Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsA successful academic research project starts with a vision, a vision to develop the solution to an existing problem or an exploration of an existing problem in order to bridge a knowledge gap. It is an opportunity to be creative, expressive and decisive. You will decide on what you will be researching, how you will design your research and how the solution will be sculpted. You will begin by identifying a topic and exploring your curiosity by reading around the wider area of interest until you find a specific subject for your research. Your topic may change throughout the research process, however, your enthusiasm and passion in your chosen topic is paramount to the overall success.
Skip to 0 minutes and 54 secondsMoving on, you will start by identifying the type of data to be collected, the various sources for your data and how you will collect data from these sources. Research is then streamlined by identifying appropriate methods of data collection and verifiable sources of information. Your final piece will then culminate into a dataset which needs to be analysed. An understanding of how the results are to be used to drive solutions to your research is also important just as the implications of your results to policy and practice. Above all, justifying every decision taken at the different steps in the research process is essential to the success of your project.
Starting an academic research project
Starting academic research is synonymous to starting any other project. Preparation and planning are the foundations of quality research.
In the video Dr Daisy Nwaozuzu reveals how to execute a successful academic research project.
Preparation should include analysis around your topic of interest involving information gathering and access to verifiable sources of information. These preliminary sources should be analysed and reflected upon to justify the decisions taken at the different steps in the research process.
This process allows you, the researcher, to develop your own ideas, explore your curiosity, choose valid sources of data, decide on the type of data to be collected and choose how to collect it. Importantly, too, you will think about how you analyse the data collected and what to make out of the results.
Your research should aim to either solve an existing problem or close a knowledge gap. You should read widely around your topic area and make sure you identify an area that needs further research.
From your reading, you will identify a topic of interest. It should be something that you are enthused and passionate about. It is also an expectation that your topic might evolve and change before the final conclusion.
Having watched the video, think again about the research question that you identified in Week 1. Is it still the same or has your thinking evolved?
Don’t forget to capture your thinking in your learning log or portfolio.