Section outline

  • Hello, and welcome to 'Kickstart Your Research'! You are probably here because you are considering further study in an Honours or Masters degree, perhaps even thinking ahead to a PhD. You know that it will be quite different from your undergraduate study, and that by taking this step you are becoming a researcher. But what does being a researcher involve? And what does a thesis look like? (Let alone a good one!) In this course you will work through a number of modules designed to introduce you to higher degree research - its processes, methods, and courses of best practice. The modules are set up so you can work through them independently, though of course if you get stuck or have any questions you can email one of us for assistance. At the end of the modules you will produce a short research proposal, suitable for your application to the Honours program (and have the tools to expand it for application to a degree at a higher level). Feel free to recommend this course to others who may find it useful: ask prospective students to send us an email to be added to the course site. We hope you enjoy Kickstart Your Research! Good luck!

    • Feel free to use this space to chat to your research network about anything you like! 

    • In these modules, we're going to move through some of the most important sections and decisions you’ll need to make as you work on your thesis: the abstract, the literature review, your method and methodology, and the structure of your thesis. In order to help you do these things, you should skim through as many existing theses as you can. You can find these online in university research repositories, and you can also ask your supervisor if they have any you can borrow. You’ll examine some of the abstracts from these theses in your activities for this week. Start to get a feel for what this thing you are meant to write will actually look like.

    • What is method? And what is methodology? In this module we explore these terms and how they are a part of your research design. We will also introduce you to some common research methods and discuss qualitative and quantitative research.

    • Ann Gray offers a useful distinction between method and methodology in the introduction to this book. You may also find other parts of it useful for your project, particularly if you will be using ethnographic methods.

    • In this module we will examine the necessary components of a thesis and how to most effectively structure your project. As part of our discussion, you will look at an existing thesis, as well as propose three possible chapter structures for your own project.

    • Academic research is not conducted to be kept to ourselves. Rather, researchers must present their work in both oral and written formats in various kinds of public arenas. In this module we will workshop effective oral presentation skills, including powerpoints, the use of notes, and being a good audience member.

    • This whole book is valuable, but focus on Chapter 13, the Question and Answer session. 

    • Now you're ready to write the proposal for your Honours application! This lesson takes you through the main components of developing a research proposal. In some ways it will look similar to your overall thesis structure and that is because it defines your overall research. 

      There are some key things you need to get right at the outset if you want your thesis to be successful.