Course Information


Researcher Development Programme

Applying for Funding - How to Write a Research Proposal

Are you revising your project proposal for your PhD? Or developing a proposal for funding? This workshop will provide practical advice on writing a succinct, engaging and convincing proposal. You will review genuine sample proposals from successful PhD and funding applications and try out techniques for writing your own. The workshop materials will be drawn from the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences but the approaches considered will also be relevant to students from other disciplines. 

Applying for Postdoctoral Fellowships and Research Grants

Are you thinking of applying for your first postdoctoral fellowship or research grant? A major factor in determining your success is your project proposal. This workshop will provide practical advice on writing a succinct, engaging and convincing proposal. You will review genuine sample proposals from successful applications and try out techniques for writing your own. The workshop will also introduce you to the current postdoctoral research funding environment and to ways of keeping up-to-date with opportunities. 

Creativity, Motivation and Personal Effectiveness

Using personal creativity as a link, we’ll consider new approaches to academic problem solving and then consider how these methods may be useful to dealing with your issues around motivation and personal effectiveness.  Since every project is different and every researcher is different we won’t lecture to you about the “right” way to do things.  We’ll simply ask questions, tell stories, draw pictures and present models of working and provide a platform for you to discover some answers about your personal motivation, academic creativity and the tools and techniques that let you apply your talents effectively. 

Effective Presentation Skills

This course will provide a foundation of presenting skills that will help students deliver conference and departmental presentations throughout their academic career, as well as providing a basis for continuing to improve their presentational skills throughout their working lives. Students will be able to work on a current presentation of their own and receive individual feedback and guidance. 


Ethics standards apply very generally across many topics, methods and disciplines of research. This course explores what it means to be an ethical researcher. It examines the principles of ethical conduct and professionalism, involving reviewing some ethical Codes of Practice. It explores what academic misconduct means, including plagiarism, and how students should respond if they uncover malpractice.

Students will also have the opportunity to review the conventions of referencing and the legal rights of authors while they explore how current data protection laws apply to research, and discuss their impact upon that research. The nature of ‘informed consent’ and how to obtain it will also be discussed, and students will also explore how to balance risk when planning research. 

Getting the Most Out of your Supervisor

This course will give students insights into the benefits and potential challenges of the student-supervisor relationship. It will provide them with an opportunity to develop their personal influencing and negotiating skills. There will also be opportunities to discuss issues raised by students themselves and to gain advice on their next actions where necessary.

Improve your Work/Life Balance

This course gives you the rare opportunity to take a break from the treadmill of work, to focus on yourself and consider the areas of your life to which you could pay greater attention. Our physical and mental health is often not at the forefront of our priorities whilst we are doing our PhD, and with a small adjustment not only could our life be more enjoyable but even more effective and productive.

Introduction to Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

The course includes tutor input, group discussions and exercises on getting the balance right, managing pressure, motivation and effective use of time.

The workshop-style course will comprise a variety of activities to develop skills in communication, planning learning activities, producing materials such as handouts and slides, and fostering learning through effective questioning.

Intellectual Property and Impact of Research

This one day course explores the interface between academia and industry, the public, government or the arts. A mix of guest speakers from outside the academy and interactive workshops allow participants to consider the routes by which their research may reach external audiences (their pathways to impact) as well as learning about their intellectual property rights and obligations. All options include protecting your IP and pathways to impact. Arts and social sciences include influencing policy and podcasting your work. Science sessions include finding partners and working in industry.

Managing your Research

Research students come from a variety of backgrounds: you may have just completed your first degree or a postgraduate qualification, have worked in industry or the business world for a number of years and be returning to studying after time away from academia, you may be studying part-time while working in other areas. This course will give you an introduction to the skills that you will need to successfully manage your research, from project planning and time management to developing a productive relationship with your supervisor.

Preparing for your Viva

This course will address the administrative process of entering for the examination and submitting the thesis as well as the purpose, format and outcome of the viva itself, including the examiners’ reports and recommendations. Finally the procedures for appealing against the outcome of the examination will be discussed.

Advice is also given on how to prepare for the viva and how to manage associated stress and anxiety both before as well as during the viva. There are ample opportunities for student questions and discussion of issues surrounding the entire MPhil/PhD examination process.

