And so it begins: the research year requires resources

For many Australian universities, next week is Orientation Week for new researchers. This website was conceived after Dr Mel Haines asked Kristyn Jackson, Nalini Haynes and Danish Ahmed to present a 15-minute talk to newbies on what we wished we’d known when we started our research. We declared it wasn’t nearly enough time, so Mel has expanded our talk to 30 minutes. Which still isn’t enough time, we’ve learnt so much!

PhD Peeps’s aim is to provide supplementary resources for newbies and to provide a platform for the research community to share our collective journeys. Share your joys and you double them; share your sorrows and you halve them. We also hope that, by inviting colleagues to share their stories, we will promote collegial relationships and collaborations because together we can achieve so much more than as individuals.

Research resources for day 1

One thing I’ve acquired over the past year is a list of resources for information, including sites that cover everything from starting a PhD, the process and academic life afterwards:

While digging through an official website can feel overwhelming, I recommend you find your institution’s policy and procedure page (the University of Canberra’s is here) and pages informing you of infrastructure support as researchers (the University of Canberra’s infrastructure support page for HDR students is here). (Note: HDR = Higher Degree by Research.)

Find out if your faculty, college or school (e.g. Faculty of Art and Design; School of Business and Government) has its own handbook. If so, get a copy. Keep an electronic copy saved to every device and cloud account you use because this information will save you time and stress later.

Also save a campus map to every device and cloud account you use. Even if you don’t think you’ll use it, you might need to give it to others to help them. I (Nalini) have used the electronic campus map and I’ve emailed it to others to help them.

Electronic resources

I’ve noticed a lot of researchers printing out articles but I just do not understand this mentality. It wastes trees and take up valuable space in a shared office. And how on earth do you find that VITAL article in six months or a year? I save electronic copies and I make electronic notes. KEYWORD SEARCH FOR THE WIN. See the above section on saving a copy of handbooks, campus maps and the like to electronic devices and the cloud.

Researchers with disabilities

The University of Canberra (UC), like many other institutions, has a department whose function is to support students and researchers with disabilities and/or health conditions that affect their participation. Different universities call this section different things but at UC it’s called Inclusion and Engagement (webpage here). To register or contact them, an online form is here.

Regardless of your institution, If you have a disability, make meeting with disability support staff a very high priority. At the the beginning of semester, they’re very busy so you’ll probably need to fill in forms, get your doctor/s to fill in forms and then book an appointment, which involves getting in line. If you get the paperwork done first, you’ll speed up the process.


In the comments below, feel free to share resources and suggestions for researchers. We’ll try to answer any questions but, for institution-specific questions (like ‘how do I find disability support in my university?’) you’ll need to contact your institution.

Post and image by Nalini Haynes
Resources for research

Some of Nalini’s resources although, sadly, this bookshelf was left behind in Melbourne.