Approaches to research: make sure all the research/reading benefit the outcome of your project, no pointless research. What are you going to research and how? what methodology?
quantitative vs qualitative
quantitative - statistical data, numerical results, how audience react to it
qualitative - theory, philosophical
what sort of data do you want to get?
action research - reflective practice
planning the project:
organised, clear and detailed project plan
- write down all questions that you want to investigate
- consider each on their merits and focus on two (primary and secondary) one question or theme, one secondary theme or question if research doesn't yield the research you want
- write an A4 'first thoughts' sheet for each
- what is the purpose of the study? is your question researchable?
- decide on a working title
- consider timing
- deadline - 12 weeks today
- consider holidays / work / life
- week by week plan!
- think about your working title and the different component parts that needed researching
- allocate timings to each
- draw up a project outline based on the above
- allow generous time for initial reading and writing up
- factor in tutorials
literature search and review
- reading takes more time than you think
- how much can you actually read in 100 hours?
- start by trying to find out all key texts on your chosen topic
- focus your reading based on an initial assessment of this survey
- find key texts and plan time to read these
- find secondary sources / criticisms of key texts (triangulation) using sources to cross references and critique each other
- use journals (www.jstor.org)
grid: organise research, harvard reference from the start
harvard reference/key concepts/comments/applications and questions
- reference properly and digitally straight away, start compiling a bibliography
- include all details (name, forename, date, place, publisher, page)
- is a questionnaire the best way of investigating your topic? if so, begin to word questions and discuss with your supervisor
- avoid ambiguity, imprecision or assumption
- also avoid double, leading, presuming or offensive questions - don't ask questions that lead to other questions
- question type? structure
- think about format/appearance
- always pilot your questionnaire
- decide on sample size
- specify a return deadline (factor this into your project outline)
- record responses as soon as complete
- is an interview the best way of investigating your topic?
- if so, begin to word questions and discuss with your supervisor
- structured or unstructured interview?
- how will you analyse questions?
- watch for bias
- plan the interview / prepare the room
- introduce yourself
- tape record the interview (permission required)
- agree the accuracy of notes with the interviewee
- is observing the best way of investigating your topic?
- decide exactly what you want to know
- participant/non-participant observation
- request permission to observe
- prepare and plan observation carefully
- devise a suitable grid, checklist or chart
critical diaries / reflective logs
- make sure you are clear about the purpose
- be disciplined - regularly update a personal diary or offer clear guideline / deadlines for second party diaries
- dont procrastinate
- plan research methods carefully
- select the most appropriate research methods for the project
- complete an ethics self assessment
- complete an extensive literature review
- document all stages of the process carefully
- produce a detailed project outline, with timings and stick to it
- get the most from your supervision