Managing Research Publications and Data 

This class will give you an introduction to creating and updating your PGR profile on the College website using Pure, help you understand how to raise your research profile and visibility via research publications using Pure, an opportunity to get practical support with Pure profiles, Open Access for research publications: the REF and funder’s (including the Research Councils) requirements and how to meet them, practical opportunities to look at how to make research publications OA via Pure, an introduction to research data management including meeting funder’s requirements and writing a data management plan.

Research data management (RDM) is a key element of the research process and good practice in data management is one of the core areas of the responsible conduct of research. Visit Royal Holloway's RDM website to find more information about different aspects of RDM.

Making an Impact Online

Most academic content is accessed online: this class is a guide to academic blogging, tweeting and research paper discoverability.

Careers Courses

These classes will help you to write academic and non-academic applications and negotiate job interviews in both academia and industry. There is also a session on jobs inside Higher Education but for those who do not want to work within academia. Webinars on getting a good post-doc position, working in industry and career planning are delivered throughout the year.

Academic Writing 

These classes cover the planning of your thesis, time management, writing literature reviews and methodologies, writing style and writing for the reader, authorial identities, writing strategies for a writing block, and writing for publication. Please see Moodle for details.

Approaching the Thesis

This session will cover the common areas that some students may struggle with or want to improve upon when undertaking a research project. The session will cover strategies for:

  • Planning
  • Structures
  • Aims and articulating your research focus
  • Contribution to knowledge
  • Approaches to your research experience
  • Sitting down to write

Writing Literature Reviews

The literature review is one of the most important sections of your thesis. How you engage with authors in your field, and how your own voice comes through amongst the masses of literature could determine the tone for the rest of the thesis. This session will cover:

  • The purposes of a literature review
  • The elements that make up a Literature Review and how to improve it
  • Writing the literature review and issues of authority/authorship and 'invisible scholar' syndrome
  • The language of a literature review

Writing Methodologies

Methodologies are like the framework of a house. If the house is flawed, it will not stand. Having a strong methodological framework for your research is important. Too often methodologies can prove sticking points in a thesis and this session will look at the importance placed on this section. This session will look at:

  • What is included in a methodology chapter
  • Looking at quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Structures
  • What examiners want to know about your methodology
  • Language of a methodology chapter

We will look at examples of methodologies and review how simple writing strategies such as signposting can have a positive effect on the strength of the methodology and therefore the backbone of the whole thesis.

Strategies for Overcoming Writing Block

At some point in the life cycle of your thesis you may experience writing block or writing aversion. It could last a day or several months. We will look at ways of dealing with procrastination but also the more emotional side to dealing with writing aversion and block through methods that promote a positive relationship with writing. This session will cover discussions and strategies of:

  • What is writing block?
  • Procrastination
  • Planning
  • Writing strategies and techniques for combating the block.

Writing for the Reader

 This class will distinguish between writing for the writer, which can lead to confusing and unclear prose, and writing for the reader, which focuses on clarity and the argument. This class is structured so as to look at the theory of writing based on four writing and language specialists:

  • Writer to reader-based prose - Linda Flower
  • Elements of good and bad writing - Joseph Williams
  • Politics and the English Language - George Orwell
  • Four steps to good writing - Rowena Murray.

We will look closely at writing strategies and the language used when you write for your potential readers so that your analysis and interpretation is clear.

Writing for Publication in Journals (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences)

The session will cover a mix of both print and online publication methods:

  • Why and when to publish
  • Understanding the online reader
  • Identifying the right publication for you
  • Developing a strategy
  • Knowing what to write
  • Planning your article
  • Writing
  • Submission
  • What next?
Writing a Scientific Paper

This course will show you how to structure and write your research paper to give it the best chance with a journal. We will look at how to make your writing clearer and more concise, at conventions for research paper style and at the title and abstract in particular. You will get a chance to work on your own next paper, putting together key sentences into a structure and abstract.

Getting your Scientific Paper Published

This course aims to help you publish and publicise a scientific research paper in the most effective way, so that many people will read it, cite it and build on it. You will learn how to navigate the peer review process, how to choose the journal that will give you the best results as fast as possible, how to structure your paper and abstract, and how to publicise your research.


This session will help you save time, raise your profile and plan your research by covering:

  • Make the most of college library resources
  • Help you access the resources you need beyond Royal Holloway
  • Organise your references using reference management
  • Services the Royal Holloway Library has in place to assist students

How do I book?

For course and booking information see the RDP Moodle site