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NWSSDTP Newsletter 
                                                       May 2021  

Please scroll down for upcoming training events, funding opportunities and NWSSDTP student blogs!  
Photo of the Month


                          'Leeds Liverpool Canal'  Hayley Meloy, NWSSDTP Manager                


Training and Opportunities

Writing & Structuring an Effective Thesis. 

Date: Thursday 20th May 2021: 10:00 – 12:00.

The event presented is by Dr Simon Watts will focus on the writing – style, structure and presentation – of an effective PhD thesis. Writing an 80-100000 word document is very difficult indeed and this session is designed to help break the task into manageable chunks. For full details see here. This event will be held on Zoom - log in details will be sent along with pre-course preparation information to delegates nearer the date of the session. Please note there are only a few places remaining on this workshop.


Embodied Geographies Reading Group


As first year PhD students in Human Geography we decided to start an Embodied Geographies Reading Group in February as a way to bring people together from different disciplines and universities.
The next Embodied Geographies Reading Group will take place on Wednesday 19th May at 16:00 (BST). This month we will be reading Charlotte Bates' (2013) paper Video diaries: audio-visual research methods and the elusive body. We are excited as Charlotte has offered to join the reading group for a quick Q&A at the end of the session. This will be a great opportunity to ask the author any questions you have about the paper, embodied methods, or their research in general.

Workshop: Setting up and running a reading group for PGRs
We are hosting a workshop on July 27th (14:30-15:30 BST) which focuses on setting up and running reading groups for PGRs. We recognise that it has been difficult for people, in particular new PGRs, to connect during COVID-19. Reading groups and other recurring events provide opportunities for people with similar research interests to connect.
This workshop will consist of a brief talk about our experiences of starting a reading group; followed by a couple of activities which provide the opportunity to explore your own ideas about hosting reading groups and events. Furthermore, this workshop will give you the chance to network with people outside of your institution and potentially facilitate the formation of new reading groups.
Our talk will draw on our own experiences of starting an Embodied Geographies Reading Group as Postgraduate Researchers in times of COVID. We will discuss how we set up the reading group, how we decided on the theme, the readings and the running of the sessions. We will also discuss how we advertised the reading group and how we networked with PGRs and authors via Twitter. The workshop will also touch upon how and when we communicate with members, and the technological logistics of hosting a reading group online. See here to register 

for both events contact ;

4th Methods X Conference: Helping social science researchers to understand information on social media.

Date and time: 18 June 2021; 11.15 – 16.00
This year’s conference will focus on methodological approaches to understanding social media information. The relevance of social media research has naturally become more pronounced during the Covid 19 pandemic but equally, it has always played an important role in social science research as representations of a topic in social media shape what we think or do about that topic and how we engage with it. Our keynote speakers will therefore explore qualitative and quantitative approaches to researching social media information, focusing on how research topics are problematised in social media and how to critically engage with social media problematisations of these topics. They will help us understand the assumptions that drive these problematisations and how they translate into ‘lived effects’ that social science researchers may be interested in exploring. For full details see here.


Why Study the Rich?

Date and time: 10th June 2021; 17.00 - 18.00
In this context of increasingly sophisticated knowledge production around elites, this roundtable brings together three experts: to discuss why we need to study the rich; where we should go next with studying the rich; and what might be productive conversations and collaborations between the academic and NGO sectors in researching the rich. For further details and registration see here.

See here for NCRM's searchable database of training events 

SWDTP Webinar: The Impact of Conducting Sensitive Research Online: Before, During and After COVID-19

Many social scientists conduct research on sensitive or even traumatic topics, but the effects of this work on researchers are rarely discussed. In this webinar, Emma Williamson and Alison Gregory will draw on their extensive experience of undertaking research prior to and since the pandemic, noting some of the challenges they have encountered and suggesting practical coping solutions to employ. See link here.

SWDTP Webinar: Accessing Administrative and Sensitive Datasets through SafePods
The SafePod Network (SPN) is a new service that will provide a network of standardised safe settings (known as SafePods) across the UK to enable approved researchers to access and use sensitive datasets to better understand our society and economy. The SPN is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and run by the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research. Both are part of the ADR UK.This webinar will explore what SafePods can provide researchers, research projects that have used SafePods, and practical guidance for using SafePods. See link here.

Lancaster History Postgraduate Conference 2021

Dates: 17-18th June 2021
We have organised this year’s Lancaster History Postgraduate Conference to be a hybrid conference, both in-person (hopefully) and online.
We encourage people in all stages of the PhD to apply. Please see: for more details and please get in touch here:


Introducing ELSA - The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
Here, Kate Coughlin, ELSA Project Manager, introduces the study, their work on COVID-19, and its future aims. Read the full blog here.

Memory Matters in NICOLA
The Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NICOLA) is one of 11 new studies that joined CLOSER at the end of 2020. Here, Dr Charlotte Neville, NICOLA Scientific Officer, takes us through the global battle against dementia, NICOLA’s role in supporting this and its growing international impact. Read the full blog here.

See Cross-study data guides here
See Longitudinal Studies: an overview video here
See here for highlights from CLOSER's Twitter feed.


Vitae researcher booklets

See here for practical advice and tips tailored to researchers on topics chosen to support professional development. Each booklet includes advice and suggested exercises to work through. For example, see 'The researcher on placement'.


Methods North West sessions

Methods North West is offering another series of methodological sessions delivered by experts in their fields.

For example:
Thursday 3 June 2021 14.00-15.00.
Discourse Analysis: how and why should I do it?
For further information and to register go to Eventbrite here.

