May 2017

By 21st August 2018 No Comments

DTC Matters
18th Edition

Welcome to the eighteenth edition of the White Rose Social Sciences DTC newsletter; “DTC Matters”.

The White Rose Doctoral Training Centre was launched in November 2011. Read more

This newsletter is issued quarterly and includes NEWS AND EVENTS, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES, PATHWAY NEWS, ESRC NEWS and FEEDBACK ON FEEDBACK. If you would like to submit an article for a future edition of DTC Matters or provide feedback on any of the featured articles, go to ‘News and click ‘New Article +’ button

WRDTC 6th Annual Conference, 29 June 2017, University of Sheffield

The next WRDTC 6th Annual Conference will take place on 29 June 2017 in Sheffield. The title of the event is Interdisciplinarity in a Changing World: Methods, Challenges and Opportunities. A call for papers, with a deadline of 12 May 2017, can be found on the WRDTC website.

The event page also includes further information and a draft programme.

Complimentary coach travel will be offered from the universities of Leeds and York.

The conference will be a great opportunity to network with other doctoral researchers, share your research experience, find out more about the new DTP Pathways and meet the new Pathway Directors.

First Prize for WRDTC PhD Researcher in ESRC/SAGE Writing Competition

WRDTC PhD researcher Lauren White (Sociology Pathway, University of Sheffield) has won the joint first prize in the ESRC/SAGE Writing Competition ‘Making Sense of Society’. Lauren’s essay, titled Living and Looking for Lavatories, addressed the experiences of people living with bowel conditions. All those shortlisted, including the winners and runners-up, had the opportunity to take part in a masterclass on ‘how to get published’ delivered by SAGE Publishing and winners received a £1,000 prize at an awards ceremony that took place at the Royal Society, London on 21 March 2017. Lauren has commented:

“I’m so pleased with the outcome of the ESRC competition. It’s been a great opportunity to have a go at writing for a general audience, and spending time with the ESRC and SAGE’s masterclass ‘How to get published’ was really valuable.

I’m pleased that the topic of my study has been recognised as an important one, as many people live with IBS, and it is often not spoken about. My article offered an opportunity to demonstrate the experiences and importance of access to toilets in society for those who live with IBS and other conditions.”

Lauren’s winning entry has also been published in the Guardian.

WRDTC PhD Researchers in the News

Ruth Beresford (Sociology Pathway, University of Sheffield) was interviewed on BBC Radio Sheffield about the launch of her research project that will investigate women’s varying experiences of pornography. Read more here.

WRDTC PhD researchers win Leeds University Business School prizes

WDRTC PhD researcher and Academic Quality Committee Student Representative Ning Lu (Management and Business Pathway, University of Leeds) has won the Positive Impact Award in the Leeds University Business School Partnership AwardsDavid Clark (Management and Business Pathway, University of Leeds) won the Postgraduate Teaching Award in the same competition, while Beulah Chelva (also in the Management and Business Pathway, University of Leeds) was the runner-up.

Ning told us more about his prize:

The impact prize (awarded by Leeds University Union and Leeds University Business School) is something to do with the society I run. I run Leeds Data Science Society (well, I co-founded the society one year ago) and we have been doing so well lately – 250+ memberships and 150+ mailing membership in Leeds (students, staffs and people working in Leeds). We often get invited to speak with companies about what we do and how we could help them. We run data skills workshops in the university for free – sometimes we do it with university researchers and we now do it often with industry partners – mainly technology companies. I am also leading the university challenge team (10 PhD/MSc students) in an university challenge where we battle against other universities to solve business problems through big data. Our team is doing quite good because I recruited postgraduate students from 4 faculties (Maths, Computing, Geography and Business school). All the schools have been very supportive.

First Publication for WDRTC PhD Researcher

Jess Mant (Socio-legal Studies Pathway, University of Leeds) recently published her first academic article Neoliberalism, Family Law and the Cost of Access to Justice in the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law. Jess describes how the opportunity to publish this article came about, and what it means for her:

“I helped to organise a conference at the University of Leeds’ School of Law a couple of years ago on the impact of legal aid cuts on family law, and as a result many of the speakers decided to develop our presentations into a special issue for the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law. This was a really exciting opportunity for me, because it meant that I was writing alongside some of the biggest names in my field. It also gave me the opportunity to develop the ideas I had touched on in a conference presentation fully, and produce a piece of work which spoke to the aims of my PhD but had relevance beyond it”.

