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Thing 23: Reflecting, Wrapping up and Continuing the Journey

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Teresa Phipps, Postgraduate Research Senior Officer (Skills Development and Training), Swansea University


And just like that, we have reached the last of our 23 Things! I don’t know about anyone else but it seems 5 minutes since we launched the first of our Things a few months ago. We’ve covered a host of different areas and have hopefully got you thinking about new topics - even some you may not have heard about before we started! Feel free to look back over the list of Things to remind yourself of all everything we’ve explored; the blog and website will stay live for a few more months for you to access.


Congratulations!


fireworks by night over water
“Wahey!” (Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash)

Don’t forget the end-of-programme celebration meet-ups running on Thursday 8th June!


The aim of this final Thing is to think about how we bring all of these diverse subjects together and how as researchers we can conceive of and communicate our wide-ranging knowledge and skills to the world. It can often be (relatively) easy to talk about the specifics of the research we are doing, and the findings or impact of our studies, but harder to conceptualise how this translates to a wider set of skills and knowledge. Whether you envisage a long-term research or teaching career in academia, or may have other plans for your next steps, it’s increasingly important that we are able to identify and communicate our ideas and how our know-how transfers across a wide range of areas. The good news is that by completing 23 Things this year, you have a whole new list of areas to add to your list! But how can you go about identifying these skills?


If you are doing or have already completed a research degree, you will have developed and utilised most, if not all the following competencies – often without even realising it. All of these skills are essential in research, but also in a wide range of other professional contexts, but we often don’t realise this until we break them down.

  • communicating your ideas in a range of formats – written, oral, visual – and for different audiences

  • project design – determining what you are going to do and how, using what methods

  • collecting and dealing with large volumes of information and data (qualitative and/or quantitative) – processing, understanding, analysis and applying this information

  • processing and distilling information into key points and findings

  • project management – planning, meeting deadlines, time management, dealing with change, budgeting

  • working with others – supervisors, research group, stakeholders, and other colleagues

You might also be involved in teaching, representative roles on committees of academic networks (with associated administrative tasks such as taking minutes, putting together communications or policies and developing strategy), or event planning/marketing/delivery relating to conferences or seminars.


Hopefully, some of the Things we’ve explored here will have added to your list of skills and knowledge:

  • We’ve learned how we can better work with others, whether that’s online, in supervision relationships, through networking, or fostering better research cultures. And you’ve put this into practice through working with your pod and developing a new international network of your own!

  • We’ve explored a range of digital tools and approaches that equip us to conduct, manage and share our research and other information in the digital age, from data management and bibliometrics to AI and open access

  • We’ve delved into some of the most topical issues in research and wider society, inspiring you to think about how to make your work accessible, inclusive and how we can promote equality through research and the curriculum

  • and finally, we’ve given you plenty of food for thought in boosting your own profile, from thinking about your online presence and professional networks, to communicating your research through a wide variety of platforms and approaches

Some of these may be topics you were already familiar with, while others may have been brand new to you, and there are probably other things you’ve learned more about that I haven’t included here. Through 23 Things our aim is to introduce a wide range of areas and topics and give you some food for thought, but you will likely need to go away and do some further work and exploration on topics that are most relevant or important to you in order to be able to say you have real skills and knowledge in these areas. This is far from the end of the journey!


colourful bunch of flowers viewed from above
You’ve been bloomin’ marvellous (Photo by Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash)

Now we’ve looked at some of the broader skills and knowledge areas associated with research, the crucial next step is being able to evidence your abilities in these areas. Whether you’re applying for research funding or for a job, you need to be able to prove your competency to your audience. Anyone can claim to be good at something, but it’s evidence and examples that prove this.


For example, I could write a job application that says I have advanced skills in coding and statistical analysis, and that I’m experienced in transcribing and analysing medieval documents. Only one of these claims is true, but without any evidence, it’s impossible to know – I could be making both things up! (It’s actually the medieval one – my stats training stopped at GCSE Maths).


So for our final task and reflection, spend some time thinking about all the skills and knowledge you use day-to-day, whether in your research or in any other role. This can be as simple as writing a list or drawing a mind map. If you want to be more sophisticated, you can try grouping your abilities into different areas. Alongside each area, note an example that could be used as evidence of your abilities. You might find that you can use some of the 23 Things topics and tasks as inspiration or even some of your examples.


If you need some inspiration, you could start by looking at Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework.


You’ll probably find that you also end up identifying gaps in your skills (no one’s perfect!) – make a note of these and think about how you could plug these gaps, perhaps by signing up for some training, seeking an opportunity or doing some research of your own.


So what’s next?


a man facing the camera, his arms are open, palms towards the camera, and a questioning look on his face.
So, what’s next? (Photo by Oyemike Princewill on Unsplash)

Armed with this array of new skills, interests and connections, we wish you plentiful success and enjoyment, in your research and the rest of life. Above all, we hope you enjoyed meeting your pods and other people on the course. Do stay in touch if you have questions or wish to share your future successes!


In the very short term, we invite you to let us know that you have completed the programme. If you are happy to self-declare that you have read all the blogs and have attempted at least half of the tasks or discussion points, please claim your special digital badge and certificate through this link.


And however much or little you were able to engage with the programme this year (we do know that everyone is extremely busy!), your feedback is vital. We use it to improve the content and structure, conduct research into researcher’s attitudes towards online tools, and evidence the impact of the programme. Please consider sparing us a few minutes via our survey.


To complete the questionnaire:

2. Enter 199-088-759 and click Join Now

3. Click on Your Feedback on 23 Things


This should take 5-10 minutes, depending on the level of detail you’d like to provide.

The survey will be open until two weeks after the programme ends.

…and after that, it’s up to you. We can’t wait to see what you do with all that talent and charm.


a lightbox sitting on a table with the words ‘goodbye friends’ on.
Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

Tūtawa mai i runga​

Tūtawa mai i raro​

Tūtawa mai i roto​

Tūtawa mai i waho​

Kia tau ai​

Te mauri tū​

Te mauri ora​

Ki te katoa​

Haumi e​

Hui e​

Tāiki e!​


[A Māori karakia which translates to:

Come forth from above,​ below, ​

within,​ and from the environment​

Vitality​ and well being​

for all​ Strengthened in unity.​]





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Adesola O Olalekan
Adesola O Olalekan
Jun 09, 2023

Thanks to the team for putting all these together


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Unknown member
Jun 07, 2023

I am grateful for the valuable insights I gained from the diverse perspectives shared about the research world. This experience has motivated me to identify my strengths and areas for improvement. Best wishes to everyone 😊!

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Unknown member
Jun 06, 2023

Kia ora. Thank you very much for this great event. High gratitude for the event organizers and all the awesome presenters that have been shared the insightful materials. I really appreciate it. Cheers 🥂

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Unknown member
Jun 06, 2023

Thank you for all your hard work. I have loved reading the blogs and having the opportunity to go deeper into the areas that interested me

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Unknown member
Jun 06, 2023

Thank you for puting these resources together. They are very useful for me. I have enyojed having reading the Things every week.

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