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HSS8022 : Reflective Researcher Portfolio

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Mrs Rosalind Beaumont
  • Lecturer: Dr Jenny Davidson, Dr Mwenza Blell
  • Other Staff: Dr Laura Leonardo
  • Owning School: School X
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to support early-stage postgraduate researchers in critically reflecting upon their learning, including their personal and professional development goals, processes and achievements.

It provides postgraduate researchers with opportunities to explore their identities and identify training needs as researchers within a complex and evolving research landscape.

The module also provides opportunities to connect theory with practice and provide a space for dialogue, challenge, and reflection in relation to their own research and the research of their peers.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module is centred on the researchers’ independent and peer-supported learning and their reflection upon their experiences during the early stages of their research degree.

Following an introductory session instead of following a specific-syllabus researchers will engage in both defined and self-selected appropriate research training and development activities offered by the Faculty Research Training Programme those identified by students from within their school and beyond. In addition, they will engage in regular seminars and with practical exercises to develop critical reflective skills, recording in a systematic manner their experience of learning and adapting to becoming a researcher.

The content of their reflections and set activities will form a portfolio, and will guide the individual ‘learning syllabuses’, determining the points on which they will focus in reflecting upon their learning and development. These will inform their overall reflective commentary and action plan which the researchers will submit as their summative assessment.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading130:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching82:0016:00Study Group
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity81:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery22:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study174:0074:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

An introductory lecture provides researchers with background information about the module aims and expectations, and offers direction for independent and peer-supported student-centred learning. Later lectures (end of first semester and during second semester) provide learning review points and further orientation and assessment information. Online materials introduce the lecture content, establish a basic level of understanding of the session topic, and signal areas for individual further study and essential and further reading.

Teaching Assistant-led seminars and workshops (spread across the two semesters) provide researchers with the opportunity to raise questions related to lectures, and to discuss material in more depth. Group activities and discussions also allow them to share and engage with personal reflections on their training and development activities (including those from the set reflective learning activities), and a more holistic experience of being an early-stage research student. There is a strong wellbeing element built into the operation of these study groups, providing peer support in the first stages of a research degree, and drawing on the experiences of the PGR Teaching Assistants in a buddy/ peer-mentoring capacity.

Independent study activities provide researchers with regular opportunities to consolidate learning through guided tasks. They are asked to complete regular reflective learning activities to develop material for their portfolio. Independent study will enable wider reading, further personal self-reflection and assessment preparation.

Drop-in sessions are offered in each semester for consultation with the Module Leader and to clarify the assessment requirements, in addition to ad hoc in-person/ email communications.

The majority of the work necessary for a successful completion of this module will take place through researchers' private study. Through independent and tutor/peer-supported learning, and recordings of their learning, they are enabled to reflect upon their personal and professional development goals, processes and achievements.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2A100a 2000 word reflective commentary and action plan
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Reflective log1M1000 word interim self-evaluation of researcher’ attainment against learning outcomes and action plan to address areas for development
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment strategy for this module is designed to support students in meeting the learning outcomes through the following:

•The formative Reflection and Action Plan is set and assessed in Semester 1. It allows researchers to assess their attainment of the module’s learning outcomes and develop action plans to address gaps. Action plans will be monitored and used to provide targeted support for students.

•The summative Reflective Commentary is a set of critical reflections on the researchers’ learning experiences and research journey, mainly informed by their portfolio of their training and development activities. Through this commentary, researchers provide an overview of their development at this stage, and critically reflect on how their learning experiences have contributed to the development of the knowledge, skills and competencies embodied in the learning outcomes for this module. This reflection can feed into their Annual Progress Review documents.

Assessment Formats: written submissions or equivalents in alternative formats will be accepted. Acceptable alternatives could include a recorded audio, visual or audio/ visual presentation, along with an annotated bibliography, with an ‘equivalent consumption time’ to a 1000 or 2000 word essay.

Reading Lists