WRDTC PhD Researcher Impact: Changing policies at the national and international levels

Following participation in an international conference, Ian Marder (Socio-legal Studies/Security, Conflict and Justice Pathways, University of Leeds)  has become involved in a European-level Working Group related to his PhD research about restorative justice. Read about it here.

WRDTC PhD Researcher reports: Writing Retreat and Summer School

Sarah Brooks (Management and Business Pathway, University of Sheffield) has attended a writing retreat as well as a summer school, and has written up two reports to share her experience with WRDTC colleagues. You can read the reports at the following links:

Structured Writing Retreat with Rowena Murray

AIDEA Capri Summer School on Qualitative Methods


The mental health and wellbeing of researchers, including PhD researchers, has recently become a frequent topic of discussion both within universities and in the press. All the three White Rose universities have support mechanisms in place, and it is useful to know what help is available and how to access it.

At the University of Sheffield, PGRs can access Student Support Services, including the Counselling Service, and other resourcesA recent edition of the University’s PGR publication ‘Doctoral Times’ has focused on PGR health and wellbeing. A lot of the experiences and advice published in the edition are relevant to PGRs at all institutions and not only Sheffield, so it is well worth a read!

At the University of Leeds, PGRs are also able to access the same support available to students – an overview of the support offered can be found here. Leeds University Union (LUU) also offers resources and sessions to help all members of the student community.

The University of York also offers support and resources, which are described on this page. PGR-specific information can be found on the York Graduate Research School page.

8-14 May 2017 is Mental Health Awareness Week, so watch out for university-focused events, especially at each university’s Students’ Union.

WRDTC Advanced Training

AQM: Modelling Non-Continuous Outcomes and Panel/Longitudinal data using STATA, 8-9 May 2017, University of Sheffield – recommended for first-year PhD researchers

AQM: Introduction to Structural Equation Modelling using Mplus, 26 May 2017, University of Sheffield

AQM: Data management using SPSS syntax, 23 May 2017, University of Sheffield

AQM: Introduction to Multi-Level Modelling, 22 June 2017, University of Sheffield

Realist Methods, 18 July 2017, University of Leeds (registrations open on 1st June 2017)

WRDTC Advanced Training Report: Researching Lives Dynamically Through Time, 6-7 April 2017, University of Leeds

By Jo Dagustun (Human Geography Pathway, University of Leeds)

It was a real privilege to spend two full days with Bren Neale on this course in April. Bren is a widely-acknowledged and well-respected expert in the field of qualitative longitudinal research (QLR), and also, as it turned out, a great teacher. The two days were well-organised, including a great mixture of lecture and group work, with plenty of time for questions along the way. As well as providing a highly informative and interesting introduction to QLR, and the importance of a temporal perspective, Bren was hugely inspiring as a thoughtful end-of-career scholar, who has clearly dedicated her working life to social research which she believes should make a real difference to people’s lives. It was also lovely to see how well Bren knew the literature she was citing. I’d really recommend this course to all PhD students/ early career researchers interested in qualitative research, QLR or not.

UKDS Data Impact Fellowships

Are you a post-doctoral researcher or PhD researcher based in a UK university? Do you use UK Data Service data in your research with a focus on impact? If so we are offering you the opportunity to be awarded one of our Data Impact Fellowships. Five awards are offered to the value of £2,000 per Fellow and the programme will run over 2 years from September 2017.

As a UK Data Service Data Impact Fellow we’ll help you promote your research through blogging, becoming a data citation practitioner, developing impact case studies and enhancing your profile. The Data Impact Fellows 2016-2018 will provide support by sharing their experiences and advice on developing research impact.

Sheffield University Mixed Methods Education and Research (SUMMER), 15 June 2017, University of Sheffield

Mixed methods are becoming increasingly popular among researchers, yet training opportunities are scarce. SUMMER is a FREE one-day workshop which aims to promote the rigorous and innovative use of mixed methods. The workshop will take place at Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS) at the University of Sheffield. Spaces are limited, so booking is essential.

This workshop will consist of three sessions, each one targeting a different aspect of a mixed methods approach: 1) philosophical viewpoints; 2) study design and data collection and 3) integration, interpretation and presentation of mixed methods data.

