Researcher Development Initiative (RDI), 2005 - 2010

Enhancing Expert Thinking and Problem-Solving: the Development of Insight and Perspective in Theory and Practice

01/08/10 - 31/07/13


This project extends researcher training beyond the customary scope of doctoral and early career support, to encompass the advanced, expert thinking that experienced researchers engage in. The training will target the needs of mid-career researchers who have already accrued experience but may not have a clear strategy for advancing towards expertise. It will offer insights about how to raise one’s game in pursuit of large research grants, high quality publications, and, in particular, the development of the mindset that facilitates interdisciplinary investigations of major questions with high social impact.


A set of interview questions and model tasks will be presented to expert social science researchers to inform the development of training materials. The materials will be trialled and employed in six training workshops, and publicised at a final dissemination conference. Participants in the training will be able to cascade the material to support the learning of their own students and colleagues. Areas of expertise to be explored include the different ways in which a phenomenon might be investigated and how multiple methods can be integrated; sharing work effectively across a team; anticipating and handling complications; when and how to cut one's losses on an investigation that has no future; identifying fruitful potential collaborations; articulating questions and objectives in a way that will make sense to someone in another discipline; knowing which assumptions within one's own discipline apply beyond it, and anticipating likely extra-disciplinary misconceptions in relation to the research foci, key findings, research culture and terminology in one's own discipline.


Principal Investigator: Professor Alison Wray, Cardiff University
Co-Investigator: Professor Mike Wallace, Cardiff University

Contact Details

Professor Alison Wray,
Cardiff University

Tel: 029 2087 4243