop, under the 'Exploring research design' tab.

Introduction to inferential statistics

This workshop introduces you to inferential statistics, and gives you the opportunity to work with an example dataset to gain experience of undertaking and interpreting inferential statistical analyses. Bring along your own dataset, or plans for collection and analysis, for the opportunity to discuss these with an experienced quantitative researcher.

Introduction to SPSS

SPSS is a widely used quantitative data analysis tool, so knowledge of this is key for many researchers. We'll help you to understand the potential of this powerful software in this hands-on workshop to develop your confidence. You'll explore key features and functions of SPSS, and undertake some simple statistical analyses.

Introduction to R statistical software

R is an increasingly popular, free, open-source software environment for statistical computing and graphics. In this hands-on workshop, develop your confidence working with R and undertake simple and inferential statistical processes.

R applications

This day long workshop will introduce you to the fundamentals of coding, teach you how to read in and tidy data, generate descriptive statistics (means, standard deviation, correlations), make attractive graphs (bar plots, scatterplots, histograms and so on.) and deploy inferential tests (t-tests, anova and regressions). This workshop provides PowerPoints, example scripts (that you can take away) and exercises to help you consolidate what you have learnt.

Web scraping using R

Web Scraping is the automatic collection of information from websites. In this session you will learn how to download webpages, extract information from each of those web pages and store it in a form that is ready to analyse. Discussion of the ethics of web scraping and tips on practical etiquette whilst web scraping will also be provided.

Using MS Excel for your data analysis

The most popular software package for displaying and understanding numerical information. This session provides an overview of the ways in which Excel can be used to explore, manipulate and understand reserach data. This workshop will introduce you to the possibilities for data analysis using this software.

Making best use of SPSS for social scientists

This session is for those many researchers who find themselves unsure about how to begin their analysis, find their SPSS skills a little rusty, or to just gain some extra guidance or a checklist to remind them of where to start.

Introduction to multivariate statistics

Employing examples from survey method data, this workshop uses a hands-on approach to introduce you to the principles and practice of  wide variety of multivariate statistics that you might come across in your studies, including multiple regression, MANOVA, structural equation modelling and factor analysis.

Introduction to factor analysis

Using a hands-on approach, learn how to conduct a robust factor or principle components analysis and interpret the resulting factors/components.The similarities between factor analysis and principle components analysis will be explored, alongside discussion of the strengths and limitations of this type of analysis.

Introduction to confirmatory factor analysis

A practical introduction to Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and how it is set-up and interpreted using the IBM SPSS AMOS package, and taking examples from survey methods. A basic understanding of Factor Analysis would be helpful to get the most our of this session.

Presenting quantitative data analysis

learn how to identify what information to report from the output of statistical analyses including t-test, ANOVA, correlation, multiple regression, MANOVA and factor analysis, and present these meaningfully in your results section using text, tables and graphs.

Excellent research is nothing if we cannot communicate it effectively to other researchers and the wider public. In these workshops you'll learn how to communicate and promote your work to a variety of audiences.

Conference Skills

Attending or presenting at a conference is an exciting opportunity to join the wider research community in your field. Learn how to select an appropriate conference and present your work effectively, and about important practical and travel considerations. You'll also have the opportunity to practice your own mini-conference presentation.

Getting published in print

If you're aiming to get published in print, then you will need to navigate the publishing and peer review process. In this workshop you'll consider how to develop a strategy to publish your work, and learn how the peer review and publishing process works (including the chance to get hands-on experience as a peer reviewer).

Getting published on the web

Explore the possibilities and potential for publishing your work on the web. It's not a hands-on workshop, rather it will give an introduction to a variety of potential solutions, ranging in technical terms from easy to hard.

Making best use of presentation software

In this workshop you'll learn how to make the most of traditional software packages, while exploring other presentation software to complement speech and enhance communication.

Presentation skills group

An effective and engaging presentation style can transform an audience's enthusiasm for your research. With support of an academic skills tutor, this group will help you to develop an academic presentation style that suits you. 

Principles of successful poster design

Postgraduate researchers are often invited to present posters at events. Understand the principles of successful poster design to present information in a visual format that engages your reader and can be read as a standalone piece of work.

Writing a journal article, book chapter or research monograph

This workshop will help you to understand the publishing process from start to finish including how to write a high-quality publication.

Writing a successful abstract

Whether you are preparing for a thesis submission, a journal article or your thesis, this workshop will help you to write a professional and polished abstract.


Whatever your goals and motivations, our career development workshops will help you consider and plan your next steps, and make the most of the opportunities available to you during your research degree.

Capitalising on the enterprise culture

If you're interested in starting your own business, or would like to explore how to generate commercial business from daily problems and scale them up, then this workshop will help you to understand the basic concepts behind every start-up.

Effective job searching

Learn about how to search for advertised jobs, identify an work with specialist recruitment agencies, and access the largest source of jobs – the 'hidden job market'.

Enhancing your employability during your studies 

Find out what employers are looking for, and how to take a strategic approach to select development opportunities to set you apart from the crowd.

