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The course Generic knowledge and skills - portfolio


 1. Achievement of learning outcomes

There are several learning outcomes for research studies which doctoral students do not necessarily practise through their thesis work and which are not examined at the public defence of the doctoral thesis. Examples of such learning outcomes are:

- demonstrate an ability to identify the need for further knowledge”

- demonstrate the ability in both national and international contexts to pres1ent and discuss research and research findings authoritatively in speech and writing and in dialogue with the academic community and society in general”

- demonstrate the capacity to contribute to social development and support the learning of others both through research and education and in some other qualified professional capacity”

- demonstrate specialised insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used.”

The principal objective of the portfolio is for doctoral students to gain insight into their learning, into the extent to which they achieve the learning outcomes for research studies (not least those listed above) and what more they need to do in order to achieve them, through continuous reflection and self-evaluation within a number of different areas. The portfolio also constitutes documentation for examination of your achievement of the learning outcomes. The course syllabus for the portfolio (in the right hand column) describes in more detail what you are expected to learn through your portfolio work. Further down on this page and in the document “Supervision portfolio content” is a description of how to proceed and of the examination requirements.

2. Documentation for revision of the study plan

As a consequence of active portfolio work, you will identify both shortcomings and strengths in the progress of your thesis work and your research studies in general. A concrete and important way in which the portfolio can be used is therefore as documentation when you and your supervisor review the individual study plan, which is to be done at least once per year. In this way, the reflections you have made in the portfolio actually result in better quality for your research studies. 

3. Tool for documentation – basis for a CV

In addition to reflection, the portfolio is a tool for the documentation of your research studies activities.

The portfolio can help to prove that you followed your study plan, for example, but can also document other activities (including certificates and other attachments) which can form the basis for a CV in future applications for employment positions or grants.

The Portfolio work

Documentation and reflection within twelve areas.

Working on your portfolio means continuously documenting your experiences within various areas of research studies and using them as starting points for reflection. Your reflections can focus on things like: what you learnt as a result of an activity, how you used new knowledge, shortcomings or strengths that you have identified, proposals for measures for improvement, etc. Remember that the portfolio is above all a tool for reflection, and that it is this ability which helps you to achieve the learning outcomes and which is under examination. The document Supervision portfolio content” contains questions (linked to each area) to provide guidance as to what you can reflect upon.

The areas you are expected to reflect on are:

1. Research process

2. Research methodology

3. Subject expertise

4. Publication

5. Teacher training and experience

6. Conferences and seminars

7. National and international cooperation with the research community

8. Cooperation with wider society

9. Ethical issues

10. Career development

11. Supervision/supervisor

12. Administration, organisation and leadership

Support for portfolio work

Online support: Mahara.

For your portfolio work, there is an online system called Mahara, to which you log in using your LUCAT identity. A complete manual is available via a link within Mahara but we have also produced a "Mahara Quick Guide" (see right hand column) to help you to get started with your portfolio. Please note that everything you enter into Mahara is visible only to you, until you actively choose to share the information.

Portfolio workshops

A couple of times per semester, there is an opportunity to learn the basics of how to use Mahara and how to structure and build up your portfolio. In connection with this, seminars offer tips and practice in how to work with the content of your portfolio, as well as an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the portfolio with other doctoral students. These workshops are announced via email and on this page (see link in the right hand column). The purpose and general methodology of the portfolio are also presented in the PhD courses “Introduction” and “Research communication”.

Course management

Contact Olga Göransson, course director, if you have questions about the portfolio and its contents. Yvonne Hultman Özek, ICT, provides support for the Mahara tool.

For questions regarding IT support, please contact

Assessment and examination of the portfolio

  • On the occasion of the annual staff appraisal and/or when reviewing your study plan, you are to present and discuss the progress in your portfolio work with your supervisor.
  • At the half-time review, the portfolio is assessed by the two reviewers and by the assistant head of department responsible for research studies. The instructions describing how the Portfolio is assessed at the half-time review will give you as a PhD student a good idea of what your portfolio work is expected to result in. See the following document:
  • Before registering for the public defence of your thesis, you are to have received a pass grade on your portfolio from the assistant head of department responsible for research studies. To show your portfolio, you send a link to a display page to the assistant head of department responsible for research studies or you send it in the form of a pdf file. What will be assessed and examined is your own selection of reflections within each of the twelve areas. The assistant head of department for research studies then confirms the approval of the portfolio with a certificate which is to be sent to the office for research studies.

Credit value of the portfolio

The course Comprehensive Generic Skills is worth 12 credits. Using the portfolio is compulsory for doctoral students admitted as of 1 June 2008.

For those admitted before 2012-01-01

We recommend that all doctoral students work with the portfolio on the basis of the twelve areas listed above, but for doctoral students admitted before 1 January 2012, reflections within only seven of the areas described in the document “Guide - admitted before 2012-01-01” (can be found in Libguide see link in right margin) are acceptable; the credit value is then 9 credits. 


Coursedirector: Olga Göransson
Phone: 046-222 95 52,

Examinator: Assistant head of department 

olga goeransson

Support portfolio-work in Mahara:
Yvonne Hultman Özek
Phone: 046-222 33 29

IT support Mahara:


Supporting documents regarding the content of the portfolio and the web tool Mahara, please see the below link;


researcher crc labwork
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