Topic outline


      The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) was launched in 2010 by Vitae, a non-profit programme that is part of the Career Development Organisation.

      QMUL is a member of Vitae, and students and staff can access Vitae’s online support materials and are entitled to discounts on events and resources. Simply register on the Vitae website using your QMUL email address. 

      Source: Vitae

      The RDF describes in detail the practical skills and attributes of successful researchers. It provides the basis for the support offered to researchers by many of the Schools and Departments at QMUL, including the Library. You can access more information on the RDF itself here

      This module is worth three Skills Points for PhD students, who are expected to amass a total of 210 Skills Points over the course of their studies. The QMUL PhD Skills Points Database allows you to capture the generic and discipline-specific developmental activities that you are involved in. On successful completion of the quiz at the end of this module you can log the three points on the PhD Skills Points Database.

      Contact the Teaching & Learning Support Team, the Doctoral College, the Graduate School or your Department if you would like more information and/or support with the RDF.

      The module is divided into seven sections, which you can complete at your own pace. Reading Lists of material have been provided, and the quiz at the end of the module is accessible to QM members after they enrol themselves on the course. 

      There are no prerequisites for taking this module, but you may wish to use earphones/headphones for the audiovisual files. You can provide us with your feedback on completion. Most of the module is openly accessible, but guests cannot access the quiz.

      The Teaching & Learning Support Team are always contactable. Look out for this button:  Contact the T&LS Team  

      • Literature Searching

        The aim of a literature search is to identify existing work about the subject you are researching. It is likely that you will carry out several literature searches during the course of your research, modifying, developing and refining your original search as you progress.

            Photo by Felix Mittermeier - Pixabay

        literature search and a literature review are sometimes confused: essentially, a literature search is only one part of the process of producing an effective literature review. You can find more information on literature reviews under the 'Planning and Carrying out a Literature Review' section of this module.


        Source: Wikimedia Commons

        The most effective literature searches are planned in advance, carefully structured and controlled, and yet they should still be flexible if unexpected results dictate that a change of approach is necessary. 

        There are a number of well-established search techniques that will enable you to structure your searches so that you maximise your results. You may be familiar with some or all of these techniques, but we explore them in more detail in this section by using text, illustrations and Prezis. 


        Woman looking at view from top of a mountain

          Image by PubliCo , Pixabay

        This section covers the main aspects of evaluating and analysing information resources. 

        On completion of this section, you will have a better understanding of how to identify valuable information to support your research.


        Using both text and illustrations, this section deals with the main aspects of carrying out an effective literature review. On completion of this section, you should have a better understanding of the reasons for planning and carrying out a literature review.


        Photo by Patrick Tomasso, Unsplash

      • Practical Tips

        railway track

        Photo by Michael Gaida, Pixabay

        This section provides guidance on managing information, keeping up to date with the latest research and sharing and disseminating the results of your work .
      • THE VIVA

      • Summary Quiz

        Test your knowledge of this module in this short quiz.

        Successful completion of the quiz will give you 3 points for your RDF profile.