- Database of practice
- From a Single Scholar to Effective Collaborator in the Arts & Humanities
From a Single Scholar to Effective Collaborator in the Arts & Humanities
- University of Sheffield
- Yorkshire and North East
- Date first submitted:
- 24 Nov 2009
- Date last modified:
- 26 Nov 2009
- Personal effectiveness
- Academic practice
- Postgraduate researchers
- Doctoral researchers
Rationale, aims and outcomes
What is the rationale for doing this?
How does it fit with institutional strategy?
What are the main features of the provision?
What are the aims and expected outcomes?
In the social sciences and the arts & humanities there has been a long tradition of research by the lone scholar. However the funding landscape in these disciplines is changing and researchers need to be equipped to undertake collaborative research projects effectively. It was decided that dedicated programme of training and support for researchers to enable them to develop the skills needed to run collaborative projects would be appropriate. The programme included innovative features such as cross-disciplinary mentoring and action learning.
To enable early career researchers to build the necessary skills and confidence to start working on collaborative projects.
Programme participants developed their understanding and skills and stated that they felt more confident in working on research activities with colleagues in other disciplines or with external partners.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
The activities were available to final year research students and early career researchers in arts, humanities and social sciences. In total, 82 individuals participated across the programme.
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
Participants have benefited in terms of personal effectiveness, development in research skills and career management. The intensive approaches of mentoring and action learning enabled researchers to gain a significant amount of hands-on support from both their peers and from more experienced academics and to focus on building specific areas of skills and competence.
Departments and faculties will benefit from the improved personal effectiveness of early career researchers who participated in the programme. External partners will also benefit from working with more confident researchers.
Matching researchers to mentors was challenging as mentor volunteers were not always available in the same discipline. A lot of time was spent thinking about academic matches, in addition to personal / career level matches, and matching required a lot of personal knowledge about both mentors and mentees which was obtained through meetings and interviews. This was quite time consuming and could not have been done for a larger cohort.
It is anticipated that some of the elements of the programme, in particular the cross-disciplinary mentoring, will be further developed in future training programmes for researchers.