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Are you about to undertake a PhD in science, technology or mathematics? If so this free course, Postgraduate study skills in science, technology or mathematics, will help you to examine your work processes. You will consider and develop the nature of postgraduate work and look at the planning of work needed at doctoral level.
Section 1 is an orientation or ‘framing’ section, and so its desired outcome is ‘awareness’ rather than particular demostrations of knowledge or skills. By completion of this Section 1 you should be:
- familiar with the required rigour, depth, and scope of a PhD;
- aware that there is no ‘one solution’, but that PhD models are influenced by institutions, disciplines, and topics;
- aware of the need for both good research and good presentation.
- show initiative, develop your ability to work independently and be self-reliant;
- assign yourself key tasks and schedule your time;
- set your first milestone;
- draw up a work plan for the project development phase of your research and an outline plan to completion;
- identify funding needs and sources, and make a case for receiving resources;
- identify training needs to fulfil your work plan.
- develop and maintain cooperative networks and working relationships with supervisors, colleagues and peers, within the institution and the wider research community;
- demonstrate self-discipline, motivation, and thoroughness;
- prepare effectively for supervisory meetings.
- discuss the purposes of science communication in contemporary society;
- demonstrate an understanding of science communication as a complex process, involving a wide range of social actors who are both motivated and constrained by social roles, norms and conventions;
- discuss factors that influence the production of science communication, including the selection and construction of information for particular audiences and contexts;
- discuss factors that influence the reception of science communication, particularly the role of prior knowledge, experience, attitudes and beliefs;
- discuss the concept of scientific citizenship and how this influences contemporary science communication.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 What is a PhD?
- 1.1 Thoughts on a PhD
- 1.2 Different reasons for doing PhDs
- 1.3 Different models of PhDs within and across disciplines
- 1.4 Broadly typical phases of PhD research
- 1.5 Key dissertation ingredients
- 1.6 What is a ‘significant’ contribution?
- 1.7 Demonstration of research skills
- 1.8 The OU requirements
- 1.9 Summary and conclusion: ‘take-away messages’
- 2 Managing your PhD project
- 3 An introduction to communicating science
- 3.1 Introduction
- Optional reading
- 3.2 What is communication?
- Optional reading
- 3.3 Producing a scientific paper: science communication as knowledge production and exchange
- Optional reading
- 3.4 Science communication and citizenship: getting involved
- Optional reading
- 3.5 Conclusions
- 3.6 End of seciton exercises
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Postgraduate study skills in science, technology or mathematics
This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from Postgraduate research skills in science, technology, maths & computing (STM895) which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at the Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in this.
The purpose of this unit is to help those embarking on a PhD in science, technology or mathematics. The selections that follow – there are three parts to the unit – are taken from a more substantial OU course that students starting a Higher Degree with the Open University will take early on in their studies. What follows is likely to be of interest to those contemplating PhD work in science (or technology or maths/computing) in any university in the UK or beyond, although you will of course come across some specific references to the OU context.
The three parts of the unit starts with Section 1, which discusses what is meant by PhD study and what is expected of those who undertake it. Section 2 looks at the important process of planning PhD work. Section 3 is more concerned with science as a discipline, looking at the how science is communicated in today’s society and aims to help PhD students get a better sense of how they might get involved in the process as they begin their studies.
You’ll see that some Portfolio exercises are included, which give students an opportunity to demonstrate and practice what they have learnt from each of the sections. Their portfolio file is an accumulative bank of evidence of what they have learnt from the course and therefore a useful summary of important outcomes; you may wish to apply this idea to your study of this and other OpenLearn material.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Education courses or view the range of currently available OU Education courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 19th July 2011
Last updated on: Monday, 3rd September 2012
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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