Guides on Postgraduate Issues

Published by:
SRHE and the SRHE Postgraduate Issues Network.

New series of SRHE Postgraduate Guides

The SRHE Postgraduate Guides have proved a very popular series and meet a growing demand for advice and guidance on the practical issues involved in the management, teaching and supervision of postgraduates who come from a great variety of disciplines and backgrounds, often with widely different needs.

A new series of Issues in Postgraduate Education Management, Teaching and Supervision was launched in July 2008. The first eight titles, shown below, are currently available and can be ordered directly from the Society. New titles are added each year on a rolling programme.

The Guides, which are developed by the SRHE Postgraduate Issues Network, are designed to be clear, practical and devoid of jargon. They are written by individuals with first hand experience of the issues as well established research credentials and go through a rigorous editing. These Guides form a valuable set of tools that will help deliver and support the delivery of high quality postgraduate training.


Martin Gough and Pam Denicolo
Series Two, Number One

Postgraduate Guide. Series 2, 1

Both Learning Needs Analysis and Personal Development Profiling are relatively new in postgraduate research. Together they offer powerful tools in ensuring appropriate development and training and, in an increasingly audit-driven society, a way of evidencing that development.

The first part of this thought-provoking Guide outlines Learning Needs Analysis and Personal Development Profiling and provides suggestions for their implementation. The second summarises national policy developments and their implications. In the third part, the authors develop positive arguments for embracing the skills agenda rather than merely complying with dictats from above.

This Guide is aimed not only at supervisors, institutional managers and policy makers, but also at novice researchers themselves. By raising awareness of skills and personal development processes, common understandings between supervisors and novice researchers can be facilitated, to the benefit of the individual and the research.

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Carolyn Jackson and Penny Tinkler
Series Two, Number Two

Postgraduate Guide. Series Two, Number Two“This Guide provides a compact and intelligently prepared resource for all those involved in doctoral examinations. The first part handles preliminary questions while the next two parts take the reader through the process, including assessing the thesis, preparing for the viva, the viva itself and its aftermath. The work engages its subject with… authority, clarity, integrity and sensitivity in relation to all dimensions of the doctoral examination process… demonstrating a clear feel for the politics and realities of the event. Mindful of employing a wide range of disciplinary examples it also makes succinct yet highly relevant use of theory. This Guide will be of great value to all individuals, experienced and novice alike, who sit in the viva room.”

Dr Peter Stokes, Department of Strategy and Innovation, University of Central Lancashire

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Val Farrar and Richard Young
Series Two, Number Three

Postgraduate Guide. Series Two, Number Two“This very practical Guide takes you to the heart of the issue. It is written from the researcher perspective using actual case histories encountered by the authors during their HEFCE-funded Premia project to improve provision for disabled postgraduate researchers. The Guide takes you through each stage of the PhD research degree by asking practical questions. If you are working with a disabled researcher it will give you the understanding and the confidence to ensure that you can respond to their needs. If you are working with non-disabled researchers it will also give you food for thought: inclusive practice is good for all.”

Janet Metcalfe, Director, UK GRAD

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Second Edition
Eunice Okorocha
Series Two, Number Four

Postgraduate Guide. Series Two, Number Two“This short Guide provides a level of awareness of intercultural matters, yet should appeal to a wide variety of people with relatively little time for exploring such matters in depth. It deftly points the reader away from easy stereotyping, by opening up opportunities for reflection on practice and creating an awareness of the potential for constructive solutions to communication problems in a university or college context. The Guide presents issues which have remained fairly constant through the decades of the existence of research degree programmes. Technologies evolve, money and people move faster in our frenetic global age, but we still have to learn to communicate and decode each other’s meanings in our everyday personal interactions.”