Marketing yourself: developing an effective application form or CV

Whether you are considering applying for an academic or non-academic position, this workshop will help you understand how to demonstrate your skills and experience effectively in application forms and your CV to persuade employers that you should be invited for interview.

Myers Briggs indicator and its use in career development

Understanding your personality can be very helpful in your career development from exploring what job roles for your own working style and preferences, to understanding how your (and others') personality types influence team dynamics. Find out more about your own personality type and how this links to our own strengths and talents.

Preparing for job interviews

Develop your confidence in preparing for, and presenting yourself effectively in job interviews. Find out about the types of questions most commonly used in postgraduate and postdoctoral recruiters, and consider how to develop strategies to deal with difficult questions.

Pursuing your research beyond your doctorate

Hear from doctoral graduates who have built a successful research career about their own career paths, and top tips for making the transition from postgraduate to post-doctoral researcher. Learn more about the funding landscape and career opportunities for researchers.

What next? Career options for research degree graduates in the creative and cultural industries, humanities and social sciences

75% of graduates from the creative and cultural industries, humanities and social sciences are employed outside of Higher Education three years after graduation. Explore career options outside of HE, and learn how your sills, values, interests all have direct relevance on your career options.

What next? Career options for research degree graduates in the sciences and technology

30% of graduates from the creative and cultural industries, humanities and social sciences are employed outside of Higher Education three years after graduation. Explore career options outside of HE, and learn how your sills, values, interests all have direct relevance on your career options.

Writing a funding application

In this workshop you'll learn about the funding landscape, funding process, and the key components of a successful application. You'll also find out what opportunities postgraduate researchers can use to get experience of applying for funding.

I would have no hesitation in recommending these courses to UoP PGRs – especially if an early evening slot that you can attend from home would fit your circumstances. The materials to support the sessions are provided the following day and this includes the recording of the session. I would have thought this would be particularly valuable to those for whom English is a second language.

Caroline Kovacs, PhD School of Computing

Further training and development

You can access other training and development opportunities as a postgraduate research degree student. 

Subject specific training

As a postgraduate research degree student, you'll need to develop many research and transferable skills. In addition to the research skills you'll gain through your GSDP training, you can make use of subject-specific training in your faculty.

You can search and book subject-specific workshops through Skills Forge. As with GSDP events, they'll appear in your development summary so you'll have a record of your training and development activities. You can use this training record for your major and annual review.

Online training and development

Online training resources for postgraduate research students cover all aspects of the doctoral process and skills for researchers. You can self-enrol onto these self-paced resources on Moodle (our virtual training environment).

Online training sessions include:

  • Introduction to Writing the Literature Review
  • Project Management for Research
  • Preparing for Your Doctoral Viva Voce Examination
  • Preparing for Your Major Review
  • Managing the Supervisory Relationship
  • Planning and Writing Your Thesis
  • Using MS Excel for Data Analysis
  • Introduction to Research Data and Document Management

Graduate Students Professional Development (GPROF)

The GPROF, delivered by the Department for Curriculum and Quality Enhancement (DCQE), is mandatory for postgraduate students involved in any teaching activity and who work as demonstrators and tutors. It's also open to postgraduate students who are likely to teach in the future.

There are two intakes a year – in October and February – and the majority of participants complete the programme and are awarded their GPROF certification within 6 months. Students with sufficient teaching and/or support of student learning experience can then work towards becoming an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Postgraduate students are permitted to teach after they have attended the GPROF induction session and completed their action plans, and as long as they're either engaged in or have completed the programme. It's also part of the University’s APEX framework and can be taken forwards towards accreditation by the UK Higher Education Academy.

For more information about the GPROF programme and information on how to apply, please contact

Partnership training with the University of East Anglia

This online training is delivered in partnership with the University of East Anglia, and offers research and professional skills training in a ‘live-taught’ online format. Training sessions are delivered via a virtual classroom on Tuesday evenings between 7.00pm–9.00pm.

Five different modules are available, covering:

  • Academic writing
  • Qualitative research skills
  • Finishing your PhD
  • Teaching Skills
  • Quantitative research skills

These sessions can also be recorded on Skills Forge and count towards your yearly research development activities.

Online training workshops

We regularly record GSDP workshops that take place on campus and upload them to the GSDP Moodle site. These videos are updated throughout the academic year. You'll get access to Moodle once you register as a student with us.

If you've already attended the workshops, the video resources are a useful refresher and can provide you with information if you're unable to attend the face-to-face sessions.

Please note, recordings are made at the discretion of the workshop facilitator, so not all sessions are recorded.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is an online training resource which is free to all our postgraduate research degree students. You can access a library of more than 14,000 courses on business, software, and creative skills – some of which will be directly relevant to research degree students, while others provide general skills training such as Microsoft Office, SPSS, and Nvivo.

Skills Forge

Once you start your research degree with us, you'll be able to use your University account details to book onto and record any training and development you attend using Skills Forge – a web-based system where you can manage your professional research and excellence skills (PRaXiS) development.

You can also record supervisory meeting minutes and notes, external training and development events, and conferences you attend as part of your training and development.

Ready to find out more?

Graduate School Development Programme 2022/23

Download our accessible brochure and find out more about our Graduate School Development Programme for 2022/23
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