Summer Institute in Qualitative Research: Putting Theory to Work, 10-14 July 2017, Manchester Metropolitan University

Learn about the latest in theory and methodology, in dialogue with leading international theorists. For qualitative researchers looking for stimulating engagements with theory, from doctoral students to more experienced researchers, in education, social sciences, health and caring professions, arts and humanities.

Traversing Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Social Research, 25 May 2017, University of York

There is increasing interest in interdisciplinary research within the Social Sciences due to its ability to create impactful new knowledge and insights. But, what does this mean in practice? This conference will explore this and other questions.

Nothing about us without us, 27 May 2017, University of York

A half-day research symposium exploring the ethical and methodological issues in researching with, and working co-productively with people whose disability/illness means they lack the capacity to ‘consent’. The event is taking place 1pm-5pm on Friday 27th May at York Law School.

My food – My decision: a Conference, 9 June 2017, University of York

Postgraduate researchers are invited to the conference ‘My food – my decision’. The conference discusses how to empower people with nutrition knowledge to support their food-related choices. The deadline for paper and poster presentations is 10 May 2017.

WRDTC Student-led Interdisciplinary Networks

Challenging Academic Debates: Decolonising Knowledge Production, 24 May 2017, University of Leeds

Challenging Academic Debates: Decolonising Knowledge Production is the second conference put forward to bring into focus a political and decolonial agenda of activities, debates and research in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. The focus of this event is to critically consider the practicalities and future(s) of Decolonising Knowledge Production in ways that inspire reframing academic practices of teaching, research, producing knowledge and networking in and beyond academia.

Find out more about Interdisciplinary Networks

Education Pathway:

Two conferences focusing on Education are taking place in May: the WRDTC Education Pathway Fifth Research Student Conference on 9th May in Sheffield, and the 11th Research Students’ Education Conference on 17th May in Leeds. All PhD researchers in the White Rose DTC, whose research interests include Education, are encouraged to participate.

A webinar by Professor David Hyatt (School of Education, University of Sheffield) on the topic of Learning to Read More Critically: Some Conceptual Tools From Critical Discourse Analysis took place on 24 April 2017. PhD researchers from Leeds and York, as well as Sheffield, were able to participate in the webinar.

Security, Conflict and Justice Pathway:

Policing Futures: Contexts, Practices and Debates, 7 June 2017, University of Leeds

As part of the British Sociological Association’s regional postgraduate event series, we’re delighted to announce a forthcoming one-day postgraduate research (PGR) conference hosted by the University of Leeds’ School of Law. The event, entitled ‘Policing Futures: Contexts, Practices and Debates’, is to take place on Wednesday 7th June 2017. Also supported by the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre’s Security, Conflict and Justice Pathway, and the N8 Policing Research Partnership, the conference will facilitate a vibrant and constructive forum in which postgraduate researchers are encouraged to present their research on the developing contexts, practices and debates inherent within contemporary policing. The conference will also feature contributions from a number of established scholars, including a keynote address from Dr Ben Bradford (University of Oxford).

Sociology Pathway:

Thematic Analysis Workshop, 8 June 2017, University of Sheffield

This workshop will provide an opportunity for researchers to explore different approaches to, and varieties of, TA and the relationship between TA and other analytic approaches.

Branching Out in Research, 13 June 2017, University of Sheffield

Hosted by the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield, this conference aims to explore how we can look beyond the usual realms of social research, in terms of topic areas, social groups and methodology. The event also aims to bring together postgraduate research students and early career researchers from social science and related disciplines to present their research and ideas, build networks and develop presentation skills.

Linguistics and Language Sciences Pathway:

Mixed Effect Modelling Workshops, 8 and 15 May 2017, University of Leeds

Language@Leeds is organising three workshops on mixed-effect modelling of linguistic data. The first two will take place Monday 8th of May and a week later on 15th of May from 1-4pm (each day).  They will be followed by a 2-day workshop on random effect structures in multilevel modelling on the 5th and 6th of June. 

Politics and International Relations Pathway:

White Rose Annual Politics and International Relations Colloquium, 22 May 2017, University of Sheffield

Hosted by the University of Sheffield’s Department of Politics, the White Rose Annual Politics and International Relations Colloquium will bring together PhD Candidates from across the universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York and provide an opportunity for inter-institutional collaboration and networking.

