First PGR workshop

Having returned from the JISC programme meeting and IDCC7 at Bristol we were straight back into our project work. On Monday we held our first workshop with our PGR students. This proved to be more successful than we could have hoped.

After a buffet lunch, introductions and iPad set up we started with a discussion on terminology. As we are working with students from Biosciences, Archaeology, Law, Sports Science, Film Studies, Engineering and Business these to led to some interesting points being raised. Even the term “Research Data” meant different things to different students. However, the was common agreement that, whatever you call them, data can be split into three stages.

  • First there is the raw/unprocessed/primary/unconstructed data
  • Secondly there  is the processed/analysed/constructed data
  • Thirdly there is published data

However, even this is fraught with difficulties as one of the students said that in their discipline students would not consider themselves to use “data” as they base their research on published reports. It certainly gave us food for thought.

The discussion then moved onto the term “metadata”. Again, this meant different things to each student and some had not heard of the term.

This discussion reinforced what I had heard at various workshops I have attended that use of language is essential when discussing RDM with researchers and will be critical when we start to create training materials.

Talking of which… Following a much needed coffee break we asked the PGRs to evaluate a number of training materials which various institutions have already created. I won’t name names, but there was general agreement that one was better than the rest! Again, the resultant discussion raised issues that we as a project need to bear in mind:

  • The use of bullet points
  • An easily navigable site
  • Embedded videos (although not universally popular)
  • Clear site map
  • Clear audience in mind when creating materials
  • Every body said that they preferred face to face training

I will blog these points in more detail at a later date and following the workshop we are confident that we have a group of engaged and very articulate students who will help the project achieve its aims.

Posted under Follow the Data

This post was written by Gareth Cole on December 14, 2011

3 Comments so far

  1. Simon Hodson December 14, 2011 19:20

    Hi Gareth,

    Many thanks for this. An excellent post and I’m delighted that the first workshop exceeded expectations.

    I shall look forward to hearing more about the particular points. Similarly, the appraisal of training materials and understanding the needs of these particular users will be very helpful for other projects and the programme as a whole.



  2. Simon Hodson December 14, 2011 19:22

    Gareth: just to make sure you’re aware of Jez Cope’s recent post as Research360 at Bath start their engagement with their Doctoral Training Centre:

  3. Laura Molloy February 3, 2012 15:54

    Hi Gareth,

    Thanks for this – a really interesting summary. I agree with Simon that any feedback you can share re. evaluation of training resources is really useful. It’s not so much about ‘naming names’, more just that it helps everyone to develop better resources if we have access to feedback you – or any other of the projects – are gathering.

    Please do email me if you want to talk about it further.


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