Using the Training Needs Analysis to aid in better research

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The skills outlined in the TNA help you to become a more effective researcher by looking at areas such as data analysis, information gathering, and effective referencing as well as communication skills. Any career path you choose, whether in academia or outside of it, will depend upon a mixture of the specific skills developed through your research, and more generic skills, and it is these generic skills the TNA is designed to recognise and develop. The TNA helps you to think about your skill, pinpoint gaps in your knowledge and identify areas for future development. If you are not planning on following a career after the completion of your research, or if you are already established in your career, using the TNA is still a useful way of looking at skills that will make your research more productive and effective.

Many of the skills included in the TNA are not specific to you area of academic focus or research, but that can be applied in a range of settings and developed in a number of ways. They include skills like written and verbal communication skills, team working skills, flexibility and creative thinking. These transferable skills are increasing in demand by potential employers in every employment sector.

Using the form

It is important to note that the TNA is a reflective, not a prescriptive, document. It is a tool to analyse your development needs, and there is no pass or fail mark. As the form is generic and designed to be used across the University, the level descriptions use general terminology. Your supervisor can help you to relate this to your specific research context, if needs be.

Each section has a number of skills descriptors. These range from roughly the level of a recent graduate all the way up to someone engaging in Post-Doctoral research. Where you fall on each level depends upon your individual experiences. Tick each level that applies, and then decide up on how much of a priority each area is for you, and when you will aim to develop the skill by. Lastly, note any planned activities that will help you to develop the skills you have identified. Your Supervisor can help you identify activities, or see the University Graduate School website at www.graduateschool.bham.ac.uk . You may also find the self enrol course on TNA Training from WebCT useful. You can enrol on the course here: http://www.weblearn.bham.ac.uk/selfenrol/ The Graduate School also runs face to face workshops to help you complete the TNA. Details are available on the Graduate School website.

Once completed, you and your Supervisor should sign the form and it should then be submitted to your school. There is a one-page summery at the end of the form that you may find useful to keep for your records. As your skills develop and change year on year you should complete a new TNA for each year of study.

Research Context:

This section deals with the context you operate in as a researcher, what other researcher in your field are working on, or have worked on in the past, and the rules, ethics and methods relating to research, whatever the field.

Knowledge of the Research Community

Level

(Tick all that apply)

Priority for Further Development

(Low, Medium or High)

Year of activity

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6)

I can identify the leaders and national organisations in disciplines relevant to my research

Medium

I can identify the current active researchers and the international organisations/conferences/funding agencies in my field.

I can demonstrate that I have had contact with a significant number of researchers in my field at other institutions and have attended conferences. I can demonstrate that I know how to apply for research funding and how an application will be evaluated.

x

3

I can demonstrate that I am an active member of my research community, reviewing papers and grant applications, grant reports and attending conferences regularly.

Planned Activity

Research Philosophy and Rules

Medium

I can demonstrate knowledge of the standards and regulations that apply to my research

x

3

I can demonstrate understanding of the various codes of practice for good research that apply to my field.

x

3

I can demonstrate that my research has been carried out in accordance with the various codes of practice that apply to it.

x

3

I can help others to understand the various codes of practice for good research that apply to my field and I can evaluate the extent to which research carried out by others complies with the various codes of practice that apply to it.

Planned Activity

Knowledge of Recent Advances

Medium

I can identify key research in my area

x

5

I can demonstrate that I have carried out a comprehensive review of research that has been conducted in my area.

I can describe the research being carried out in my area and defend my knowledge of this in questioning.

I can act as an authority on research carried out in my area and can evaluate the knowledge of others.

Planned Activity

Understanding Research Methods and Techniques

Medium

I can explain the basic research methods and techniques that I have already used.

x

3

I can explain the range of research methods and techniques that I have considered for my research programme and justify the choices I have made

I can justify the approaches that I have used in my research and can discuss alternative approaches and how they might have resulted in a different outcome.

I can help others to understand research methods and techniques, to assess the appropriateness of choices made by others and evaluate their effectiveness.

Planned Activity

Understanding Intellectual Property and Commercial Exploitation

Low

I can demonstrate that I understand the concept of intellectual property and that there are processes that are necessary to allow commercialisation.

x

3

I can describe what I must do, and not do, to allow commercial exploitation of my research. I know whom to contact to discuss any issues surrounding commercialisation.

x

3

I can demonstrate that my research has been carried out in a way that would allow exploitation if appropriate. I know what is involved in writing a business plan

I can advise colleagues and students in what is necessary in order to allow commercialisation of research.

Planned Activity

Research Practice:

This covers the day to day aspects of research, gathering and analysing information, and methods of recording and presenting your findings.

Gathering Information

Level (tick all that apply)

Priority for Further Development

(Low, Medium or High)

Year of activity

(1, 2, 3)

I can use standard sources of information accessible through libraries and the internet and can perform routine searches.

x

Low

3

I can identify and access appropriate bibliographical resources, archives, and other sources of relevant information. I can demonstrate knowledge of other methods of gathering information as appropriate to my field.

x

3

I can design and implement a variety of approaches for the acquisition and collation of information through the effective use of staff, appropriate resources, information technology and equipment.

