Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Organising Your Research Project

Doing your research project - Judith Bell - 371.3

6 to 9000 word written element and related body of practical work.


Research project to a question, which out of research will produce dissertation and work that answers the question. 


Minimum of 2 and half hours individual support on the written element of the module, in addition to support with the practical project. 


Turn up to tutorials with questions, come prepared with research, etc. 


15th January, 4pm. DEADLINE


15 weeks. 


Try to have a substantial draft submitted by Xmas. 


Cohesive research project with practical and textual outcomes. 


In-depth critical research. High quality and level of rigour in terms of critical analysis. 


Coherent written argument and related practical investigation based on analysis and evaluation.


Work undertaken will revel the students appreciation and application of research approaches and methodologies. 


Planning the Project


Aim to answer these questions before the tutorial. 

  • Write down all questions that you want to investigate (about that topic). Try and be as specific as you can at this stage. 
  • Consider each on their merits and focus on two (primary line and supporting secondary). Edit out the ones you don't think will be as interesting, useful, rewarding, etc. 
  • Change your proposal now. 
  • Write an A4 'first thoughts' sheet for each (the primary and secondary questions). Might try and answer the questions, the preconceptions you have, the ideas you have under the umbrella of these questions. 
  • What is the purpose of the study? Is your question researchable? Why do you want to do it?
  • This should lead you to a working title. Can be subtly changed. 
  • Everything you do, think back to your title, is what you are doing in some way answering the working title. 
  • Make it a question you can answer. 

Project Outline
  • Consider timing
  • Deadline - 15 weeks
  • Consider holidays/work/life
  • Try come to tutorial with this outline, very helpful. 
  • Think about your working title and the different components that need research.
  • Try add timings to each
  • Project outline based on the above
  • Allow generous time for initial reading and writing up
  • Factor in tutorials - use them as milestones

Literature Search
  • Reading takes time
  • How much can you actually read in 100 hours?
  • Start by trying to find out all key texts on chosen topic. 
  • Google, google scholar
  • Look at bibliographies of relevant texts you do find
  • Focus your reading based on an initial assessment of this survey. What do you need to read fully, what you can you read sections of, etc. 
  • Find key texts and plan time to read these 
  • Come to tutorial with a few ideas, eg. of key texts. They can tell you if these are relevant.
  • Find secondary sources/criticisms of key texts (triangulation)
  • Use journals (www.jstor.org)

Referencing
  • Start compiling a bibliography at the beginning of the project. Word doc. start writing up everything you read/pick up
  • Reference as you go. Include all details (name, forename, date, place, publisher, page)
Ethics
  • Think about the effect of research on others. Particularly if in any way your project will involve real people. Permission to use people's opinions, interviews, etc. 
  • If you are using data, that has copyright. You may need permission. 
If you have your project plan, primary and secondary questions, you need to start to thin about how you are going to research this. What particular methods you use, quantitative techniques for data and statistics, qualititative such as interview which are good for getting individual opinions on the world. Different approach methods will get different results. 

Action research - having a theory, doing something about it based on the theory, reflecting on it and then changing initial theory based on this. Cyclical process. 

Questionnaires

  • Don't always need primary research to get good grade, however more marks are awarded for primary research as it is harder to do. 
  • If going to use questionnaires, talk to supervisor about questions. 
  • Avoid ambiguity, imprecision or assumption
  • Avoid double, leading, presuming or offensive questions. 
  • Question type
  • Need a good sample size, right/good questions, 
Interviews

  • Some have structure, some don't.
  • Again begin to word these with supervisor. 
  • Is an interview best way of investigating your topic. 

Critical Diaries

  • Reflective log. 
  • Experiments in making and new processes, new techniques, etc. are forms of creative and visual practical/primary research.

DON'T PROCRASTINATE
PLAN RESEARCH METHODS CAREFULLY
SELECT MOST APPROPRIATE RESEARCH METHODS FOR PROJECT
DOCUMENT ALL STAGES OF THE PROCESS CAREFULLY
PRODUCE A DETAILED PROJECT OUTLINE, WITH TIMINGS AND STICK TO IT
GET THE MOST FROM YOUR SUPERVISION

No comments:

Post a Comment