Workshops and training

I will run workshops on the list below for ANU staff and students, for free, on request. Please contact researchtraining@anu.edu.au

I frequently visit other universities and do research training workshops, but please note that I am usually booked at least six months in advance. Generally I charge a fee in addition to travel expenses to deliver these workshops outside of ANU. I will do pro-bono work in some circumstances. Please email me on inger.mewburn@anu.edu.au if you are interested.

I run a Thesis Bootcamp on ANU campus at least twice a year. For more information on this program please contact researchtraining@anu.edu.au

Note – I do not offer an individualised thesis coaching or proofreading service. If you need this kind of help, please look on our Useful Resources pages where I list some trusted suppliers.

What do examiners want?

Does a thesis have an audience of 2 or 2000? While you write for other researchers in your field, you must first please just two or three people: your examiners. In this workshop we will examine the research on how examiners examine and ask: What separates a good thesis from a bad one? Why do examiners look for their own work in the bibliography? What makes examiners cranky? and other burning questions.

By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Have a better understanding of the examination process generally (and how it tends to work at ANU).
  • Know what the ‘pain points’ for examiners are and how to plan for them in the way you write your thesis.
  • Have started developing an examiner selection template.

Audience: early to mid candidature
Length of workshop: 3 hours
Min student number: 30. Max student number: 100
Staging: internet enabled presentation machine, cafe style tables or lecture theatre, whiteboard and pens

Link to slide deck

How to win the three minute thesis

Having a concise ‘elevator pitch’ about your research and why it is important is useful when you are talking to people at conferences – and when your grandmother demands to know why you haven’t left school yet at the family BBQ.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an international competition which asks research students to present a compelling three minute oration on their thesis topic, and its significance, in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience – using a single PowerPoint slide. In this workshop we watch videos of 3MT winners (and losers) and you get to work on your own pitch.

By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Have a better understanding of what a good 3MT performance looks like – and what not to do
  • have begun writing an outline of a 3MT script
  • Have greater clarity on the contribution of your research to the world outside of academia

Audience: mid to late candidature
Length of workshop: 3 hours
Min student number: 30. Max student number: 80
Staging: internet enabled presentation machine, cafe style tables or lecture theatre, whiteboard and pens

Link to slide deck

Write that journal article in 7 days

All research students should think seriously about publishing during their degree. The job market is competitive in academia and your CV should show evidence that you are making an impact on your field already. Exposing your work to peer review can give you more confidence about the robustness of your findings and your writing. In this workshop we will look at a ‘fast track’ method for getting a journal article together from work you already have. We will explore some publishing strategies and do a series of exercises designed to help you give your article focus and touch on the tricky subject of sharing authorship. Lastly we will talk about some alternative writing techniques which may speed up the process of producing an article.

By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Have learned about different genres of article writing and what purposes they are used for.
  • Explored the role of generative writing and how you can use it to speed up the writing process and produce ideas.
  • Learned about planning and structuring techniques to make your writing time more effective.

Have some insight into how the article publishing process works and what you can do to ‘market’ your article once you have written it.

Audience: mid to late candidature
Length of workshop: 3 hours
Min student number: 30. Max student number: 120
Staging: internet enabled presentation machine, cafe style tables or lecture theatre, whiteboard and pens.

Link to slide deck

Spring clean your writing!

Are you already a good writer, but aspire to be a great one?

This longer workshop is aimed at students who are in the later stage of their degree and are preparing a thesis for submission. Together we will explore how ‘academic voice’ works and how you can create the impression in the mind of your reader that you are a confident and competent scholar. You will learn how to take your own writing apart and analyse it and some simple tips and techniques to improve readability.

This is NOT a copy editing workshop – but it will help you in the process of getting your writing ready for final examiner inspection.

You will need to bring:

  • A laptop and charge cord (tablets are not sufficient)
  • At least two examples (in electronic format) of writing in your discipline that you admire and would like to emulate.
  • A substantial section of your own thesis. At least two draft chapters

By the end of this workshop you will have:

  • Have a better understanding of what ‘style’ and ‘voice’ really mean in academic writing
  • Learned some techniques that will enable you to analyse good writing in your field in order to emulate it
  • Learned some techniques for de-cluttering and streamlining your writing to improve readability.

Audience: late candidature
Length of workshop: 5 hours
Max student number: 25
Staging: internet enabled presentation machine, cafe style tables, whiteboard and pens

Link to slide deck

Critical success factors for an academic career 

Research on academic job ads show that universities are looking for an extremely broad set of skills and attributes when looking to hire early career researchers. These range from ‘soft skills’ such as pastoral care, team-work and networking, to highly technical skills in teaching and research. Many of these skills are not, by default, developed as part of the PhD experience, especially if your focus has been primarily on developing your dissertation. In this workshop we will critically examine these skill sets and think about how you might go about developing and evidencing them to future academic employers.

By the end of this workshop you will

  • Have developed an appreciation for the wide range of skills and attributes required of early career researchers and why university employers are looking for them.
  • Started to review your own CV and identify gaps and opportunities
  • Understand the academic recruitment process so that you can approach the task of looking for a job with increased confidence.

Audience: late candidature
Length of workshop: 3 hours
Min student number: 30. Max student number: 120
Staging: internet enabled presentation machine, cafe style tables, whiteboard and pens.

Link to slide deck

Working with your supervisor

It’s likely that you have never had a teacher/student relationship quite like the one you will have with your supervisor. Even the most happy student/supervisor relationships will have occasional moments of misunderstanding and tension due to the nature of research itself.

If you have aspirations to be an academic yourself, now is the time to start thinking about what sort of supervisor you would like to be. Come along to learn about some of the common problems that develop during a research degree and some strategies for solving them. This workshop will help you understand why the PhD is ‘taught’ the way it is and how to position yourself to get the most out of the experience.

By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Have an understanding of the common problems that occur between students and supervisors and what (if anything) you can do to prevent them happening.
  • Know your rights and responsibilities as shown in ANU policy.

Audience: early candidature
Length of workshop: 3 hours
Min student number: 30. Max student number: 120
Staging: internet enabled presentation machine, cafe style tables or lecture theatre, whiteboard and pens.

Link to slide deck

Tragic Research Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

There are many potential pitfalls for researchers, especially when you are starting out in your career. In this session we will focus on three main problem areas:

  • Authorship and plagiarism
  • Data storage and sharing
  • Ethics applications.

The workshop will cover good practices in these areas which will help you put in place systems and processes to help you rest easier at night.

By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Understand how some research misconduct can occur, without anyone consciously intending to do ‘the wrong thing’.
  • Recognise the danger signs of the most common forms of research misconduct and common poor practices.
  • Have some strategies to manage yourself and others safely through a research misconduct situation, from identification to resolution.

Audience: early candidature
Length of workshop: 3 hours
Min student number: 30. Max student number: 120
Staging: internet enabled presentation machine, cafe style tables or lecture theatre, whiteboard and pens.

Link to slide deck