A practical, step-by-step guide to postgraduate study, covering the whole research process from planning to writing up and beyond.
Undertaking a large-scale original research project involves choosing an appropriate topic, planning and carrying out the research, and analysing and writing up the data and conclusions. At PhD level, these steps can be challenging for any student. Using the tried-and-tested approach, style and pedagogy of the Smarter Student series, this text delivers timely, practical, hands-on guidance based on real-life experience from students and supervisors alike.
The book guides the student through all of the key aspects of being a researcher and delivering a successful PhD thesis. It is an invaluable tutorial and reference for those entering academic life at doctoral level, providing practical guidance, examples and tips for success.
Jonathan Weyers and Kathleen McMillan both work at the University of Dundee. Both have been teaching and lecturing for over 25 years and latterly have specialised in the transferable skills area. They have a track record of collaborative writing and achievement in this area.
Introduction 1. Taking on postgraduate studies - preliminary considerations 2. Principles of postgraduateness - how to approach study at this new level Getting started 3. Identifying and framing research questions - how to set targets and formulate hypotheses 4. Writing a proposal or research plan - how to outline your approach to postgraduate study Key research skills 5. Developing as a researcher - appraising your skills and gaining proficiency 6. Planning and time management - how to complete your research and write up on time 7. Information literacy for PhD study - how to find relevant source material 8. Accessing content from the literature - how to read and evaluate research publications 9. Organising research materials - how to collect and file information and details of references Interactions with others during a research programme 10. Student-supervisor relationships - how to make the most of this important collaboration 11. Dealing with the highs and lows of being a postgraduate - how to respond positively to events and feelings 12. Working in a research team - how to balance research cooperation and autonomy 13. Teaching as a postgraduate - how to make the most of opportunities to tutor, demonstrate and lecture 14. Giving a research seminar or paper - how to deliver an effective spoken presentation 15. Preparing and presenting a poster - how to summarise and communicate your findings 16. Being appraised - how to respond to progress monitoring and other feedback on your work Research Methods 17. Critical thinking - how to apply method to arrive at valid, original ideas 18. Arriving at a position and supporting it - how to sift fact and opinion and express your conclusions 19. Research ethics and safety - how to conduct an appropriate, principled and safe investigation 20. Referencing, citing and avoiding plagiarism - how to refer appropriately to the results and ideas of others 21. Interpreting and presenting data - how to understand and produce graphs, tables and basic statistics 22. Aspects of qualitative research - how to obtain and analyse non-numerical information 23. Aspects of quantitative research - how to obtain and analyse numerical data 24. Experiments and field studies - how to design and conduct lab and field investigations Writing up your research 25. Links between research, writing and speaking - how to gain from the interactions between investigation, communication and thought 26. The nature of scholarly writing - how to produce formal writing at PhD level 27. Scholarly writing style - how to construct effective academic text 28. Elements of a thesis - how to write up the different sections 29. Becoming an autonomous writer - how to take control of the writing process 30. Thesis presentation - how to submit your work in the appropriate manner Examination and beyond 31. The PhD viva - how to prepare for and perform in your oral exam 32. Publishing your research - how to write and submit a successful paper 33. After your doctorate - how to make appropriate use of your qualification