I can advise others on how to design and implement a variety of approaches for the acquisition and collation of information through the effective use of staff, appropriate resources, information technology and equipment.

Planned Activity

Identifying Topics for Research

I can follow a programme of original research under supervision and understand the basis for that programme and the way that it was designed.

x

Medium

3

I can recognise areas where research is needed and can take an active part in designing a research programme. I am capable of original, independent and critical thinking

x

3

I can evaluate the way that a research programme is designed. I can demonstrate independent and critical thinking in developing this programme and can develop theoretical concepts.

I can help others to recognise areas where research is needed and make decisions about priority areas. I can guide them in the development of their research programmes. I have experience in helping others to develop their abilities, either through teamwork or leadership.

Planned Activity

Analysing Information

I can analyse standard information relevant to my research programme and draw valid conclusions.

x

Low

3

I can analyse my own original research findings and those published by others and can draw novel conclusions that are validated by others.

x

3

I can critically analyse and evaluate my own findings and those of others. I feel confident that I can distinguish between those findings that are well supported by the information available and those that are less strongly supported. I am able to do this independently.

x

3

I can transfer my analytical skills to areas that I do not already have great knowledge or experience of. I can evaluate other people's information and can help to develop the critical analytical abilities of others.

Planned Activity

Recording and presenting research findings

I can record and summarise my research and present the results in an understandable way. I can use appropriate information technology for presenting information.

x

Medium

3

I can record my research and formally incorporate my reflections on progress into this record. I can summarise the results in a clear and understandable way. I can use information technology appropriately for recording and presenting information

I can assess the way that my research is recorded and use reflection on progress in this record to evaluate the research. I can evaluate the way that the results are presented in order to achieve the most effective means of clear and understandable communication. I can use information technology appropriately for recording, managing and presenting information.

I can advise others on how to record their research and how to formally incorporate the process of reflection on progress into this record. I can instruct others on how to summarise the results in a clear and understandable way, using information technology as appropriate.

Planned Activity

Managing &Planning the Research Process

I can, with supervision, undertake a research programme that has a specific goal, intermediate milestones and a clear prioritisation of activities.

x

Low

3

I can demonstrate that I know the principles of project management. I can set research goals, intermediate milestones and prioritise activities

x

3

I can demonstrate that I have successfully applied project management through the setting of research goals, intermediate milestones and prioritisation of activities and am aware of different ways of doing this.

I can show that I have extensive experience of project management. I am aware of a variety of different ways of doing this and can guide others in the best ways of doing this in their own context. I have experience of applying these to achieve defined goals in a variety of different projects. I can define the role of individuals in a team and delegate tasks to different team members.

Planned Activity

Career Management:

This section looks at skills relating to finding and furthering your career.

Continuing Professional Development

Level (tick all that apply)

Priority for Further Development

(Low, Medium or High)

Year of activity

(1, 2, 3)

I can undertake a personal audit to identify my strengths and weaknesses.

x

Low

1

I can identify areas where I need to develop my skills to further my career progression in relation to a variety of career options and can plan actions to achieve this.

I can manage my own professional development to increase my employability. I can make realistic assessments about career options.

x

1

I can help others to identify their strengths and weaknesses, understanding the transferable nature of research skills to other work environments and to a range of career opportunities within and outside academia.

Planned Activity

CVs, Applications and Interviews

I can present an effective CV that summarises my personal attributes, experiences and skills.

Medium

I can construct an effective CV that summarises my personal attributes, experiences and skills in such a way that they are applicable to a wide range of career opportunities.

x

1

I can develop examples that demonstrate my skills and can promote myself in applications and interviews.

x

1

I can evaluate examples that demonstrate my skills. I can promote myself, and an understanding of my field of research, through applications, interviews and presentations to a wide range of audiences.

Planned Activity

Developing and maintaining effective working relationships

I can work effectively with others and understand the importance of this.

x

Medium

1

I can contribute effectively to teams that I work with. I can understand the importance of working well with others at different levels within my institution.

I can work well with others within the institution and beyond, appreciating the impact of my behaviours on others and can facilitate the work within teams that I contribute to. I can give and receive feedback. I can develop and maintain co-operative networks in the wider research community.

I can establish teams, develop new networks and form collaborations with others. I can appreciate the impact of my behaviour and respond sensitively to others, to facilitate the work within the teams that I belong to. I can take on a leadership role within a team, network or collaboration.

Planned Activity

Communication Skills:

This looks at your written and verbal communication skills, and the skills involved in giving presentations and working with others

Level (tick all that apply)

Priority for Further Development

(Low, Medium or High)

Year of activity

(1, 2, 3)

Writing and Visual

I can communicate clearly to convey information in a way that is appropriate for my area of study.

x

Medium

3

I can select appropriate forms of communication for different contexts. I can write clearly, or make suitable visual presentations. I understand the stages of producing a professional document or presentation.

x

3

I can write clearly using coherent arguments and interpreting evidence to produce reports, articles, thesis or media that are appropriate for a range of audiences. I have experience of publication or public display of a piece of work of my own. I can promote public understanding of my research through publication or display.

