Introducing Epigeum Research Skills Toolkit

The Office of Graduate Research is excited to announce the launch of a brand new research skills training online program for HDR students. This comprehensive Toolkit was developed through collaborative approach by leading academics in the field to help support researchers from the early stages of their research career. It includes the following modules.

  1. Becoming a Researcher
  2. Ethical Research
  3. Research Methods
  4. Transferable Skills
  5. Entrepreneurship in the Research Context

The Toolkit is available to both HDR students and supervisors, and instructions to register with the relevant token are included below. For any questions, please get in touch with


1. Becoming a Researcher

Suitable for postgraduate researchers across all disciplines, this programme supports the key areas for transition from undergraduate student to independent researcher.

1.1 Effective Management of Doctoral and Master’s Research (Total time 103 mins)

  • Guides PhD candidates and Master’s students through the challenges of planning and carrying out a research project, helping them to navigate terminology, techniques, tools, and frameworks.
  • Introduction to managing your research (19 mins)
  • People, roles and responsibilities (19 mins)
  • Preparation for your research (16 mins)
  • Detailed project planning (15 mins)
  • What to do when things do not go to plan (17 mins)
  • Delivering your research project (17 mins)

1.2 Working with your Supervisors

  • Supports PhD candidates to get the best out of their time with their supervisor(s), offering solutions to common relationship issues.
  • Getting Started
  • Building positive working relationships with your supervisors
  • Meetings and communications
  • Making the most of feedback
  • Coping with challenges

1.3 Intellectual Property in the Research Context

  • Provides Master’s students and PhD candidates with a grounding in the key areas of IP, from copyright and publishing to patents, trademarks, design rights, confidentiality, ownership, and exploitation
  • Understand the four main types of intellectual property right
  • Analyse an innovative or creative output in terms of intellectual property rights generated
  • Discuss the appropriateness, or not, of registering an intellectual property right
  • Apply the appropriate ownership rules to intellectual property you have been involved in creating
  • Suggest ways of exploiting intellectual property rights created in your own work.

2. Ethical Research (ANZ version) (220 minutes – 3 hours, 40 minutes)

  • Specifically designed for the Australian context and includes reference to research involving Aboriginal communities. Adapted for Australia by Dr David Hunter, an Associate Professor of Medical Ethics at Flinders University.

2.1 Becoming an Ethical researcher (110 minutes)

  • This course explores the ethical challenges faced by researchers during their Master’s degree and/or Ph.D. It will help you to reflect on your ethical approach in a research context through contemporary case studies and multidisciplinary scenarios.
  • Ethical decision-making (30 minutes)
  • Underpinning values for ethical research (30 minutes)
  • Ethical concerns associated with different forms of research (20 minutes)
  • Ethical concerns associated with different research methods and activities (30 minutes)

2.2 Research Ethics in Practice (110 minutes)

  • This course provides Master’s and Ph.D. students with a practical guide to applying ethical values to research. It will help you reflect on how to work ethically in a variety of challenging circumstances.
  • Working with human participants (35 minutes) (5 quiz questions)
  • Understanding research ethics approval (25 minutes) (5 quiz questions)
  • Working ethically in challenging circumstances (20 minutes)
  • Working ethically in a global environment (30 minutes)

3. Research Methods, Second Edition (5 courses)

The Research Methods programme is made up of five concise and accessible courses – each one integrating coverage of the latest developments, trends, and challenges in research practice, with plenty of opportunities for researchers to identify their own priorities, reflect on their experiences, and select the content that is most applicable to their work.

3.1 Undertaking a Literature Review (105 minutes)

This course aims to introduce you to the processes involved in putting together a literature review, so that you are able to undertake your own comprehensive review according to the requirements of your academic project.

  1. Literature review: An introduction (30 mins)
  • Describe what a literature review is and why it is important
  • Describe the characteristics of literature reviews in different disciplines
  • Describe the main stages in a literature review
  • Explain why it is important that a review has a clear method
  • Identify how to create a focused question.
  1. Identifying literature for your review (25 mis)
  • Describe the main types of academic literature
  • Explain why it is important to develop inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • Identify how to effectively search for literature electronically
  • Identify additional searching strategies
  • Describe why documentation of the search strategy is important.
  1. Evaluation of the literature (25 mis)
  • Explain why it is important to evaluate the quality of the literature in your review
  • Explain how to select and organise your sources
  • Describe why different pieces of literature on the same topic might come to different conclusions
  • Explain the importance of critical appraisal
  • Describe the function of critical appraisal tools.
  1. Analysing the literature and writing up your review (25 mis)
  • Describe different approaches to analysing the literature
  • Describe how themes can be identified from a body of literature
  • Explain how different sources can be compared and contrasted in a review
  • Demonstrate how to reference accurately and appropriately
  • Identify which aspects of the literature review might be discussed at the viva voce.

