Your career success in graduate school and beyond will be enhanced if you develop the skills necessary to communicate your scholarly ideas and research findings. Presentations will give your research a higher profile, help you build networks with scholars who share your interests, and increase the career options available to you.
- Find opportunities to present your research to other graduate students and faculty
- Identify the primary professional associations in your field and become a member
- Build research networks with other graduate students and faculty
- Work with your research supervisor to present papers at professional meetings
- Obtain information about funding available to present your work at conferences
- Write your research or scholarly work for publication while you are at UBC
Use graduate course assignments as an opportunity to develop and present your evolving research, and get feedback from others.
Ask your supervisor about opportunities for giving public presentations about your research. For example, find out if your program holds colloquia or brown bag lunches for faculty and graduate students to present their research. Attend and learn about the procedures for giving presentations.
Attend job talks by applicants for faculty positions. Observe what makes for good or bad presentations.
Identify the primary scholarly and professional associations in your discipline and become a graduate student member
In every discipline, there are professional societies in which faculty and graduate students can participate. It is important to your professional development to attend meetings of those associations to learn about contemporary issues in the field and meet others with similar interests.
Identify the major associations in your discipline, locate their websites, and determine whether you can join the association as a graduate student member. Often, graduate students can join associations at reduced cost if they provide evidence of current full-time enrollment in a graduate program.
Graduate student membership in scholarly associations carries many benefits. Typically, your membership will entitle you to receive the association's official newsletter, one or more journals that it publishes, and other resources that may assist you in developing ideas around your own research. You can also learn how graduate students may become more active within the association.
Learn whether there are official divisions, subdivisions, or special interest groups (SIGS) in your favourite scholarly association. In this way, you may be able to identify and further explore your area of academic research focus or specialty.
Investigate whether the association offers competitions for graduate students to win fellowships, travel grants, or other awards. Pay close attention to submission guidelines and deadlines for all award opportunities. Some associations also offer recognition for outstanding theses or dissertations or awards to travel to conferences. Winning these awards helps to build your resume.
Build research networks with other graduate students and faculty who have similar research or scholarly interests
Build networks with researchers and scholars who share your interests, inside and outside your academic department. Networking with the right people in your discipline can contribute to successful entry into an academic and/or professional community and ultimately, help you to build your professional career.
Many of the larger academic professional associations maintain graduate student advisory committees. Involvement in graduate student committees will provide you with opportunities to build a professional network, develop your leadership skills, represent your student colleagues, advocate for the profession on a national level, and invest in your future.
Examine strategic methods for networking online with scholars from around the world.
Ask your research supervisor to help you develop your research ideas for presentation at scholarly or professional meetings.
Check professional association websites and talk with your supervisor about deadlines to submit proposals.
Learn what types of presentations are featured at various conferences. Identify conferences that are likely to be interested in your work.
Aim to present your work at the very best national and international conferences. Presentations at prestigious conferences will advance your career. Furthermore, by attending those conferences, you will hear about current research being conducted by the top people in your field, and you may have the opportunity to meet them. Conferences are also great sources for job leads.
Work with your supervisor to write a conference submission. Consider (for example) whether you are more interested in presenting a conference paper, a poster session, or an interactive discussion symposium. Discuss order of authorship and tips for writing a successful submission.
When you attend the conference, take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the leading people in your field. Attend social events.
A particularly useful article that describes online networking is “Networking on the Network: A Guide to Professional Skills for Ph.D. Students” by Dr. Phil Agre, Department of Information Studies at UCLA.
Obtain information about funding available from UBC and from your graduate program to present your work.
Don't let the cost of conference attendance discourage you from attending a meeting! Ask your research supervisor for details on any travel or conference assistance the department provides for graduate students.
Be sure to consult the G+PS website on the range and requirements for travel awards for current graduate students.
As you begin to write your thesis or dissertation, you also should plan how to publish some portion of your research findings.
Having research publications will increase your career prospects whether you are seeking a career in academia, government, or the private sector. Publishing your original work establishes your expertise and professional identity.
Seek advice from your research supervisor about the types of journals that may be interested in your research. Find out whether your supervisor is willing to be involved in developing your scholarly work for publication in peer-reviewed journals, edited scholarly books, or other types of publications.
Be proactive in discussing issues like order of authorship, who takes the lead in writing the article, and the division of responsibilities for writing and submitting the article.
Learn about the publication process by reviewing articles. Ask your supervisor if you can work with him or her on journal reviews. Faculty members are often happy to have another opinion. Learning how to review other people's work helps you to develop a critical eye for your own work.
The best time to write your work for publication is immediately when it is finished. A delay in beginning to write for publication – even as short as one month – will make the task more difficult.
Recognize that a scholarly publication goes through multiple drafts. Don't freeze up by expecting yourself to write a final version on the first try. Just get something down. It's easier to edit a written document than to begin from scratch.
It is often helpful to use a published article in your research area as a guide for your own writing. Follow the lead of an article written by your research supervisor or another student supervised by him/ her.
Circulate your drafts to your supervisor and to other grad students for discussion. This is particularly helpful when you find yourself stalling out.
Learn from journal reviewers' comments. Don't be defensive about critical feedback; consider it an opportunity to learn from experts. Try to incorporate suggestions for improvement. Most people who review articles genuinely want to help young scholars develop and strengthen their work.
Don't be discouraged if your initial attempts at publication get turned down. Everyone – from Nobel Prize winners on down – has papers rejected. Consider whether you submitted your paper to the appropriate journal and how the paper could be improved for publication elsewhere.