You will be encouraged to develop a discipline of questioning and to critique the validity of ideas on the basis of evidence.
This will help you to develop your own intellectual agenda and values. It is a remarkably valuable skill.
A key attribute of The Sheffield Graduate is to be a critical, analytical and creative thinker; another is to be a skilled and ethical researcher. together, these attributes underpin methods of working that help you to develop confidence, value different perspectives and cultures, gain independence, operate professionally and be adaptable. these are all transferrable skills that open many opportunities for you.
Learning to think critically
This means supporting your ideas with evidence and analysis and questioning facts or opinions to arrive at a view that is well-considered.
“I think that now I can critically look at everyday stuff…. For example, when I walk to the City Hall there is a tank [fountain]. My friend asked me, ‘why can’t it have fish in it?’ I was able to explain to her in many ways why not: weather, flow of people, location….. This is quite a skill, to be able to analyse and think what the process is behind the idea.” – International Undergraduate student
Having a coherent work process allows you and others to test the validity of your ideas. It also allows you to apply successful working methods to many different situations.
“In China you are always expected to design something modern and iconic; here, it’s something logical. Even if it’s simple, the process is the most important factor.” – International Postgraduate student
“The whole point is getting there, not the final thing….Tutors are looking for you to expand the brief, and I would encourage [new students] to think beyond the piece of paper.” – 2nd Year student
Adapting to new ways of working
Adapting to new ways of working can be difficult at first but it is a valuable means of gaining new skills and perspectives from the expertise within the department.
“Here, there is no wrong or right – there is just better. It is a process of growth; you have to go through it, and you will gain information and knowledge.” – International Postgraduate student
“It’s good how tutors swap around for reviews – you gain different opinions.” – International Postgraduate student
Dealing with changing opinions and agendas
You may receive conflicting views on how you might develop your work. Learning to balance and rationalise these views is an important skill and helps you towards independence.
“You can’t please everybody, so how can you get a balance?” – 1st Year student
“It takes confidence to pursue your ideas and what interests you….” – MArch student