Graduate School training programme

Training for our Graduate School students

Get the most out of your doctoral studies

The Graduate School offers training in a range of topics that will help you to conduct your research and develop your skills as an independent researcher. Additional training is also available to you through other departments and divisions, and services such as IT Services and the Bodleian Library. You also have access to training through

The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) also organises a programme of research, networking and training events each term aimed at those working in the Humanities. 

Trinity term 2021

Online workshops and events

*Our Trinity term programme has now closed*

The training programme for Trinity term is listed below and is also available as a pdf download.

> Download the Trinity term card (pdf)

To register, please send a list of sessions you wish to attend to, providing your full name and University email address. 

All sessions will be delivered using Microsoft Teams and further course details will be forwarded once registration has closed. Some of the sessions will be recorded to enable wider access and, where this is the case, additional information will be provided. The University has provided useful information on the technology recommended for participating in online teaching.

Feedback will be requested from participants, but if you have any initial comments please contact the Graduate School.

Programme schedule

Student exchange

Monday 26 April, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

An informal networking session for doctoral students.

Remaining part of a connected scholarly community can be difficult when you are researching remotely and independently. This is an opportunity to meet informally with your fellow students to update each other on your respective projects, to share progress and success, and discuss the challenges and barriers you are encountering.

Digital humanities: the work of art in the age of digital reproduction

Thursday 6 May, 2:30pm - 4:00pm

How have computers changed the way we think about the arts and humanities, and especially the study of literature? As the editors of A New Companion to Digital Humanities noted in their preface in 2016:

'What is important today is not that we are doing work with computers, but rather that we are doing the work of the humanities, in digital form. The field is now much broader than it once was, and includes not only the computational modelling and analysis of humanities information, but also the cultural study of digital technologies, their creative possibilities, and their social impact.' (Schreibman et al, xvii)

The advent of digital technology has opened up a whole new set of possibilities within the arts and humanities. In this introductory session, we will focus on how the information revolution has changed the field of literary studies, from close textual analysis to the use of ‘big data’, and from data visualization to literary mapping.


Dr Keith Hopper lectures in Writing & Literature at the Institute of Technology, Sligo. He is the author of Flann O’Brien: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Post-modernist (revised edition, 2009); general editor of the twelve-volume Ireland into Film series (2001-2007); and co-editor of The Short Fiction of Flann O’Brien (2013). He also co-edited a series of four books by and about the Irish writer Dermot Healy (2015-2016). Keith is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, and is currently writing a book on poetry and the sense of place in the digital age.

> See a full list of Dr Hopper's publications

High-level interviewing and engagement with policy makers

Friday 14 May, 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Explore the process of qualitative elite interviews, namely semi-structured interviews with senior individuals within policy, institutional and commercial processes. The session will cover the purpose of such interviews, research design, selection of participants and arranging interviews, and execution of interviews and post-interview processing and analysis of data.

The session will comprise an informal lecture, followed by some seminar work that will involve thinking about how this methodology could be applied to your work, and the opportunities and limitations that you might encounter.


Dr Michael Gilmont is an Oxford Martin Fellow, at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, and Program Manager for the Oxford Martin Program on Transboundary Resource Management. His research is focused on interdisciplinary political, economic and hydrological approaches to analysing trends in water resource development use and reform, with particular focus on the MENA region. His PhD at King’s College London involved over 100 high-level interviews with policy stakeholders involved in water policies transitions in Southeast Australia, California and Israel. He has previously carried out research for the World Bank, British Council, DFID, and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Development Institute. He also holds degrees from Imperial College and the University of Cambridge, and has taught and supervised undergraduate and postgraduate students at KCL and Oxford.

Essential readings

Start with * readings

  • *Bryman, A., 2004. Ch 15 Interviewing in qualitative research. In Social Research Methods (Second Edition). OUP, Oxford.
  • *Herod, A., 1999. Reflections on interviewing foreign elites: praxis, positionality, validity, and the cult of the insider. Geoforum 30, 313-327.
  • *McLellan, E., MacQueen, K. M., and Neidig, J. L., 2003. Beyond the qualitative Interview: Data preparation and Transcription. Field Methods 15(1), 63-84.
  • Berry, J. M., 2002. Validity and Reliability Issues in Elite Interviewing. PS: Political Science & Politics 35, 679-682. doi:10.1017.S1049096502001166
  • Olsen, W., 2004. Triangulation in social research: Qualitative and Quantitative methods can really be mixed. In Holborn, M. (ed.) Developments in Sociology. Causeway Press.
  • Sabot, E. C., 1999. Dr Jekyl, Mr H(i)de: the contrasting face of elites at interview. Geoforum 30(3), 329-335.

NVivo for textual analysis 

Tuesday 18 May, 10:00am - 1:30pm

An introduction to the basic functions of NVivo through hands-on exercises in preparing, managing and analysing qualitative data. Participants will develop the essential skills necessary to manage and analyse small qualitative datasets through the NVivo software platform.

This session will be run by the IT Learning Centre.

Confirmation of status

Wednesday 26 May, 3:00pm - 4:30pm

The confirmation of status milestone is the last opportunity to receive formal examiner feedback before your thesis is submitted. As such, it represents a valuable chance to confirm that the project is on track and to justify the feasibility of your plan to completion.

