Completing your TNA form – A chance for you to reflect
Completing the TNA form with your supervisor is an opportunity for you to think about what you have already achieved and what you plan to do next. You should aim to revisit you TNA form and update it every six months.
The form is a structured way of recording your successes and upcoming plans, so you can monitor your own progress throughout your PhD.
If you are at the start of your degree, you may not have enough ‘evidence’ to complete all the boxes on the form, but that’s fine. Remember, it’s a chance for you to think about your next steps, not a box filling exercise.
Guidance for filling in a TNA form
The form is split in to 5 sections. Sections A-D have 6 parts, and each part has prompt questions to help guide you. The final section ‘Implementing you Career Plan’ is your chance to bring things together to set yourself some clear aims and objectives for the year ahead.
To get you started, below is a brief overview sections A-D.
A: Knowledge of your research area and your ability to do research
This section is all about how well you know your research area and where it sits in the big picture of your research field. As researchers we need to demonstrate that:
We are aware which practical tools and theories are appropriate for our research.
You can do this by speaking to colleagues and supervisors and by developing your hands-on lab skills.
We can keep up to date with the research community.
You can do this by regularly looking at the research literature, attending local research seminars or international conferences.
We have the ability to be critical and creative.
You can demonstrate this by explaining: how you make connections between your research and other studies, when you have critically evaluated your own work and when you have created an hypothesis to investigate an idea.
C: Research Governance and Organisation
This section is about your responsibilities as a researcher and your wider knowledge of research management.
You need to take responsibility for the work you do, this includes being aware of things like plagiarism, ethics and the health and safety implications of your work. It is also useful to be aware of the big picture of how your research complements the interest of your institution or funding body.
We would like you to show:
Your awareness for plagiarism, ethics and health and safety
Only talk about the ones which apply to you. You could demonstrate your knowledge through courses you have attended, conversations you had with your supervisor, or by highlighting what’s considered ‘good practice’ in your research field.
Your ability to manage a research project
You could demonstrate this using training courses you have attended, for example, about project/time management or writing funding / fellowship applications.
Your awareness of how your research fits within your institution
You could demonstrate this by writing about presentations that you have attended, on-line material that you have read, or local communities that you contribute too.
B: Personal effectiveness
This sections is all about your approach to your work and your personal development. We want to know:
How do you plan and manage your time effectively?
There are a number of ways you could do this. You could write yourself a prioritised ‘to do list’ every day/week or set yourself monthly targets? You could use a calendar or planer to keep on top of deadlines and meetings. Talk about the approach you take.
When have you had to work with others? And how did you approach this?
Things to think about here are: have you sought help on something you didn’t understand from a peer or superior? Do you regularly work with collaborators from another area? Have taken the lead on a project? If so, tell us who you worked with and what your role / contribution was.
Are you thinking about you career after your PhD?
It’s important to consider your development in the context of research and beyond. You should be thinking about how you can improve your CV and skill set by attending training courses and gaining experience of a variety of things to complement your research skills.
D: Working with others, influence and impact
This section is about your ability to communicate with a range of audiences and the impact your research has.
We would like you to tell us about times when you have:
Communicated your research to others
You could talk about oral presentations you have given, poster sessions you have attended at conferences, publications you have contributed to, or blogs you have written. You could also think about the communication you have daily basis with your peers and your supervisor.
Taught, mentored or managed other people
Here you many want to include examples of any undergraduate teaching you have done, any 1:1 training you have provided to peers, or any mentoring you have provided to less experienced researchers. Have you ever provided feedback for a peer or a student?
Taken part in any outreach actives that have impact beyond your research niche
Here you may want to include any work you have done in addition to your day to day research with schools or charities, at community events, or any social media initiatives you have helped with.