Research Development Clinics

60 minutes, weekly over a one-month period, or as needed

Organise relevant advisors to assist PhD students to develop a high-quality proposal. Schedule four clinic sessions for each student. Here, advisors provide one-on-one support to address specific problems identified in the diagnostic session as the student develops their research protocol. The objectives of the four clinics are:

  • Clinic 1 – to define the research question and objectives.
  • Clinic 2 – to discuss the research methods to ensure they will meet the objectives.
  • Clinic 3 – to detail the logistics of the research (Is it feasible, given time and other resource constraints?).
  • Clinic 4 – to develop a data analysis plan.

After the series of clinics, the PhD student should have at least a strong draft of a research protocol, including:

Research question
Data analysis plan

The course coordinator

  • Identify, invite, and allocate the most appropriate advisor (trainer, facilitator, or mentor) to each student, with reference to the notes from their diagnostic clinic session.
  • Invite each student’s PhD supervisor to read their student’s notes and attend the clinics. The supervisor’s buy-in and involvement is essential to ensure that the student has unified guidance.

The student

  • They must be clear about how they want to use the session and prepare questions beforehand.
  • For clinic 1, they write down their research question and a summary of the background to the question (max 500 words).
  • They should collate any documents or files that might be useful, for example papers or data sets they might want to refer to during any clinic.
  • They must arrive promptly for their appointment, with their preparatory work.

References to support data analysis plans


The allocated advisor meets with the PhD student for one hour per week for four weeks to discuss, in turn:

  1. The research question and objectives.
  2. The research methods (will they result in data that meets the study objectives?)
  3. The logistics of the research (Is it feasible, given time and other resource constraints?)
  4. A data analysis plan.

After the first clinic, the student writes a summary (maximum 500 words but may be shorter) of the key points agreed with the advisor. The student emails this to the advisor, their PhD supervisor and you, the coordinator/ facilitator, within 24 hours. This enables the advisor to see if the student understood what was said. The notes also enable you, as coordinator, to identify and schedule a suitable advisor for this student’s next clinic.

Between clinics, the student works on their protocol and prepares questions for the next appointment with the advisor.


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