The Messy PhD Workshops

Introduction – A messy approach to research

Research is messy business, often involving multiple complex and complicated processes. Additionally, every researcher brings a unique set of work and personal experiences to their research, handles a diverse research protocols, practices and timelines, and juggles multiple other issues in their personal lives.

Universities already offer plenty of excellent trainings for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) on how to conduct research. My workshops complement university-led training by helping PGRs to feel more comfortable and prepared to deal with the messier, emotional and personal aspects of doing research.

What The Messy PhD addresses

My workshops cover components of the doctoral experience that are less commonly discussed and for which there aren’t always clear ‘how-to’ guides. These include, among others:

  • maintaining ease, balance and joy throughout the research journey
  • fostering greater academic confidence and joy in research
  • learning to trust individual research intuition and work rhythms
  • developing and claiming personal identity in/during research
  • dealing with unexpected problems and surprises in research
  • responding to work guilt, shame, demotivation, imposter syndrome
  • reframing negative experiences or feelings during the research journey

All my training stems from a belief that peer-led sharings and insight provide some of the most effective and helpful advice for PGRs. So my workshops encourage plenty of discussions between participants, generating dynamic and interactive exchanges, collaborative peer-generated advice, and valuable opportunities to connect with and learn from other researchers.

Bringing The Messy PhD to your institution

If you’d like to engage me to deliver any of these workshops for postgraduate researchers at your institution, please get in touch either via this contact page or by emailing me at

I’d be happy to talk more about any specific requirements for your PGRs, and to develop or customise workshops to best suit their needs.