3.2 Principles of Research Methods (128 Minutes)

This course explores the principles and practices of research methodologies for a range of disciplines. It will help you reflect on the challenges you might face during your Master’s degree and/or Ph.D. through contemporary case studies and multidisciplinary scenarios.

  1. Understanding and framing research (14 mins)
  • Define what is meant by epistemology, ontology and theoretical perspective
  • Explain the relationship between epistemology and theoretical perspective
  • Identify and apply epistemological and theoretical positions.
  1. Developing a research question (17 Minutes)
  • Define ‘research question’ and explain what makes a good and effective research question
  • Define ‘aims and objectives’ and illustrate how these relate to the research question
  • Identify and evaluate preferences, assumptions and bias when producing a research question and aims and objectives.
  1. Knowing about methodology (13 Minutes)
  • Define what is meant by methodology and explain the difference between methodology and method
  • Reflect critically on a variety of methodologies
  • Discuss how to choose, justify and defend your methodology.
  1. Knowing about data collection methods (11 Minutes)
  • Explain how methods are framed and guided by methodology
  • Identify, evaluate and apply a variety of digital and non-digital research methods.
  1. Knowing about sampling methods (12 Minutes)
  • Discuss probability and non-probability sampling methods
  • Identify and apply different sampling methods
  • Discuss factors that have an influence on sample size choice
  • Address sampling challenges and avoid sampling problems.
  1. Knowing about data analysis methods (15 Minutes)
  • Describe and apply qualitative, quantitative and mixed data analysis methods
  • Identify and evaluate data analysis tools, software and platforms
  • Reflect critically on validity, reliability and authenticity when analysing data.
  1. Networking, collaborating and connecting disciplines (12 Minutes)
  • Discuss the pros and cons of crossing and connecting disciplines
  • Identify a variety of networking and collaboration methods, tools and platforms
  • Explain how to network and collaborate ethically.
  1. Protecting, managing and sharing research data (12 Minutes)
  • Identify and address data protection and security challenges
  • Demonstrate how to produce and submit a Data Management and Sharing Plan.
  1. Communicating, disseminating and publishing research (13 Minutes)
  • Identify, evaluate and apply a variety of communication, dissemination and publishing methods, platforms and channels
  • Demonstrate how to convey your research effectively and efficiently
  • Identify and address potential challenges when communicating, disseminating and publishing research.
  1. Drawing the strands together: Producing a research proposal (11 Minutes)
  • Describe the sections required in a research proposal
  • Reflect critically on why research proposals are accepted or rejected
  • Outline the steps required to produce and submit a research proposal.

3.3 Research Methods in Practice – STEM

  1. Data Collection Methods (33 Minutes)
  • Identify the type and quantity of data needed to answer your research question
  • Evaluate a variety of data collection and sampling methods from across a number of STEM disciplines
  • Identify and consider a variety of sampling procedures and the statistical implications, including calculation of sample size
  • Reflect critically on the practicalities and challenges of data collection
  • Describe how to select the data collection methods appropriate for your research question and research methodology
  • Identify different data management issues relevant to security and accessibility of research data.
  1. Data Analysis Methods (27 Minutes)
  • Identify and evaluate a number of qualitative, quantitative and mixed data analysis methods and tools from a variety of STEM disciplines
  • Recognise and address assumptions, preferences and bias in data analysis methods applied in STEM disciplines
  • Describe ethical, moral and legal issues surrounding data collection and analysis
  • Identify and apply professional standards of integrity and scholarship when collecting and analysing data
  • Explain how to evaluate, select and defend the data analysis methods that are appropriate for your research, including statistical validation of the research outcomes
  • Outline principles of responsible data presentation and common formats for presenting various data types.

3.4 Research Methods in Practice – Arts and Humanities

  1. Defining your methodology and designing your research (29 Minutes)
  • Explain the importance of methodology in providing a framework for research
  • Recognise the importance of interdisciplinary and interinstitutional collaborations, and identify the challenges that they present
  • Recognise the variety of primary and secondary sources, and explain how to utilise appropriate research methods
  • Describe how the methods and processes involved in your project fit together and are aligned with your research question
  • Appraise the practicalities of accessing and collecting research materials and identify solutions to and ways of managing potential challenges and dilemmas.
  1. Conducting your research (29 Minutes)
  • Recognise a variety of methods that can be used in arts and humanities to analyse research material, and identify appropriate methods for your research
  • Describe the characteristics of critical thinking, and explain how it should be employed in research
  • Identify appropriate and effective ways to communicate findings, conclusions and outputs in the arts and humanities
  • Recognise ethical and legal issues surrounding all stages of the research process, and explain how to address them
  • Identify and apply professional and academic standards of integrity at all stages of the research process.

