Teaching Matters

PS5 R2 Strengthening Higher Degree Research students’ connections to their study and the research community

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Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 1 December 20201 Dec 2020


Strengthening Higher Degree Research students’ connections to their study and the research community


  • Greg Oates, School of Education, CALE
  • Vesife Hatisaru, School of Education, CALE



Presentation Type

Showcase Presentation


Room 2




Higher Degree Research (HDR) studies are central to our research, with some 50 research projects being conducted by HDR candidates in the School of Education. Some candidates have been working remotely already, but the COVID-19 pandemic has meant nearly all of our candidates are now working remotely; separated from their fellow HDR colleagues on campus. The importance of staying connected, thus, has been emphasised more than ever before. At the same time, we have recognised that many candidates face similar issues of isolation, and are grappling with the complexities of study design and developing their studies. The Graduate Research Interactive Discussions (GRIDs), initiated by the authors, aimed to help candidates feel connected and valued within our research community; and to strengthen and develop their studies through highlighting common challenges and showcasing elements of the educational research journey.

From May 2020, we have run five GRID sessions of one-hour duration, with close to 170 participants, including HDR candidates, supervisors, and members of the wider research community. A short presentation (20-30 minutes) was followed by discussion; with participants contributing to the collective understanding of research practices, and reflecting specifically upon their own research experiences.

Sessions have considered issues of ethics, research methodology and design with focus questions such as: What does quality research mean to you? The success of the initiative may be gauged by the high levels of engagement, with participants returning repeatedly each time; and comments in Zoom Chat windows, which provide frequent expressions of appreciation, and enthusiastic and perceptive contributions to the debate.


We would like to thank all participants and supporters, especially the Education GRC team of Carol Murphy, Andrew Fluck and Helen Chick; co-organisers Nicoli Barnes and Sharon Fraser; and presenters Vesife Hatisaru, Doug Colbeck, Nicoli Barnes, and Debra Evans.

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