EVENTS: Invitation to attend the Summer School for Postgrad Students

25 Feb-1 March 2019

Are you a postgraduate student who is struggling to complete your research project? Are you having difficulty in writing up your thesis? Are you thinking of enrolling for a postgraduate degree, but you are not sure where to start? Are you keen to publish papers in journals but are not sure how to? Are you having problems with your supervisor and you are not sure how to address these? Are you trying to apply for funding? Are you a supervisor or a post-doc who wants to establish a long-term research career?

In this workshop, we cover all the above topics and more! My aim in these 5 days is to demystify the process of research and to help you complete a high quality thesis in good time, as you build towards a longer-term research career. Everyone who attends the workshop also gets a free copy of my Postgraduate Toolkit DVD (3rd edition, pictured above).

I use an intersectional feminist, decolonial and queer-friendly lens to investigate how research can be used to address the pressing socio-economic and other challenges that we have in the country, and on the continent and more globally. My approach is interdisciplinary and holistic, and there is time for group work as well as for you to work individually and get feedback from me on your writing. The workshop is ideal for postgraduate students at any level of study, as well as supervisors and post-doctoral researchers.

Key focus areas of the workshop include the following:

  • An introduction to research;
  • Ethics in research;
  • Deciding on a research topic and narrowing down the scope of the project;
  • A comprehensive research proposal, which lays the basis for the entire research project and thesis;
  • Research design and methodology – I spend a whole day on this, as many students tend to have a weak research design and methodology and this is something that examiners and reviewers will be zooming in on;
  • How to write a high quality thesis, with each of the chapters gone through in detail. Particular attention is turned to the literature review and common mistakes to avoid in academic writing;
  • Theoretical frameworks, how to use these and where they go in the thesis;
  • The thesis examination process, which we cover in detail. We go through a typical examiner’s form so that you can see the kinds of things examiners will be looking for;
  • Quality of life challenges that can make it more difficult to complete the research project, such as time management, balancing different demands, stress and health problems, as well as motivation.  We look at wellness holistically;
  • How to write and publish an academic journal article – I am a reviewer for the South African Pharmaceutical Journal and will also share a reviewer’s perspective with you;
  • How to apply for funding – in particular, I take you through how to complete a funding application for the National Research Foundation (NRF), one of the largest funding bodies in South Africa. I am also a reviewer for the NRF and will share more details about the review process that funders use;
  • Project management principles in research;
  • Oral and poster presentations on your research;
  • The student-supervisor relationship, how this relationship can be enhanced and ways of addressing conflict. We look at the role of mentorship in the research context in South Africa and some of the challenges that are being experienced; and
  • Career development for researchers – in this section, we also consider self-employment as a career option for researchers, which is something that I am passionate about.

Dr Layla Cassim has been facilitating research workshops for more than 8 years at different universities and research bodies across South Africa. For more information on her business, Layla Cassim ERS Consultants CC, please visit Dr Cassim holds a B.Pharm. (with distinction) and PhD (Pharmacology) degrees from Rhodes University as well as an MBA (with distinction) from UNISA.

These are just some of the comments that have been made by previous workshop participants:

  • “This workshop really helped my confidence and gave me the tools that I needed to make my PhD a lot easier, and helped my motivation.”
  • “You have illustrated complete mastery of your course content both in breadth and depth yet you are able to share this information simply and meaningfully.  Your ability to draw in just the perfect examples from supervisions you have undertaken to concretise your explanations was excellent.  Presenters generally leave things at the level of theory so this was a remarkable change accordingly.  You are really brilliant at this and students find this approach valuable.”
  • “I […] attended your workshops. Please be informed that l finished my dissertation in May 2017 instead of December 2017. Please be also informed that l have just had my provisional final examination results and all 3 examiners had no objection to giving me 75% above for my dissertation. I owe it to your research workshops. Thank you so much, your workshops opened my mind and motivated me in terms of research.”

In order to register for the upcoming Summer School for Postgrad Students on 25 Feb – 1 March 2019, please complete the registration form ( and email it back to me. I will then send you an invoice.

Cost of attending the Summer School: R5000 ex VAT (total is R5750). This includes workshop attendance, refreshments, lunch on all days and a free copy of the Postgraduate Toolkit on DVD (valued at R500 ex VAT). VAT is not charged for international payments. A discount of 10% is given for 5 or more registrations from the same institution. Travel and accommodation is not included in the above costing. An electronic certificate of attendance will be issued at the end of the workshop.

We offer discounts for people who attend in their personal capacity. 

Deadline for registration: 11 February 2019
Deadline for full payment: 18 February 2019

For further information or queries, please contact Dr Layla Cassim on +27749995847 or

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