Martin Gough and Françoise Carénas, Guide editors

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Alistair McCulloch and Peter Stokes
Series Two, Number Five

Postgraduate Guide. Series Two, Number Two“In this Guide, Alistair McCulloch and Peter Stokes break new ground in addressing and foregrounding the needs of part-time research students. Whereas many standard sources assume a full-time context for doctoral study, the authors highlight the situation of the part-time majority of mainly mature students pursuing research degrees. Their argument is that both institutional arrangements and system-wide policy have yet to reflect the different circumstances of parttime engagement. Drawing on their respective disciplines of political science and management studies, McCulloch and Stokes point to the power relations encountered in the doctoral process, as between the student and the supervisor, department and institution; and as expressed in what they call the cultural web of doctoral learning and socialisation. At the same time, the motivations of those who study part-time are many and complex, and the forms taken by research degrees – traditional and professional – contribute to a changing environment for both full-time and parttime study. To better the conditions for part-time students is, they believe, a way of improving the experience of all research students. And, in the same spirit, we as readers are invited to volunteer our own views on how the Guide might be enhanced and developed to connect with new models and wider audiences for doctoral education.”

Professor Gareth Parry, School of Education, University of Sheffield

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Anne Lee
Series Two, Number Six

Postgraduate Guide. Series Two, Number Two“This Guide provides a useful and very readable overview of teamwork in research degree supervision. Anne Lee draws on her own international research to alert the reader to a range of. . . issues which need to be considered and addressed for the supervisory team to work effectively. She gives some useful definitions of supervisory roles and responsibilities, and provides questionnaires to help participants to clarify their own expectations. A wealth of helpful advice is provided about addressing problems in team supervision and for supervisors’ personal development.”

Professor Diana Woodward, The Graduate School, Napier University, Edinburgh


Tony Bromley
Series Two, Number Seven

Postgraduate Guide. Series Two, Number Two“This Guide provides an excellent and very practical contribution to understanding the issues and methodologies of evaluation of researcher training and development. It explores the practicalities and issues surrounding the challenging topic of evaluation and offers valuable insight towards effective evaluation. The more we understand about the impact of training and development activity the better placed we will be to offer the best possible support to researchers.

Evaluation can appear a daunting and complex task and raises many issues, for example, in how we can demonstrate the influence of a training activity on a particular outcome. This Guide is to be commended in not shirking such difficult issues, exploring opportunities for solutions and guiding the reader through evaluation methodology.”

Dr Iain Cameron, Head, Research Careers and Diversity Research Councils UK


Tony Fell & Ian Haines
Series Two, Number Eight

Postgraduate Guide. Series Two, Number Two“This Guide will help to inform all of us engaged with the transformation of doctoral and other postgraduate education over the past decade about the purpose and the impact of the Bologna Declaration. With this information we can more readily understand emerging suggestions for the development of doctoral education and be intellectually armed to contend or be content with them. As ever, when contemplating possible futures, it behoves us to contemplate history to see what we might learn from it.”

Professor Pam Denicolo, Vice Chair UKCGE, Member of the Rugby Team – a national sector working group evaluating the impact of researcher training and development, University of Reading


Alan Rousseau & Adrian Eley
Series Two, Number Nine

Postgraduate Guide. Series Two, Number TwoThere are now many formal programmes for inexperienced supervisors, but still often a mismatch between training provision and the needs of experienced supervisors. Promoting a better understanding of underlying principles and providing opportunities for self-development can potentially offer a more effective solution. The authors have combined their collective experience of supervision of postgraduate students and development training approaches to discuss such pivotal issues as: student recruitment; induction; the supervisory team and wider support networks; managing conflict; motivation; supervisory styles; and preparing for the viva. Their approach encourages discussion and reflection on what constitutes good supervisory practice.


Eleanor Loughlin, Elena Martin, Lowry McComb, & Stan Taylor
Series Two, Number Ten

Postgraduate Guide. Series Two, Number TwoOver the past two decades or so, there have been fundamental changes in doctoral education. These, as one of the authors1 has described elsewhere, include variously: massification; internationalisation; diversification; commodification; McDonaldisation; regulation; capitalisation; and (in terms of types of doctorates) multiplication. The central contention of this Guide is that, in view of these changes, the induction of postgraduate research students can no longer be seen as a ‘one-off ‘ event at the start of their studies to inform students about the institution that they have joined, but that it has to fulfil a far broader range of objectives, including those relating to diversity, retention and completion, and also how regulatory requirements are addressed.