This session considers all aspects of the process including the administrative requirements, the possible timing, the selection of examiners, the supporting materials, the interview itself and the possible outcomes.


Alistair Beecher is a Departmental Lecturer in the Graduate School and a history tutor in the Department for Continuing Education.

Jamie Hartmann-Boyce is a Departmental Lecturer in the Nuffield Department of Primary Health Care Sciences and a fellow of Kellogg College. She is the Director of the Evidence-Based Healthcare programme.

Discussion of Bodleian video on discovering archives

Tuesday 1 June, 10:00am - 11:00am

This is an opportunity to discuss the 'Discovering archives at the Bodleian Libraries' video and to share respective experience in archival research. As such, it is essential that the video is viewed in advance as no additional material will be covered.

During the session there will be an opportunity to consult with Bodleian archivists Lucy McCann (Humanities) and Jeremy Mcllwaine (Social Sciences).

Essential pre-session watch

Students need to have watched the 'Discovering archives at the Bodleian Libraries' video on the Oxford LibGuides website in advance of this session.

Working with sensitive data

Friday 4 June, 12:00pm - 2:00pm

This session will introduce the basic concepts around working with sensitive data and will comprise of a lecture and discussion based around example situations.

Personal data relates features of some sort to a person and it is also potentially identifiable, such as height, weight, shoe-size etc. Some personal data pertains to features that are sensitive in nature such as political opinions, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and physical or mental health. The latter in particular means medical research using personal data often involves using sensitive data. Data may also be sensitive for other reasons such as the topic being controversial/sensitive or pertaining to intellectual property. Working with personal data and sensitive data carries with it responsibilities as a researcher.

As a researcher, you’ll have a responsibility to protect the data from being lost or stolen and from being misused, not just to protect the person who’s data this relates to (or owns the intellectual property) but also others who may share these features or be related to them in other ways. To help you as a researcher there are university support services that offer guidance, institutional policies (both regarding data safety and research ethics) that make sure we follow the guidelines and laws (such as the Data Protection Act) to hold us accountable.


Robert Koivula is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM) and medical science research associate at St. Cross College. Robert researches the relationship between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and type-2 diabetes using a mixture of genetic epidemiology, computational biology and in-vivo physiology.

Augmentation and formal logic

Tuesday 8 June, 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Learn how to reconstruct arguments found in scientific literature, so that they can be evaluated.

This session focuses on arguments used in medical literature on shaken baby syndrome. It requires students to read and evaluate arguments made in two peer-reviewed medical articles, which claim that certain pathological signs are strongly indicative of this condition. Students will be taught how to recognise the claims made in these articles; to recognise the premises used to support these claims; and to recognise the methods of inference used to do so.


Dr Nicholas Binney is a veterinary surgeon with a doctorate in the philosophy of medicine. He originally trained as a veterinary surgeon at the Royal Veterinary College London, and practised veterinary medicine in England and America. In order to explore the historical development of present day scientific knowledge, he completed an MSc in the history of science, medicine and technology at Imperial College London and University College London; before completing a PhD in the philosophy of science at the University of Exeter.  He works as a philosopher of science and medicine at the Erasmus MC, Rotterdam.

Essential readings

  • Ewing-Cobbs, L., Kramer, L., Prasad, M., Canales, D. N., Louis, P. T., Fletcher, J. M., ... & Cheung, K. (1998) Neuroimaging, physical, and developmental findings after inflicted and noninflicted traumatic brain injury in young children. Pediatrics, 102(2): 300-307.
  • Ludwig, S., & Warman, M. (1984) Shaken baby syndrome: a review of 20 cases. Annals of emergency medicine, 13(2): 104-107.
  • Caffey, J. (1974) The whiplash shaken infant syndrome: manual shaking by the extremities with whiplash-induced intracranial and intraocular bleedings, linked with residual permanent brain damage and mental retardation. Pediatrics, 54(4): 396-403.

Further readings

  • Govier, T. (2013) A practical study of argument. Cengage Learning.
  • Guthkelch, A. N. (1971) Infantile subdural haematoma and its relationship to  whiplash injuries. British Medical Journal, 2(5759): 430-431.
  • Caffey, J. (1972) On the theory and practice of shaking infants: its potential residual  effects of permanent brain damage and mental retardation. American journal  of diseases of children, 124(2), 161-169.
  • Kempe, C. H., Silverman, F. N., Steele, B. F., Droegemueller, W., and Silver, H. K. (1962)  The battered-child syndrome. Jama, 181(1), 17-24.

Student exchange: an informal networking session

Thursday 17 June, 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Remaining part of a connected scholarly community can be difficult when you are researching remotely and independently. This is an opportunity to meet informally with your fellow students to update each other on your respective projects, to share progress and success, and discuss the challenges and barriers you are encountering.

Doctoral Research Seminar

Friday 18 June, 1:00pm - 2:30pm


Nicole Juul-Hindsgaul, DPhil in Evidence-Based Health Care

Emma Bonthorne, DPhil in Archaeology

Keith Hawkins, DPhil in English Local History


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