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Postgraduate Study in Australia

Surviving and Succeeding

Edited By Christopher McMaster, Caterina Murphy, Benjamin Whitburn and Inger Mewburn

Each contributor to this book was given the remit: "If you could go back in time to talk with yourself when you began your studies, what advice would you give?" Hindsight is such a bonus, especially, when vying for your doctorate or postgraduate degree. Postgraduate Study in Australia: Surviving and Succeeding addresses this with advice from postgraduate students and recent graduates that will assure that you are not alone in your endeavors.

This project follows similar editions that focus on Aotearoa/New Zealand, South Africa,
the United States, and the United Kingdom, and is currently being replicated in Scandinavia. This down-to-earth anthology shares personal stories from postgraduate students and recent graduates, employing a practical approach and focusing on the context of postgraduate studies in Australia. This first-person approach to research about postgraduate study helps curate the current understanding, with critical reflections adding to our collective knowledge. Both prospective and current postgraduate students will find this collection insightful.

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Chapter Eleven: How to Become a Researcher: Developmental Opportunities on Campus and Beyond (Lilia Mantai)


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How TO Become A Researcher

Developmental Opportunities on Campus and Beyond



Embarking on a PhD is not only about learning to do research but also about becoming a researcher. While the first part is somewhat obvious, the second part is not necessarily communicated to the student at the outset of the PhD. This chapter is about why it is important for you to seek professional development opportunities to help you grow as a researcher early on in the PhD, for example, by participating in or organising writing retreats and Higher Degree Research (HDR) conferences, attending HDR workshops, joining and creating study groups—to name a few.

At the end of your PhD you are expected to be capable of conducting independent research, but simultaneously you are just beginning your career as a professional researcher, be it in academia or elsewhere. Hence, it is vital that you start thinking about your professional development during the PhD to prepare for your career.

No matter if you are new to research or not, the PhD is the time to invest in your personal and professional development. Developmental activities, such as forming peer groups, convening HDR conferences, participating in writing circles, and running research discussion groups, but also teaching and research assistant work help you grow your new ‘researcher identity’ and as a professional in general. Get social, join such...

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