05.09.2017

Orientation to doctoral studies

Orientation to doctoral studies is a material and exercise package that guides new doctoral students to get familiar with the study and research environment of the University of Jyväskylä and to consider some important matters at the beginning of doctoral studies. The orientation deals with research, studying and being part of the University community. Thus, it supplements information received from, for example, study guidance, counselling and student or staff orientation.

Introduction to doctoral studies in the University of Jyväskylä

Planning of doctoral studies

Target: The student has skills to create the postgraduate study plan in cooperation with his/her supervisor, and/or skills to evaluate appropriate implementation of the plan and to update the plan when necessary.

Exercise 1 / option A: Think about your employment targets after the doctoral degree. What kind of skills in particular you wish to develop during your doctoral studies? Describe your strengths that will most likely be useful for your studies, dissertation research and employment after completing the doctoral degree? Does the University offer sufficient opportunities to develop your skills? What other methods you could use to develop your skills? How could you cooperate with other doctoral students to promote the development of your professional competence?

Exercise 1 / option B: Interview your supervisor, a member of your follow-up group from outside the University or a researcher or teacher who holds a doctoral degree and works at your department. Find out his/her background and motivation for doctoral studies, as well as the path from doctoral studies to the current position. Consider what kind of knowledge, skills and characteristics are necessary or beneficial for persons in teaching and research positions at the University. What kind of opportunities you see the doctoral training to offer for developing and strengthening competences that are essential for a researcher’s career at a university?

Supervisors and the university community

Target: The student gets familiar with key persons in the study and research environment and has abilities for networking and integrating into in the University community. The student knows from whom to ask advice in different phases of the doctoral education process.

Exercise 2 / option A (researchers working at the University premises): Make a tour at your department and introduce yourself (or ask your supervisor to introduce you) to researchers, teachers, doctoral students and possible staff members assisting in research. In addition, introduce yourself to the follow-up group members from outside the University (in person, by email or using a video conference). Find out who are the head, the deputy head and the pedagogical head of your department, as well as who are the head of the doctoral school at your faculty and the head of your doctoral programme. Who take care of study administration for postgraduate students at your department? If you are part of the University staff, also find out who take care of HR matters at your department. Think about your position in the University community. In addition to your supervisors, who are key persons considering the progress of your studies and research? In which situations you will probably be in contact with people in different positions? How are you going to network with other doctoral students?

Exercise 2 / option B (researchers working outside the University): Introduce yourself to the external members of your follow-up group (in person, by email or using a video conference). Find out who are the head, the deputy head and the pedagogical head of your department, as well as who are the head of the doctoral school at your faculty and the head of your doctoral programme. Who take care of study administration for postgraduate students at your department? Think about your position in the University community. In addition to your supervisors, who are key persons considering the progress of your studies and research? In which situations you will probably be in contact with people in different positions? How do you take care of your attachment to your department (e.g. research groups and communities) and your networking with other doctoral students?

Study and research environment

Target: The student knows the opportunities offered by the study and research environment and knows what is expected of the members of the University community and what are the typical basic conditions for research.

Exercise 3: What kind of infrastructures, tools and services are necessary for the implementation of your dissertation and how do you ensure you have all information, skills and tools to complete your research?

Dissertation work

Target: The student is familiar with the responsible conduct of research, is able to manage the preparation process of a dissertation-size research project and can create a research plan.

Exercise 4 / option A: Select one recently completed dissertation in your discipline. Get familiar with the content and analyse how adherence to the principles of responsible conduct of research is visible in the dissertation. Reflect what matters in your dissertation research require special attention from the perspective of implementing the responsible conduct of research.

Exercise 4 / option B: Go to hear a public examination of a doctoral dissertation in your discipline. Find out if the dissertation has got visibility in the national or international media. What benefits visibility may bring to the doctoral candidate? Reflect how you could promote the visibility of your dissertation research.

Exercise 4 / option C: Discuss with a researcher who has recently completed his/her doctoral degree. What are the main phases of dissertation process? Which of them were the most challenging phases according to his/her experience? How did he/she overcome the challenges? Which phases you consider to be most challenging in your own dissertation process? Think how you could prepare for the phases and where to get support to overcome difficulties when necessary.

Publishing

Target: The student can evaluate the level and characteristics of publications and create a list of publications.

Exercise 5: Get familiar with TUTKA. Take a report on your department’s publications and analyse the publication activity of your department or subject. What are the most common publication types? What is the share of international publications? What is the share of peer-reviewed publications? How the publications are placed in the JUFO categories? Take a corresponding report on the publications of a department of another faculty. Can you find differences in the publication cultures of the departments?

Funding

Target: The student knows the most common sources of funding, knows the general prerequisites for receiving research funding and can draw up a funding application for his/her own dissertation research. The student has skills to create a realistic personal funding plan.

Exercise 6: Interview a researcher who has experience in writing and assessing funding applications. Find out what he/she considers a good application and research plan. What kind of problems or defects the researcher has noticed either in his/her applications and research plans or in ones he/she has supervised or evaluated? If possible, ask the researcher to read your own funding application or its draft. Consider what aspects you especially should pay attention to in the funding applications for your dissertation research.