The Research Society During Lockdown 2020
Miriam Pelusi and Lauren Senior, PhD students and former PGRS committee members, explain how the Research Society supported research students during lockdown from March until June 2020.
The COVID-19 crisis has deeply affected our student research community. We were unable to use the library, meet each other at University, and carry out face-to-face or lab-based research. Sadly, we had to cancel our annual conference in June.
The lockdown started in March and we have designed webinars to help our research community to get through this difficult time.
Collaborative learning is key for research students: keeping connected helps us to learn from each other. We led four webinars around the topics of wellbeing and academic skills.
Keeping in touch
The first webinar was on 23rd April with Emma Hanford from Kooth Student about ‘Keeping connected’. Emma talked us through this free online counselling service. We found it useful because users can speak directly to professionals on mental health issues. There are also resources, such as articles from people who have used the service.
The second webinar was on 6th May and covered the topic of academic writing productivity with Bec Evans and Chris Smith from Prolifiko. We discussed what prevents us from writing: distractions, writing blocks, and internal pressures. Prolifiko provided us with tips to overcome these writing challenges.
Bec and Chris talked us through how to set SMART writing goals and small steps, use the time boxing or Pomodoro technique to organise our time in an easy way, keep a distraction diary to avoid procrastination. Most importantly, they strongly advised us to celebrate success as we go to feel confident as academic writers.
At our third webinar on 4th June we had a discussion around how best to communicate our research with Mihaela Gruia from Research Retold. The key lesson from Mihaela is that communicating research is a stepping stone for collaboration. Good research communication allows for community building and fundraising.
Mihaela gave us some advice on how to overcome challenges that we are facing, such us finding the time to produce a visual summary, planning the content and structure, and decide which format is most suitable. She advised us to use a clear structure: problem, solution and call for action.
Graduate School’s Development Day
We concluded the Graduate School’s Development Day on 18th June with a ‘social webinar’ to find out how postgraduate research students were coping during these uncertain times and discussed ideas to remain connected in the upcoming months.
The Research Society is run by students for students, giving postgraduate research students a space to connect, share their experiences, and learn from each other.
All research students are welcome to get involved in the society through our events.
To keep connected contact us at ResearchSociety@leedsbeckett.ac.uk