Resources for Postgraduate Researchers – from Postgraduate Toolbox
In March of this year, two former postgraduate students from Durham University set up Postgraduate Toolbox as a web resource for research students. The motivation for the web platform came from the need to bring multiple aspects of postgrad support together in one place in a friendly, peer-led environment.
Most of the resources are based on shared experiences and are created by people who are going through, or have completed postgraduate degrees. One of the most popular features of the website is the on-site blog, where posts are updated regularly and feature news bulletins (Mon), opinions on postgraduate life (Weds) and a unique series on postgraduate careers (Fri).
The website also covers academic support, and the Advice Centres on the website offer a suite of articles written by postgraduate students on topics such as ‘Writing your thesis’, ‘Supervision’ and ‘Getting published’. There are also directories of useful services such as printers and binders and reference management tools.
Postgraduate Toolbox aims to be a light hearted site and plays host to a PhD student cartoonist Jon Tollervey, who’s twice weekly illustrations posted on the site, called The Grad School take a humorous look at postgrad life. They can be seen as a small, welcome distraction from work and, additionally, are a great way to help Jon get his drawings off the ground. A feature for Christmas from Jon is a Grad School online advent calendar with a new cartoon ‘behind the doors’ every day.
Other features include a dedicated postgraduate bookstore, a page of excusive offers, as well as support forums, which are great for sharing problems or just chatting with other postgraduates. There is also the opportunity to join the online postgraduate community ‘Graduate Junction’, which is linked to Postgraduate Toolbox, and make a profile and begin to find other people who share research interests.
Finally, alongside these resources, Postgraduate Toolbox is expanding in the New Year, when a brand new Careers site will be launched. The website will allow students to upload their CV and search a database of dedicated jobs for those with a postgrad degree. There will also be opportunities to look at company profiles and to get advice on how to sell the skills of a postgrad to employers. For an idea of the features involved visit the careers tools pages.
All these resources aim to give postgraduate students a valuable support system online. At the same time the student-led approach makes the resources accessible.
For more information visit the website and explore the resources. You can also sign up for the fortnightly newsletter which contains updates and articles with the same aim as the website content, but on a new theme each issue.