I can write clearly to construct coherent arguments and evaluate evidence in a way that allows me to communicate and articulate ideas clearly through a wide range of written resources, or other media, including reports, articles, or exhibitions which may be appropriate for the academic or a wider audience. I can evaluate the writing and work of others and can give them feedback.

Planned Activity

Oral Presentations

I can present a seminar on a chosen topic although I may need support to develop the presentation. I can discuss my work meaningfully with interested colleagues.

x

Medium

3

I can explain my area of research confidently to others in my area of research and can demonstrate that, with support, I have presented work well in seminars or possibly at conferences. I can defend my research during these presentations.

I can defend my research ideas during presentations, seminars and at conferences. I can provide evidence for my approach during interviews or PhD viva. I am able to do the preparation for this alone if necessary. I can demonstrate an ability to present my argument and theories clearly.. I have helped to promote public understanding of my research through verbal communication.

I can evaluate my research ideas and those of others during presentations and seminars and justify my approach to an academic or public audience.

Planned Activity

Interacting with others

I can communicate through informal discussion and share ideas with my peers and colleagues.

x

Medium

3

I can analyse ideas and discuss interpretation with others. I can support others to understand the core topics in my field, by explaining underpinning concepts. I understand the importance of listening

x

3

I can discuss interpretation of ideas with others and give feedback on their ideas and proposals. I can support others through explaining concepts, adapt my explanation to their experience and mentor their learning. I can adapt my communication style to fit the context.

I can discuss interpretation of ideas with others, to develop my own ideas and those of others. I can respond perceptively, providing constructive feedback to facilitate the development of ideas from others. I can present ideas and teach effectively using a variety of approaches. I can chair a discussion.

Planned Activity

Personal Effectiveness

Level (tick all that apply)

Priority for Further Development

(Low, Medium or High)

Year of activity

(1, 2, 3)

Self reliance and initiative

I can follow a schedule of activities and meet targets. I can identify where I need support and use support effectively

x

Medium

3

I can develop a schedule of activities to meet targets and revise plans as necessary. I can work independently, monitor my own progress and use support effectively.

x

3

I can identify and agree my own targets, organising a schedule of activities to meet them and monitor my own progress. I can be self-reliant andwork independently oruse support effectively as appropriate.

I can set and evaluate my own targets, taking responsibility for defining them and showing initiative to organise and monitor a schedule of activities to meet them. I can be self-reliant andwork independently orseek support when appropriate. I can also help others to develop these skills.

Planned Activity

Commitment and Motivation

I can analyse what I want to commit myself to and the reasons for doing this.

Low

I can analyse my current knowledge and assess my learning needs. I can prioritise my work, setting targets, responding positively to setbacks and meeting deadlines.

I can analyse my current knowledge to determine my personal development needs. I can organise my work effectively to plan and to initiate future developments. I can show persistence and commitment to overcome difficulties and regularly meet targets set by others and those I set myself. I am thorough in meeting standards of application required.

x

3

I can organise my work effectively to plan and initiate future developments, defining what is needed in order to prepare for them. I can specify targets and manage these developments efficiently. I can demonstrate high levels of self discipline, commitment and motivation in meeting my academic goals.

Planned Activity

Flexibility and Adaptability

I can recognise that I may need to adapt to changing situations and circumstances.

Medium

I can apply my knowledge and experience to adapt to changing situations and circumstances.

I can cope effectively with changing situations and circumstances and am open-minded enough to alter plans if circumstances dictate.

x

3

I can assess whether my current approach appears to be the best through regular reviews of my progress and am open-minded enough to alter plans if circumstances dictate. I am able to talk about this process and help others to assess their own progress and consider alternatives.

Planned Activity

Self-Awareness

I can describe my own strengths and weaknesses and use this to help analyse my learning needs.

x

Low

3

I can evaluate my own strengths and weaknesses. I can identify those elements that I wish to change or develop and seek appropriate support. I realise that there are appropriate boundaries in my interaction with others.

I can use my interactions with others to help me to test my view of myself and to plan my own development. I can recognise the appropriate boundaries in my interaction with others.

x

3

I can plan my own development and negotiate with others if necessary to achieve my goals. I can recognise the appropriate boundaries in my interaction with others and respond accordingly. I can help others to do the same.

Planned Activity

Creativity and originality

I can develop my own ideas when thinking about a problem

x

Medium

3

I can identify areas where new ideas or solutions are needed and can generate ideas and alternative solutions to a problem.

I can identify and explore areas where new ideas or solutions are needed. I can seize new opportunities and I am able to conceive original ways or approaches to employing existing resources and to my research.

I can create new opportunities and conceive new ways or approaches of employing existing resources and to find original approaches to my research. I can evaluate opportunities to select innovative and effective approaches.

Planned Activity

Student Signature:……………………………………………………………………….

Supervisor Signature: …………………………………………………………………..

Please hand this form in to your school office.

Summary and PDP

Skills Area

Activity

Planned activity

Date Attended

Reflection

What did you learn?

How will you apply?

Do you need to develop further?

Research Context

Research Practice

Career Management

Communication Skills

Personal Effectiveness

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