Throwback Thursday: Doing your Research and Keeping on Track

This post from Dr Jennie Billot first appeared here on ThesisLink in 2012.

The challenge of clearly defining the research topic and planning the study is done and dusted. The approvals to go ahead are on the desk and now the research truly begins. Getting started on the research can seem a daunting task, especially when there are likely to be unknown hurdles,  but if the project is well scoped and designed then it should go to plan…shouldn’t it? Nevertheless, it is an exciting prospect and there are plenty of places to access advice and support.

Here are some basic hints to keep you on track:

  1. At all times keep the research question in front of you. It will guide you in the right direction and   remind you that you need to eventually answer it.
  2. Identify the skills you need to support your researching. What could you do to improve the way you work? Take up the offers of workshops and events that help you develop listening and thinking skills, as well as your ability to critique the theories that you read.
  3. Plan schedules of work so that you manage your time well. You DO need breaks but they shouldn’t be greater than the research!
  4. Time management doesn’t mean being inflexible, it means that you work more effectively.
  5. Ask for help when you need it, either from your supervisor or through the university support network.
  6. Keep focused!


About Anaise Irvine

Dr Anaise Irvine is the Editor of Thesislink and leads the Researcher Education and Development team at Auckland University of Technology. Her PhD research analysed how contemporary films and novels represent genetic engineering as a social justice issue. These days she works with researchers at all levels to improve their research skills, and the most obscure of her own research skills is being able to turn novels into phylogenetic trees!

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