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Develop oral communication skills

The fundamental task of your research degree is to complete a written thesis.

However, while not formally a part of the Australian research degree process, developing your oral communication skills is important:

  • In order to develop a substantial academic work that is considered robust and novel, it is helpful to engage in communication with colleagues and professionals about the research. You will talk about your research and justify your contentions to those who are knowledgeable in the field and those who have expertise in research in other fields. Consequently, part of developing the thesis in a way that meets the academic rigours and standards of the discipline is engaging in communication about the research with other researchers, academics and practitioners, and gaining worthwhile insights from them.
  • Since one goal of the research degree is to enhance your professional standing, and the expected outcome is to have expertise in your particular area, the duration of candidature is a time for developing your academic persona within the discipline so that you are comfortable to take up your place as an authority. You will therefore need to be able to speak comfortably and authoritatively about the disciplinary area in general and your own research in particular. It is a good idea therefore to consciously develop these skills and seek opportunities to discuss your research with authority and to be able to present your work in an informed and confident manner in both formal and informal fora.
  • Much of the support you will get during your candidature and substantial learning can take place through a positive interpersonal relationship with your supervisor built on good communication. Keep in mind, much learning can take place through dialogue with your supervisor.
  • Sophisticated oral communication skills are often necessary for the data collection phase of your research particularly if you if you choose to use a qualitative methodology such as conducting interviews or focus groups.

Throughout the research process it is beneficial to develop your ability to communicate about your project and about the discipline area in general.

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