Keep track of your postgraduate students' research progress


Today, I'm going to give a bit of a behind-the-scenes look into how I keep track of my postgraduate students' research progress. We don't often get the opportunity to see how fellow academics are managing their key performance areas, be it student supervision, publication, or whatever else. I learn so much from my colleagues and over the last year, I have come to realise the value of those corridor conversations and the quick chats over a cup of tea. It is during these conversations where valuable gems are born, the ones I often respond to with an "Oh, that is such a good idea, I'll try it!".

So, here goes. I'm paying it forward. If you are supervising quite a few postgraduate students' research projects, it is worth putting some extra effort into setting up a database that can help you monitor their progress. The student is the driver of the research project, while your role as a supervisor is to guide and facilitate where needed. At the same time, you also have an academic load of note, which means some predictability will go a long way to help manage your busy schedule. Knowing where each of them is in the postgraduate journey, will help you plan where your input will be needed. Proactivity can reduce a lot of stress.

Also, having summary statistics available, such as the number of students who are doing research in a specific topic area or using a specific study design, can come in handy. You may want to invite only those who are doing systematic reviews to a workshop on how to do a meta-analysis or only invite those who are doing research in cricket to attend a webinar on cricket injuries. In the videos below, you'll see that one can keep track of the number of students who completed their studies - with the titles of their research projects and co-supervisor names - all in one place.

The first video will show you what the Excel sheet that I use to keep track of their research progress looks like and the second will help you build your own Excel sheet based on your own needs. I'm sure there are other software and other ways to keep track of students' research progress, and I'd love to hear how you go about it. Please leave a comment on YouTube - in the comment box below either of the videos and tell me how you do it. We can all learn from one another.

Feel free to download a template of the Excel spreadsheet I use, the one I show in the first video, by clicking on the button below. Feel free to customise it as you wish. This template has a built-in macro, a button that you can click which moves a student from the "Monitor" sheet to the "Completed" sheet. Click on the name of the student you want to move to the "Completed" sheet and then click the button that says "Move to completed". Try it out!

Enjoy this journey!



PS. One last thing before you go, for more valuable content related to academic research, subscribe to the Research Masterminds YouTube Channel and hit the bell so that you get notified when I upload a new video. If you are a (post)graduate student working on a masters or doctoral research project, and you are passionate about life, adamant about completing your studies successfully and ready to get a head-start on your academic career, this opportunity is for you! Join our awesome membership site - a safe haven offering you coaching, community and content to boost your research experience and productivity. Check it out!


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