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Harnessing your curiosity to develop an academic research project

Chris Fuller, Learn with US Transition Leader at the University of Southampton, talks about the ‘Developing Your Research Project’ MOOC before its first of two runs starts this year on 7 July (the second run begins on 15 September).

Academic Research Project

What? Who? Why? What are the long and short term causes? What about the consequences – who benefits and who loses? What does it mean? What is the solution? If you find yourself asking questions like these at any point then it’s a sign you have a curious disposition, and that this course could be for you.

As university researchers, this sort of mind-set is the lifeblood of our day to day work.  We seek to ask the pertinent questions, and to provide the necessary answers. Whether it’s the history of how something came to be, the politics that underwrite the situation or the scientific advancements which may address the challenges the situation presents, academic research is the method that allows our society to progress.

But good academic research isn’t easy, and it’s not something one can just do without some focus and training. There are rules, methods and approaches which help separate a solid, critical academic argument from someone’s online rant or biased polemic.

Our free online course aims to provide its participants with the basics of that training, and to help its members harness their curiosity so that they can focus their passions and interests into credible, reliable and evidence-based arguments. If you’re a student considering undertaking an EPQs, IB extended essay or any sort of academic coursework, a supervisor looking to support someone else in this pursuit, or an independent scholar keen to develop their own academic project, this course will help. It’s broken down into weekly, bite–sized one hour chunks so that it can be undertaken alongside whatever commitments you already have, and the material will be available for you to come back to at any point in the academic year.

The course covers all the necessary basics to get going with academic research from how to choose initial research questions and a suitable title, to how to undertake and record your research. It will also provide hints and tips on writing up essays and presenting your findings to your peers. You’ll have the opportunity to share your ideas and proposals with like-minded researchers from all over the world, as well as passing on and receiving guidance on where to find sources, books, online materials etc.

So, join our online community of like-minded, curious researchers. Let us know the sort of thing you’re interested in researching on Twitter using #FLcuriosity, and we’ll do our best to provide you with the skills and methods to harness that curiosity to make a solid, academic case.  

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