Become a strategic researcher

List of the workshops delivered by Emeritus Professor Ray Cooksey

In this series of four-half day workshops delivered by Emeritus Professor Ray Cooksey, an internationally recognised scholar in the area of research methods, human judgement and decision making, you will develop key strategic thinking skills that are important for effective forecasting and (research) project risk management as well as career progression.

While each workshop can be taken as a stand-alone event for professional development, early stage PhD candidates are particularly advised to view these 4-half day workshops. If you attend all four workshops, you will find they scaffold together to form a more systemic and holistic development experience. These events have been recorded and materials are available on the  HDR resources and advice portal.

Developing your Research Identity

Workshop content

This workshop will explore issues and considerations surrounding developing your research identity. Your research identity extends far beyond competence in research methodology to encompass both personal and professional dimensions. In addition, your research identity will evolve and change over time and will last far beyond the boundaries of your postgraduate experiences. We will look at how critical systems thinking, self-management, self-insight, self-reflection, communication, preferences and values all play a role in developing your identity and attending to the successful cultivation of these will help you to conduct more convincing and impactful research. We will also look at the importance of balancing your research role and identity with other roles and identities you have in your life. The workshop will include some self-reflection exercises to get you thinking about your own research identity.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this workshop, you should be able to:

  • Examine how to begin building your identity as a researcher by engaging in critical systems thinking and self-reflection;
  • Understand the importance of balancing your researcher identity with other roles and identities you occupy in your life space;
  • Learn how maintaining a research journal can help you to develop self-knowledge in your identity reflection processes;
  • Make a start on reflecting on your own emerging researcher identity using a self-reflection trigger questions template.
Contextualising your research

Workshop content

This workshop will explore issues and considerations surrounding contextualising your research. We will look at the importance of positioning yourself as a researcher within specific research contexts. As you begin to shape your research questions/hypotheses, you will find it necessary to position your anticipated research data sources (human or non-human) and to position your anticipated research with research that has been done by others. You will need to consider your intended research contexts (special attention is needed if these are indigenous contexts). You will also need to consider who your intended audiences/communities will be for your research and what impacts you intend. Finally, you will begin to anticipate key constraints and potential opportunities associated with your research intentions. It is with contextualisation that you will apply your systems thinking skills. The workshop will include some self-reflective exercises to get your thinking about contextualising your own research.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this workshop, you should be able to:

  • Understand the importance of contextualising your research to establish its place in the larger scheme of things;
  • Learn how your researcher identity plays a role in making choices/decisions about research context(s) and research participants/data sources;
  • Consider how your research is influenced by larger contextual forces and how your research is shaped by anticipating who your potential research users/readers/adopters/funders/sponsors are;
  • Engage in reflection on your own developing research project, with respect to constraints you can foresee and opportunities you can anticipate.
Managing the Politics and Ethics of Research

Workshop content

This workshop will explore the political and ethical dimensions of your research. These dimensions often operate behind the scenes, yet it is critical to bring them into the light; they cannot be ignored. Politics and ethics involve the exertion of power and influence over your research. Political power rests in relationships (e.g. with supervisors, peers and colleagues, examiners, institutions and organisations, funders, communities, cultures, families, etc) and you will have to manage many such relationships through the course of your research. Here it is critical to consider and understand who the key stakeholders (i.e. vested interests) are in your research and which stakeholders might also be gatekeepers who control access to resources, people, communities, and information you might require. We will see that ethics invokes considerations of rights, obligations, and duty of care in research and by researchers and that research involving indigenous people and communities requires additional considerations. We will discover the bottom line to be that political and ethical influences can shape your research and not always in the most productive ways. You will often have to make trade-offs to make your research feasible. The workshop will include some self-reflective exercises to get you thinking about the political and ethical considerations, especially with respect to key stakeholders and potential gatekeepers, implicated in your own research.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this workshop, you should be able to:

  • Explore the political and ethical dimensions of research through the identification of key stakeholders and gatekeepers;
  • Realise that stakeholders can engage in political behaviour to try to influence your research and such relationships need to be effectively managed;
  • Know that some stakeholders have a dual role as a gatekeeper who controls your access to desirable data sources, information, and resources;
  • Engage in active thinking/planning with respect to key stakeholders and gatekeepers for your developing research project.
Doing Research that is Convincing and has Impact

Workshop content

This workshop will explore issues and processes associated with bringing your research identity, contextualisations, and political and ethical considerations together to form a holistic plan for your research journey. We will examine the range of decisions and choices you must make to produce research outcomes that will be convincing to specific audiences. We will see that working effectively with stakeholders and gatekeepers can facilitate achieving research goals. We will also see that producing convincing and impactful research depends upon making effective and feasible choices regarding the patterns of guiding assumptions (‘paradigm’(s)) you will adopt, how you frame, position and configure your research, what you choose as data gathering strategies, sampling strategies for selecting data sources, and analytical strategies for making sense of the data you gather. We will discover that the choices signalled above need to be made in light of research quality criteria and as well as what I call meta-criteria. You will need to consider for whom you wish your research to have meaning and impact, which will then give you insights into the audiences you will need to speak to with any research outcome. The workshop will include some self-reflective exercises to get you thinking about your intended data sources and data gathering strategies.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this workshop, you should be able to:

  • Examine the range of choices, decisions, and trade-offs you may need to make during your research processes and how your researcher identity, contextual positionings, political and ethical considerations influence their trajectory;
  • Understand that choices, decisions, and trade-offs encompass guiding paradigm assumptions, research frames, configurations, sampling schemes, data gathering strategies, data analysis strategies;
  • Realise that producing convincing and impactful research depends upon effective management of research quality, assessed against quality criteria and meta-criteria and clear identification of target audience(s) for your research outcome(s);
  • Commence your thinking/planning with respect to identifying intended data sources and selecting data gathering strategies you might use to connect with them.

Details and registration

Date: Monday 9th November 2020

Location: online

Time: 9:00 am – 1pm (NSW/AEST Time)