Thursday 10 June 2021 14.00-15.00
Introducing Corpus Approaches to Social Science
For further information and to register go to Eventbrite here.

Please find details of all upcoming sessions here.


Administrative Data Research (ADA)

ADR UK works with expert researchers from academic institutions and other research bodies to utilise administrative data and produce valuable insights into UK society. Access to good quality administrative data is extremely valuable for research, facilitating a far more accurate and comprehensive picture of UK society than can be achieved without it. For details see here.

Methods Lab 

Methods Labs is an experimental research collective building a laboratory to stimulate creative sociological debate. Methods Lab website. Methods Lab resources 
Students in Focus
Megan Readman, Psychology, Lancaster University (2017 Cohort)

Around 2 ½ years ago my supervisor told me, “Publications are your ticket out of grad school…it is your publications that will get you post-doc and lectureship positions” this conversation has stuck with me since that day.

I am sure we, PhD students, are all very aware that our achievements in the world of academia are often measured by our publications (and later our grant successes). Whether that’s right or wrong is another matter, but due to this many of us will continually be striving for the next publication. I must admit as a young fresh-faced undergraduate (and probably also Msc student) I naively thought the publication process was pretty straightforward in that you write an article, select an appropriate journal, submit the article and bam a while later after making some minor amendments the article is published. How very wrong I was…
Read Megan's full blog here.

Student Representatives

Research Café - 2nd June, 2-3pm, Zoom

The Research Café is an opportunity for NWSSDTP students to learn about the research that is currently being conducted by students across different pathways, as well as to chat about anything research-related in an informal and friendly environment. For the first part of the Research Café, Matt Hanley, a 2nd year PhD student from Lancaster University, will present their research: Mountain gorillas for peace: how do transboundary environmental peacebuilding processes expose synergies for peace and collaboration in a conflict arena?", followed by a Q&A. During the second part of the Research Café, other students will have the chance to voluntarily share about their research and to discuss any research-related points, questions and concerns. 

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 941 8989 1886

Your student Representatives profiles and contact details can be found  here

Recent Events

Sarah Chadwick, Psychology, Lancaster University (2018 Cohort)

A key part of a PhD is attending conferences - both to learn more about, and engage with, others' research and to disseminate your own. I was recently fortunate enough to attend two online conferences, with the cost of attendance covered by the Research Training Support Grant (RTSG). Reflecting on my experiences of attending these conferences here, I hope to encourage others to recognise the value of attending conferences and to consider making use of the RTSG to do so. Read Sarah's blog about her attendance at the Simulation Workshop - a week-long conference focusing on simulation organised by the Operational Research Society here.

Chloe Brennan, Psychology, University of Liverpool (2018 Cohort)

“R” you considering attending an online training course?

I have wanted to learn R since I started my PhD and after learning about the benefits of doing structural equation modelling (SEM) in R I knew I needed to bite the bullet and sign up to a training course since I would be using this method in my PhD. Although training courses can be pricey, I am lucky to be a NWSSDTP funded PhD student because I can use the Research Training Support Grant to cover the costs. Read Chloe's blog here.

Liverpool Fashion Summit Briefing Document

A couple weeks ago, we closed the second edition of the Liverpool Fashion Summit. We’re sad that it is over, but overjoyed that it happened!
This year we “sold” 146 tickets! A huge increase on last year, and all thanks to you, our supporters and friends, for spreading the message and taking part. We understand that not all of you could make it, you can check all the videos on our YouTube channel here.
See the document here.

What Should a Literature Review Do? held on 13th May 2021

'I'm a first-year student who came to this event hoping for some specific advice & ideas on how to produce an effective & critical review of the literature.  I found the session really informative; it included the 'why & how' of a literature review and techniques for structure, as well as 'insider' tips for writing your literature review with your viva & examiner in mind. My big takeaway from the session was how I can introduce academic criticality into my writing. I would definitely recommend this event if the chance presents itself in the future. Abi Lafbery, SSSTM, Lancaster University (2020 Cohort)

"During this session, Dr Simon Watts explored the varying ways in which a PhD student can approach their literature review. Starting with highlighting exactly what is required from a literature review, Dr Watts demonstrated the importance of knowing your academic field, and how you can translate this knowledge into your chapter. drawing upon examples from his own literature review, he explained that we will each be exploring our own individual research fields with elements which will vary in importance and relevance to our own work. Providing honest and practical advice, Dr Watts demonstrated how students must refrain from being descriptive, and maintain a critical approach when writing. This session provided a brilliant explanation of the literature review, providing answers to questions students might often feel too embarrassed to ask!" Adele Moore, SSSTM, University of Liverpool (2020 Cohort)



Student Minds 
​Student Minds empowers students and members of the university community to look after their own mental health, support others and create change.
See here for details.

Learning to accept your own mental illness
As part of the Voices of Academia website Lucy Arkinstall has written a blog post about her journey through higher education and learning about her mental health issues and learning to open up and receive help. She talks openly about her struggles and her tips for accepting her mental illnesses.

Additional Funding Competitions 

'Overseas Institutional Visit during a pandemic' 

As Benjamin Franklin once said: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”. This also holds during a pandemic. As the Overseas Institutional Visit funding (OIV funding) promotes such an investment in advancing and disseminating knowledge abroad, I decided to go to Berlin, after I was invited by Prof Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel. In the beginning of January 2021, I travelled to Berlin in order to start my visit at Technical University Berlin and stayed there until the end of March 2021. Read Yigit Oezcelik's blog here.

The next deadline for all NWSSDTP Additional Funding Competitions is Friday 4th June 2021 (suggested deadline for trips taking place September – December 2021)

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