14-ICF Introductory Course Fall

This Introductory Course is for PhD students who just started their dissertation project. You will become familiar with ICO (the Interuniversity Centre for Educational Research), the types of research performed within ICO, and ICOs position in the national and international field of educational research. The Introductory Course is for PhD students who just started their PhD project.  
One important aim of this course is to present and defend your PhD project proposal and to get to know other PhD candidates who recently started their PhD project. You will learn to give and receive feedback on a research project, specifically the first study. In addition, the course offers opportunities to practice research skills such as evaluating scientific articles and books, participating in review meetings, and managing your research project. The course is offered in English. If all participants are Dutch-speaking however, it may be decided to use Dutch for communication during face-to-face meetings.

Course objectives
After this course, you have acquired:

  • Some basic knowledge of theories, models and research designs that are used in different thematic groups of ICO
  • Knowledge of the mission and organization of ICO, its thematic groups, and its position in the national and international field of educational research
  • Skills in using scientific criteria for high-quality research both to (1) the preparation of a (PhD) project proposal and (2) the evaluation of scientific writings, i.e., journal articles and dissertations
  • Skills in writing and presenting a PhD project proposal
  • Skills in reviewing manuscripts for scientific journals and participating in an editorial board meeting
  • Skills in reviewing books/dissertations and writing a book review
  • Skills in managing your supervisor(s)


  • Before the registration deadline has passed, the ICO Project proposal should be send in for evaluation by ICO's Scientific Committee (also see the page on the Registration Procedure for ICO Members). Non-ICO members are also obliged to have a project plan ready before the start of the course. 
  • Participants are required to be present at all of the course meetings.

Coordinator of the Introductory Course is Prof. dr. Jos Beishuizen(VU University, Scientific Director of ICO). The second lecturer of the course is Prof.dr. Mieke Brekelmans (Utrecht University).

The course is organized around three meetings (4 days): 

  1. September 26, 2014: Studiecentrum OU, Vondellaan 202 Utrecht
  2. October 24, 2014: Studiecentrum OU, Vondellaan 202 Utrecht
  3. November 24-25, 2014 Vergadercentrum Vredenburg 19, Utrecht
The location will be in Utrecht. 

Meeting 1: Day 1,
This opening meeting is used to make acquaintance, to discuss the mission and organization of ICO and to explain the tasks that need to be prepared for the next meetings.

Meeting 2: Day 2,
This second meeting will be almost completely devoted to the presentation and critical discussion of PhD project proposals, with a focus on the specification of the first study you plan to conduct.

Meeting 3: Days 3 & 4,
These days are devoted to the presentation and discussion of a simulated board meeting, presentation of your review of a PhD thesis, and your expectations regarding supervision of your PhD project. There is a dinner on the evening of the third day.

Learning tasks
Prior to and during the course, you will work on six tasks. The tasks will be explained in more detail in the Course Manual.

Task 1: Present yourself, your research interest and where you are working in a speed date session

Task 2a: Exploring the research community
This tast is about finding out what ICO is, and how your project fits in ICO and the national and international field of educational research
You perform this task individually
Prior to Meeting 1, answer the question which national and international research schools, scientific associations, journals, institutes, experts, conferences etc. are directly relevant for your specific research project

Task 2b: ICO Theme groups:
Gain insight in the ten thematic groups of ICO
Obtain insight in why your project belongs to which theme(s)
Prepare yourself and think about how you can explain in 2 minutes to the group:
1. What your PhD project is about
2. Why your project fits to which theme (which perspective, theory, or methodology do you use that fits with one or two ICO themes). 

Task 3: Preparing or further specifying your own PhD project proposal
You perform this task individually
You specify your PhD project proposal using the standard NWO form. Special attention is devoted to the experimental design of the study (Setup & Methods)
You present and defend your PhD project proposal during Meeting 2. You prepare two reviews for PhD project proposals of other students

Task 4. Review for a dissertation in your field Group assignment
You perform this task in groups of 2 or 3 students
You select a dissertation that is, if possible at all, relevant to your own research project and find another student to perform this task with. Preferably work with students with whom you did not collaborate in other tasks within this course. This needs to be done before day 3.
Prepare a PowerPoint. You present this PowerPoint during day 3.

Task 5: Reviewing a manuscript for a scientific journal
You perform this task individually
You prepare a review for one manuscript submitted to a scientific journal
You participate in a simulated editorial board meeting during Meeting 3, in which the acceptance/rejection of the manuscript is discussed and an action letter is prepared

Task 6: Scientific integrity
During this task you will reflect on scientific integrity, with the use of entitled The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice. Principles of good scientific teaching and research, and prepare a power point presentation on two dilemmas you could be confronted with during your PhD trajectory.

Task 7: Planning a strategy for managing your supervisor(s)
Prepare some theses on how you would like to organize your dissertation process, especially with regard to managing your supervisor(s)
Defend your theses in a discussion during Meeting 3

You will pass this course if you:

  • Discuss one of the articles representative for the work of ICOs thematic groups
  • Deliver a short document describing relevant national and international research schools, scientific organizations, journals, institutes, experts, conferences, PhD students etc. in your specific field of research
  • Deliver a PhD project description that is approved by both lecturers
  • Deliver a manuscript review and actively contribute to a simulated editorial board meeting
  • Deliver and present a book review for a dissertation that is approved by both lecturers
  • Deliver and defend some theses on how to manage your supervisor during the PhD project
  • Actively contribute to the meetings and provide critical reviews on at least two PhD project proposals of other students, a journal manuscript, and a dissertation

 All core study materials will be made available in Dropbox, after the registration deadline has passed. In Dropbox, the attendants can also find the Course Manual, with more information on the tasks. To become familiar with the topics studied by the ICO thematic groups, six journal articles will be made available which are representative for the six thematic groups of ICO: (1) innovative learning arrangements, (2) domain specific skills, (3) teaching and teacher education, (4) educational design and curriculum development, (5) schools and the social context of education, and (6) assessment, evaluation and examination.

It is assumed that you already have some basic knowledge of Educational Sciences. See for instance:

  • Towne, L., & Shavelson, R. J. (2003). Scientific research in education. Washington: National Academies Press.
  • Lagemann, E. C. (2000). An elusive science: The troubling history of education research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Or for a Dutch alternative: Verloop, N., & Lowyck, J. (2003). Onderwijskunde. Groningen, The Netherlands: Wolters-Noordhoff. 

For additional background information on how to get your PhD, you are advised to consult:

  • Phillips, E. M., & Pugh, D. (2010). How to get a PhD - A handbook for students and their supervisors (5th Ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

ICO PhD students are required to participate in the ICO introductory course. PhD students are strongly recommended to participate in the course shortly after the start of their research project. 

The deadline for registration for this course is September 1st, 2014
Students who want to register for the course after the deadline is due, are recommended to contact course coordinator Jos Beishuizen 

The maximum number of participants for this course is 24.