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:
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.
- 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
- Tong et al. consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ): a 32-itemchecklist for interviews and focus groups. International Journal for Quality in Health Care; Volume 19, Number 6: pp. 349–357.
- Vandenbroucke et al. Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE): Explanation and Elaboration. PlosMedicine October 2007. Volume 4; Issue 10: e297.
The allocated advisor meets with the PhD student for one hour per week for four weeks to discuss, in turn:
- The research question and objectives.
- The research methods (will they result in data that meets the study objectives?)
- The logistics of the research (Is it feasible, given time and other resource constraints?)
- 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.