Module WS 2015/2016

The doctoral consortium is an opportunity to sharpen and deepen both focus and methods of research, supervised by a group of external professors and/or advisors. It is designed to foster the presentational, critical and discursive skills in a group of international peers. By submitting their work-in-progress and interim results to an international doctoral consortium candidates also learn how to position their work in a competitive research environment.
Applications are refereed through an academic committee. Participants benefit from understanding others' experiences and results and receive valuable feedback from consortium chairs and other participants. A joint publication is to result from a consortium. A doctoral consortium will take the form of a multi-institution and often international seminar, workshop or summer school - an example can be found on, the consortium on sustainable spatial development our University participates in each year.
The research proposal must include a description of the dissertation as a research agenda and of the methodical approach. In the colloquium on the research proposal, doctoral students shall present their dissertation project and provide reasons for their chosen approach.

Details are listed in the Implementing Provisions concerning the Doctorate Regulations
Details with Schedule

Role of the module in the doctoral study plan
The module is required as a cross-faculty course in the preparation phase of the doctoral programs “Architecture and Planning” and “Business Economics”.

Subject definition
This module supports formal research training at the doctoral level by focusing on fundamental aspects of research design, particularly through the lens of the special disciplines, styles of inquiry and cultures of learning at the University of Liechtenstein. It also helps to develop research management skills.
Research design describes 'the structure of any scientific work. It gives direction and systematizes the research. Different types of research designs have different advantages and disadvantages.'1 In technical terms a typical research design is a detailed outline of how an investigation will take place. A research design will typically include how data is to be collected, what instruments will be employed, how the instruments will be used and the intended means for analysing data collected.
Research management skills, or so called transferable skills, comprise the ability to manage projects, be self-motivated and autonomous, network internationally, to think analytically and to be creative, inquisitive and original. In combining both research design and management skills, the University of Liechtenstein aligns itself with aspirations of the League of European Research Universities (LERU). It calls for an innovative doctoral education that brings together cohorts of candidates and includes elements of professional development training. This combination nurtures a range of skills that help PhD candidates to be more effective in their research projects but also to nurture abilities that will be useful in their future lives and careers.

To provide a tailored program, the PhD students attend one topic of ‘Specialisation according to PhD study’ (4 taught lecture units). In addition to this, the PhD students select five topics from the pool of “General academic and technical skills” and participate in all of the topics from the pool “Personal and professional management skills”. The features of the series “Personal and professional management skills” are open lectures, and every interested staff member is invited to join and listen.

Specific academic and technical skills
  • Introduction to Research Design (mandatory: two taught units)
Specialisation according to PhD study

Mandatory: One topic from this group (four taught units per topic), according to the student’s focus area
  • Research Design for Business Process Management
  • Research Design for Finance
  • Research Design for Entrepreneurship
  • Research Design for Sustainable Building
  • Research Design for Sustainable Urban Design and Planning
  • Research Design for Architectural Theory

General academic and technical skills
Electives: Students have to select 5 topics from this group (two taught units per topic)
  • Experimental Research Design
  • Concepts of Time-Series Econometrics
  • Panel Data: Fixed and Random Effects
  • Case Study Research and Action Research
  • Mixed Methods Approaches
  • Use and Types of Observations and Surveys
  • Literature Review
  • Big Data Skills
  • Community Research / Social Science for Built Environment
  • Energy and the Built Environment
  • Inquiry by Design

Personal and professional management skills
Mandatory (one taught unit per topic)
  • Personal Knowledge Management for PhD Students
  • Self-/Time-/Stress-Management
  • Leadership in Research
  • Project Management
  • Ethics
  • Publication Process
  • Grant Application Process
  • International Doctoral Exchange / PhD Network
This course is designed to give first year PhD Students an aid for their academic endeavour. Just like in Research Design, the focus lies on methodological competences. At the same time, however, this course also aims at techniques rather than design strategies. The objective is to provide core compentences on how to craft a scientific text properly. Due to the concept of peer-monitoring applied in this course also social competencies will be trained.

During the first year students will be working on their academic writing style, they will be made familiar with normative writing styles and ways to publish tackling various kinds of genres, and they will help and learn from each other through peer-monitoring activities. As a base sample texts will be used and the texts students will be producing will be worked on. The course is built on four pillars:

  • Text Coaching:
    How to write academically: spelling, grammar, academic vocabulary, numbers, abbreviations, tables, figures, etc.
  • Knowledge Management:
    Working with databases, literature management softwares, etc.
  • Publishing:
    How to write and publish various genres: abstracts, research papers, articles, data commentaries, reviews, project proposals, formatting, etc.
  • Peer-Mentoring:
    Giving and receiving feed-back, presenting and reviewing, considering peer-feedback, joint writing activities, etc.

During the course, students will maintain a blog which they will be feeding with weekly entries about their research activities and they will comment on two other PhD Students' blogs. This way, they will structure their thoughts and ideas and it will stimulate transparency and exchange about what they individually and what peer-students are working on. This will help learning how to give and receive feed-back, and it will be monitored by supervisors helping in giving individualised feed-back.

At the end of the course students will hand in a portfolio containing all the texts they have written and the blog entries and comments they will have made.

During the course, plenary speakers will be invited from various fields organising a workshop with students on particular issues of academic writing in genre-specific areas.
This project-based, individually tutored module aims at fostering academic and reflective professional competencies. A reflective and critical understanding of theories of sustainability in Architecture, Planning and Development is developed by students in order to convey a solid background for better understanding the theoretical setting of their discipline.