Preparing a Research Report
Depending on the School, candidates may be asked to write a research report (or complete a research report form) in advance of the panel. Some of these reports will be less detailed than others – eg if candidates are asked to submit a report in conjunction with a written piece of work of approximately 5,000 words in length. **Again, it is crucial to become familiar with the guidelines for the School of registration well in advance of the panel review date**.
A research report should include the following (N.B. some schools ask candidates to complete the form in conjunction with their supervisor, and most schools have report forms which they ask PGRs to fill in through eProg – this should help make the task easier)
- A clear statement of proposed research – eg progress made to-date and a detailed, updated thesis plan. What is the next stage of the research?
- A coherent literature review (even if only in draft form), which demonstrates an original contribution to the topic
- A plan of your methodological approach to the topic
- A completed training log
Preparing a Panel Presentation
If the School requires PGRs to complete a 5-minute presentation to the panel, then candidates should consider how they are going to approach this task. Is it standard practice to prepare a PowerPoint presentation? Presentations should include the following:
- When prepared in conjunction with a research report, make sure the presentation mentions what progress has been made to-date
- Discuss, in brief, how the research training that has been undertaken has benefitted the research
- Think about the next stage of the thesis – how does this fit in with what has been done before?
- Anticipate the questions that the panel might ask, in advance.
- Bring along to the panel some handouts which summarise how the thesis has progressed over the course of the last few months
Preparation for the panel is key. As part of a preparation strategy, formulate a brief preparation plan for the panel review (in weeks and months). What needs to be done? When does work need to be submitted? What are the School requirements?
On the day...
Below is a list of suggested dos and don’ts about the day. Some of them are common sense, but it helps to clarify some of the ‘unwritten’ rules of good panel conduct.
It is advisable to…
- Have something to eat before the panel
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before
- Select an outfit to wear that’s suitably professional
- Take water and tissues into the room
- Take an annotated copy of any of the work/forms that have been submitted in advance
- Greet the panel members enthusiastically with a handshake
- Make a checklist of items to finish in the week running up to the panel
- Take a pen and paper into the panel room and take notes
- Pick up on panel member’s cues to extend the answer to a question