3.5 Research Methods in Practice – Social Sciences

  1. Data collection methods (33 Minutes)
  • Consider a variety of data collection methods that can be used to gather appropriate data, and start to choose suitable methods for your research
  • Reflect critically on the practicalities of data collection and identify practical data collection issues relevant to your research
  • Describe the challenges that might arise as you collect data for your research and list some possible solutions
  • Recognise and address ethical and legal issues surrounding data collection
  • Identify and apply professional and academic standards of integrity and scholarship when collecting data.
  1. Data analysis methods (30 Minutes)
  • List a variety of methods that can be used to analyse data, and start to choose appropriate data analysis methods for your research
  • Identify potential data analysis challenges and outline possible solutions
  • Reflect critically on data analysis conclusions and outputs
  • Recognise and address ethical and legal issues surrounding data analysis
  • Identify and apply professional and academic standards of integrity and scholarship when analysing data.


4. Transferable Skills

These courses develop a broad range of skills essential for both academic and non-academic careers. Areas covered include intellectual property, career planning, managing projects, working with research supervisors.

4.1 Getting Published in the Arts (150 Minutes)

  • Be able to plan an appropriate publication strategy for your early academic career
  • Understand how technology and the open access movement are changing the academic publishing landscape
  • Be able to identify and prepare a suitable piece of work for academic publication in a journal or as a monograph
  • Be able to identify, assess and approach appropriate print and online journals and publishers in your academic discipline
  • Understand the process of peer review and revision.

4.2 Getting Published in the Sciences (150 Minutes)

  • Help you gain an overview of the changing landscape of academic science publishing
  • Develop your ability to plan an appropriate publication strategy for your early academic career
  • Develop your awareness of key intellectual property (IP) issues surrounding academic publications
  • Develop your ability to structure, write and submit a scientific paper to an academic journal
  • Increase your understanding of the editorial processes involved in scientific publishing
  • Develop your ability to respond effectively in the event that your scientific paper is rejected.

4.3 Career Planning in the Sciences (150 Minutes)

  • Understand key factors in career decision-making
  • Understand the skills you have and the career options open to you
  • Begin developing your own career plan
  • Recognise how to engage with both academic and non-academic employers successfully.

4.4 Career Planning in the Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (150 Minutes)

  • Understand key factors in career decision-making
  • Be able to evaluate skills that you have in addition to your research capabilities
  • Know how to evaluate career routes within and outside of academia
  • Understand the skills you have and how to market them to employers
  • Begin developing your own career plan.

4.5 Conferences, Presenting and Networking (120 Minutes)

  • Recognise the benefits of attending conferences
  • Plan a strategy for presenting your research at conferences
  • Understand how to submit a conference paper
  • Understand how to give an effective presentation
  • Understand the key aspects of organising an academic conference
  • Feel confident in establishing and maintaining productive professional (and social) contacts
  • Reflect on your experience and be better equipped, organised and prepared for your next conference.

5. Entrepreneurship in the Research Context

In these courses, students and researchers thinking of commercialising their research are challenged to consider issues such as their goals, the viability of their idea, routes to market, and how to mobilise people and finance.

5.1 Academic entrepreneurship: An introduction (150 Minutes)

  • Understand the stages of an entrepreneurial journey, including common challenges faced by technology entrepreneurs
  • Recognise entrepreneurial characteristics, including whether entrepreneurs are ‘born’ or ‘made’
  • Understand what motivates scientists to participate in commercialisation activities
  • Know the options for commercialising academic innovations
  • Understand some of the rewards of entrepreneurship available to stakeholders and participants
  • Appreciate the importance of networks in entrepreneurial activity
  • Understand how role and identity affect academic entrepreneurship, including whether entrepreneurship is at odds with academic values
  • Recognise some of the skills and capacities generally required for entrepreneurial activity.

5.2 Entrepreneurial opportunities: Recognition and evaluation (180 Minutes)

  • Be able to describe different types of opportunities enabled by university research
  • Understand the link between meeting human needs and entrepreneurial opportunity
  • Understand why people identify some opportunities but not others
  • Appreciate that some innovations and opportunities have more commercial potential (are more attractive) than others
  • Be able to describe the process of assessing the commercial attractiveness of an opportunity
  • Understand the basics of developing a business plan for a new venture
  • Understand why it is important to think about what will happen to a venture in the long run.

5.3 Entrepreneurial resources: People, teams and finance (180 Minutes)

  • Be aware of the various types of resources required to launch a new venture
  • Be aware of the pros and cons of starting a venture based on ‘lean’ principles
  • Be aware of the role of social capital in entrepreneurial activity
  • Know the benefits and challenges associated with building an effective entrepreneurial team
  • Be aware of basic financial capital issues for technology ventures
  • Appreciate the basic aspects of venture fundraising for university spin-outs
  • Understand some of the challenges in determining equity or ownership in a university spin-out
  • Understand some of the basic concepts and challenges associated with valuing a new venture.
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