Planning Pathway and International Development Pathway

Colloquium: Demystifying Qualitative Analysis, 25-26 May 2017, University of Sheffield

Two day colloquium focused on Qualitative Analysis processes and approaches. Researchers will share their experience with different aspects of qualitative analysis, answer questions about their craft and practice, emphasising how they have dealt with the complexity of the analysis process. The two days will be split between presentations in the morning and discussions in the afternoon.  Participants will develop a better understanding of qualitative research analysis approaches and methods, whilst engaging in an active collaborative and multidisciplinary learning experience, focused on a combination of theoretical and practical sessions.

Management and Business, Accounting and Finance and Work Psychology Pathway

Crossing Boundaries: preparing for careers and influence in government, industry and business consultancy, 22 May 2017, University of Leeds

This exciting one-day PGR workshop event brings together an array of top-level speakers to discuss and share their experiences on how to leverage your academic qualifications and advanced research training skills to build and pursue careers or influence in government, industry and business consultancy, crossing the traditional university boundaries for a richer post-PhD career.

Remember to check the Training & Events page and the News page of the WRDTC website for an up to date list of upcoming events.

The next ESRC Festival of Social Sciences – now in its fifteenth year – will take place from 4 to 11 November 2017. Last year, 270 events took place across the UK as part of this Festival, with wide ranging topics and involving a large and varied audience.  This year, the Festival aims to involve more early career researchers as organisers. There is still time to apply to run a non-funded event – see details on the ESRC website.

[ESRC Students Only] 2017 ESRC DTC Conference, 15-16 June 2017

The UCL and Bloomsbury DTCs are hosting the annual ESRC DTC Conference this year. The Conference will take place in London on 15-16 June 2017.

The conference is open to all ESRC-funded PhD researchers at any stage of their research, as well as current ESRC-funded Masters students.

Details of the event can be found on the conference website. (Please note, if you find the Eventbrite page requires a password, please use ESRC 2017 to access the page).

[ESRC Students Only] Pathway Transition (DTC to DTP)

All ESRC-funded PhD researchers in the WRDTC and their supervisors will be contacted by the DTP office, and will be asked to choose  one of the new WRDTP Interdisciplinary Training Pathways. If, after consultation with your supervisor, you would like to change to a different Pathway, there will be an opportunity to ‘opt to swap’.

[ESRC Students Only] Media Training

Is your research ‘ready for the media’? Free media training is offered to all ESRC-funded academics who are working on news-worthy research projects.The one-day training sessions are an opportunity for researchers, no matter what stage of their career, to develop their skills and feel comfortable handling media interviews. Whether a PhD student, postdoctoral researcher or senior fellow, the new practical media training session provides the guidance needed to engage the media with confidence – and plenty of opportunity to practice. For more information, please see the Media Training document.


At the last meeting of the WRTDC Academic Quality Committee, AQC Student Rep Marion Oveson shared some comments and observations she received from fellow PGRs at Sheffield:

  • Some Pathway events have a small turnout, which means participants cannot get the most out of these events and can result in inconsistent experiences across different Pathways. This concern has been recognised and will be addressed by the new WRDTP Interdisciplinary Pathways, which will replace current Pathways from October 2017. The new Pathways have been designed to be more flexible and responsive to the training needs of PhD researchers.
  • PGRs are sometimes still unclear about what the DTC is, and about its role. The WRDTC has acknowledged this comment, and a discussion is ongoing about the continuing need to raise awareness, including the possibility for improved branding for the WRDTP (Doctoral Training Partnership) from October 2017. Students/PGRs should also watch out for any information sessions that might be held, as well as larger events such as the annual conference, and can also contact their student representatives as well as local academic and administrative contacts for clarification.
  • There is some confusion about what training is available to ESRC-funded students during the first year of the PhD, particularly for those attending an MA on a 1+3 scholarship. More details will be available soon.
  • MA students on a 1+3 studentships have commented that their Training Needs Analysis (TNA) requirements seemed excessive. This comment was acknowledged, however the TNA in its current form is an ESRC requirement.
  • Some overlap between WRDTC training and local training has been acknowledged and will be looked into.

All new social sciences doctoral researchers will be invited to attend the WRDTP Welcome Event in October 2017 at the University of Leeds