Preparation for Research Project: Evaluation of the Techniques Week in the Master of Infectious Diseases

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemera


The research component of postgraduate studies provides students with the research expertise necessary for practicing within an evidence-based profession. As the highlight of the Master of Infectious Diseases (Coursework and Dissertation) (MID) at UWA, the research project teaches professional skills, and more importantly, fosters problem solving skills, autonomy and critical thinking.
In combined degrees, the transition from coursework to research can be challenging, with the latter requiring independent learning in a new environment, with a very different dynamic compared to a classroom. Another challenge is the diverse student cohort in postgraduate courses – MID students have varied academic backgrounds and approximately 50% are international students.
University-wide student resources, such as Study Smarter, are not sufficient or specific for the needs of students starting a MID research project. Thus, to aid students during this transition, an introductory Techniques Week prior to the research project was implemented. This week includes several topics such as statistics, ethics in research, research project budgeting and practical chemistry. Also covered are seminar presentation, English grammar and scientific and thesis writing, which are particularly useful for students with English as a second language.
This presentation aims to share our experience with the Techniques Week and the value of this preparatory week. We report on its effectiveness based on student and supervisor surveys. Overall, students found that the Techniques Week had effectively prepared them for research. Suggestions included more practical sessions and tutorials on data analysis, statistics and seminar presentation. Criticisms included the large amount of content condensed into one week. We also observed that domestic students found the grammar session not as useful as did international students. We aim to tailor the Techniques Week based on informed data and seek feedback and suggestions on providing an interesting and useful introduction to research for MID students from all backgrounds.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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