Attending Research Seminars
Seminars aren’t just a part of your weekly course timetable. Research seminars are a great way of introducing yourself to the vast community of academia. These sessions allow academics to present their current work and for attendees to offer constructive criticism and ask questions about the research.
To help get to grips with these research seminars below, I have outlined some tips which should make attending these sessions a little easier.
You will need to do a little research to find the seminar sessions you want to attend. The first port of call will be your departments information page which will often have a calendar of upcoming seminars from guest speakers and Warwick academics.
There is often a calendar on your department’s webpage showing any upcoming seminars from either guest speakers or internal academics. These topics will often align with the focus of research in which your department specialises.
Before the events of 2020, often research seminars would have been in person. They have now moved online, which opens up the accessibility of attending events from across the country and across the world.
This means it is a great idea to explore research seminar schedules from different universities and research organisation. You can do this by going on to an individual organisations website or simply typing into the search engine of your choice to see what is currently organised.
Eventbite is a great source for this, and you can find research seminars on a vast array of topics.
Going to a range of topics is also highly valuable in getting a sense of your discipline’s development. Whilst it is tempting to only go to those directly linked to your own interests, the availability of online research seminars makes it easier to attend a greater scope of topics. Even if you just pop on the call and use it as a podcast whilst getting some admin jobs done.
Joining these seminars can be intimidating to begin with. Still, it is essential to remember there is no expectation placed on you attending. It is perfectly acceptable to you just to turn up and listen with your camera off.
The format of these sessions will be different from the seminars you will have experienced within your course.
The structure of the research seminar will have someone chairing, which means they will be in control of the running of the talk and questioning section. They will organise the questions which come in and ensure that everything stays relevant and within the time allocated.
With online events being the current form of these talks, it is perfectly acceptable to sit there with your camera on/off, depending on your preference. Just make sure your mic is off whilst someone is talking!
There is no obligation to take an active role and ask questions if you are not comfortable doing so. Another benefit to many sessions having moved online is that you can always pop your question in the chatbox if you don’t feel comfortable speaking.
However, it is good to remember that no one is grading you for your participation or passing judgement on your questions. Attending makes you an active participant in the academic community with other people who are also just interested in learning and sharing ideas.