Talks for students

Our talks are mainly intended for humanities students, but are often also useful to students in other fields. Gordon is co-author of a leading book for students, The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research. He has a multidisciplinary background, ranging from archaeology and English lecturing to computing, and has a particular interest in helping students who feel lost and isolated in the academic world.


Talk topic: Should I do a PhD?

The realities of a PhD: what it is, and what it isn’t. This talk draws heavily on Gordon’s experience with a wide range of PhD types and topics. It is particularly intended for two audiences:

  • undergraduate and taught postgraduate students who feel that they are being channelled towards doing a PhD almost by default, without knowing properly what would be involved, and what other options they could consider
  • people for whom a PhD would be a good choice, but who have never considered the possibility, often because of societal pressure, or lack of knowledge about what PhDs actually are.


Talk topic: Beyond the usual suspects

Many students gather data using interviews, questionnaires, and/or focus groups, often because they are unaware of other options such as card sorts, laddering, observation, etc. This talk discusses options available for data collection, with particular regard to cross-cultural issues, working with disadvantaged communities, etc.

A card sort in progress: Which features of these drinking vessels are important to this participant, and why?


Contact us about our talks

Talk topic: Making sense of the literature

What are literature reviews, and why do people do them, and how can you do one without getting overwhelmed? What are Systematic Literature Reviews, and how do they relate to meta-studies, and are they really as systematic as they sound? This talk answers these questions and more.

A different way to view the literature: keyword distribution across records for an online search


Talk topic: Academic writing

Why is academic writing the way it is? What is considered good writing or bad writing in your discipline, and why? Why has nobody ever explained the reasons for these and other related issues to you? This talk answers these questions and more, with numerous worked examples. It’s particularly intended for students who come from non-academic backgrounds, including industry, and other fields with styles of writing very different from academia.


Talk topic: Beyond the PhD

A little preparation during the PhD can make life a lot less stressful in the closing stages of the PhD. This talk looks at ways of identifying possible post-PhD careers and life choices, and at ways of trying them out during the PhD, so the student can get a better idea of what they really want, and can start preparations for moving in that direction. For example, a few weeks of exchange study with a research centre can help the student find out if that direction is right for them, and can help them build professional networks in their chosen area.

This talk pays particular attention to routes and possibilities which students might never have considered, but which they would love.

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