Developing academic identity and communicating your research

Dear all

The group discussions run every Tuesday at 11:00-12:00, online (via Blackboard) and on campus, at the Graduate School (usually room G08). Each discussion will focus on a topic related to doing research.

You can get the link by going to the Graduate Schools website. and their X account

Check my X account  @Life_tools

or send me an email to


Developing academic identity and communicating your research

At first, it may feel rather challenging to approach other academics and professionals, particularly when starting to explore your chosen subject.

Continue reading “Developing academic identity and communicating your research”

Communicating with your supervisor



During your doctoral research, and particularly in the early stages, it is common to have many questions about the direction in which to develop your research.

Communicating effectively with your supervisor/s is an essential aspect of your academic research as they will guide you and help to clarify your thinking.

Many find it challenging to present their doubts to their supervisors, for fear of being perceived as not good enough to do doctoral level work. Alternatively, they may find it hard to present their drafts worrying they might receive negative feedback.
Continue reading “Communicating with your supervisor”

Working online: keeping connected

Dear all

It is challenging for everyone to have our day-to-day routine completely changed. (Covid-19). We also must get used to working remotely, which requires creating space and time at home. This can be more challenging for those with children and other family members who also need to adjust to the changing situation.

Fortunately, we have the technology that enables us to keep in touch and to support each other, although it does not replace face-to-face contact.

It is essential for all of us to feel connected and to know that we are all looking after each other. This way, we can keep motivated and maintain our sense of wellbeing during these extraordinary times.

If you are concerned about yourself or another doctoral researcher, you can access information about the Counselling and Wellbeing service here, and the Welfare service here.

You can access information and resources to look after yourself here.

You can find further information related to coronavirus here and here on how to manage emotions through this time of uncertainty.

And you can check the Life Tools blog post on managing mental health problems in times of coronavirus here.

Actions that we can all take to prepare the best we can at this time are to look after our health and wellbeing by strengthening our immune system with a healthy diet, exercise, and to keep in contact with others.

As we are required to maintain social distance, we can use technology to speak with friends and family whether they are far away or nearby. It is also important to keep active and engage in activities that you find rewarding.

Keep well and continue learning

Best wishes to all


Dr Alicia Peña Bizama, C. Psychol., AFBPsS
Keep fit for your studies
Graduate School (Tuesday mornings)
University of Reading, Graduate School
Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6UA, tel: 0118 378 5063



You and your supervisor

Dear all

RRDP session: “You and your supervisor”
Tuesday 21 January 2020, 10:00-12:30, Chancellor’s, room G11

We will discuss this topic and others in the group discussion on Tuesdays, 11:00-12pm, in Old Whiteknights House, room G12.

If you have any questions about topics related to your doctoral research you can email


Communicating effectively with your supervisor

The communication with the supervisor has a significant impact on how the research develops.

It can influence performance and progress, as well as how confident you feel about your work.
Continue reading “You and your supervisor”

Does it feel as if there was a mistake?

Dear all

This week the group discussion will take place on Thursday 19 December,
at 11:00-12:00,
room G12, at the Graduate School.

Best wishes for the holidays!

It is common for doctoral researchers to have a sense that they were admitted to a doctoral programme partly through luck, and not because of ability.

They refer to having a nagging feeling that someone will find out that they are not doctoral material. Some may feel that, despite having met the criteria to join a doctoral programme, they doubt they can produce original research.
Continue reading “Does it feel as if there was a mistake?”

Easily distracted? Ways to increase concentration

Dear All

The next discussion group will take place on
Tuesday 5 November, between 2pm-3pm. At Old Whiteknights House,
room G12.
Topic: Increasing concentration.
There is no need to book and you can drop in at any time during the hour.
Join in the discussion and meet other doctoral researchers.


Do you find that, having made the effort to sit down to do some work on your research, you soon notice that your mind starts to wander onto other things? If so, you are not alone.
Continue reading “Easily distracted? Ways to increase concentration”

Managing academic pressure

Dear all

You can listen to the podcast here:

The next group discussion will be on Tuesday 29 October, 11am-12pm, Old Whiteknights House, room G12.
Topic: Managing academic pressure.
There is no need to book, and you can drop in at any time during the hour.
Join in the discussion and meet other doctoral researchers.

Managing academic pressure
Doing research at a doctoral level is exciting and an excellent opportunity to develop your knowledge in your chosen field. However, due to higher expectations at a doctoral level, it is normal to experience some concern regarding your ability to meet key milestones in the research process.
Continue reading “Managing academic pressure”

Increasing productivity: getting things done

Areas of interest

You can listen to this blog post here:

Dear all

Thank you for your responses to the survey letting us know what topics you would like to see covered in the blog. So far you have highlighted the following topics:

* increasing productivity/overcoming procrastination
* increasing concentration and memory
* maintaining motivation
* communication with supervisors
* balancing research with work/personal life
* dealing with perfectionism
* preparing for confirmation of registration/viva

If you haven’t had a chance to let us know what topics you are interested in, here is  link to the survey.

Continue reading “Increasing productivity: getting things done”


Dear Doctoral researcher,

I am Alicia and I am working with the Graduate School to provide you with information on topics such as  managing academic pressure, communications with supervisors, how to increase productivity, motivation, concentration and memory, as well as ways to keep well, improving sleep, managing stress and wellbeing to cope with the challenges of your doctoral research.

The aim is to increase understanding of what are the factors that contribute to effective learning and self-management, and provide strategies to add to your toolkit so you can optimise your academic potential and derive a sense of fulfilment from achieving your aims. Continue reading “ABOUT”