Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson

Learn with US Transition Leader, University of Southampton. Research Interests: political behaviour in the UK, the student experience and the value of the EPQ. Twitter: @DrEmmaThompson #FLcuriosity

Location University of Southampton


  • Fab! I look forward to seeing how you guys get on throughout the course :)

  • Hi Sayed,

    What's your project about? What research questions are you trying to answer?
    The more info I know about your project the more specific info I can give you in return, where possible!

    I always stress to people that researching their methodology is as important as researching the topic content - and we do that in exactly the same way as has been...

  • Thanks Robert, that's really helpful feedback - what's your area of research? We'd love to have some samples to show you all but it would be good to know what people would find helpful, as obviously research methods is so specific.

    I know as a political scientist there are hundreds of methods that I could use, but many won't necessarily be helpful in...

  • Hi Kathryn,

    What is your project? What research questions are you trying to answer? The more we know about people's projects, the more specific we can be with our suggestions :)

  • Yes! Do you mean like making prototypes?

  • No worries! I hope it was helpful - explaining methodologies is always so difficult as it's so specific, but I really hope this way of thinking about how to get there is somewhat helpful.

  • Sounds good to me - all depending on what you are hoping to achieve with your project, and what research questions you are trying to answer.

    I usually advise people to steer clear of questionnaires, unless you're trying to do quite a small scale project on a small scale issue. For example, in my PhD research I was interested in why people were politically...

  • Hi Kathryn,

    What kind of project are you doing and what are your research questions? Deciding on methodology is such an individual and specific thing - maybe if you tell me more about your project I might be able to suggest something?


  • Hi Eulinda, What project are you doing - and what are you research questions?

  • Welcome to both of you! Hope you really enjoy the course!

  • Hi Everyone,

    It's so lovely to see so many of you already commenting and being part of our learning community. We hope you thoroughly enjoy the course!


  • Hi Katy,

    I think the only acknowledgement is that the videos have come from this course, by myself, Dr Emma Thompson and Dr Chris Fuller from the University of Southampton. The logos come up in all the videos so this is likely to be clear anyway.

    I hope this helps!

  • Hi Rasheed, I use Harvard referencing and I wrote the quiz. What I would suggest is that you find out which referencing system you need to use and borrow a book on how to reference that style from a library or try searching for tips for it on the Internet - that should give you a little more practice and will be specific to your preferred referencing style.

  • Are you looking for an explanation of that Taghreed? It means have you given an interesting introduction that hooks the reader in and makes them want to read the rest of the piece that you have written.

  • It will all depend on what particular survey that you are looking at - any variable can effectively be weighted more than others so this is a possibility. You should refer to any notes that you have on the data as to how it may have been weighted by those who put it together and made it available to you.

    The example I gave was just that - an example, so...

  • No Problem! Hope you find the video helpful

  • No Problem Beryl, it's our pleasure

  • Emma Thompson replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    Thanks Sonja,

    Always nice to hear somebody is enjoying our hard work :)

  • I completely agree with Rob - which is why we don't have concrete examples of tools or methods anywhere within the course. Something that I find useful for my research probably won't be of value to anyone else because their research question is different. You have to research what works for your research question just as much as the content, and take a view...

  • It all depends on what you're hoping to achieve really I think. If you want a representative sample you have to make sure you have means of sampling your entire target population, which isn't always easy. You would then need to employ a specific sampling technique from that sampling frame.

    You don't always have the access to this information in which case...

  • Emma Thompson replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    You've also got stuff from the Office for National Statistics or from the ESDS/UK Data Service which is a bank for many datasets: http://ukdataservice.ac.uk/

  • Or if you are using a data set rather than data that features within an article, journal, book or website, you would acknowledge where the data has come from. If you decide to utilise someone else's data you would talk about that data in the methodology section of your write up.

  • Absolutely - whilst designing your research question and hypothesis you also need to think about what is feasible to actually investigate.

  • It means that the data has been weighed to reflect the true population. So, for example, if I wanted a proportionally representative view of the United Kingdom I would employ a sampling technique that meant that I would obtain a representative sample. However, in spite of any efforts you make to sample the right people, you still may not get a representative...

  • I have a similar experience with JSTOR - is good for older stuff, but less so for really up to date bits and pieces.

  • Exactly what Lizzie and Sonja say Alexander! Don't quote or reference wikipedia but use it as a starting point from which you can go further.

  • There's also more on referencing later on in week 6...

  • Hi Mohammed,

    I have just tried the link again and it is definitely working. It is this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlgWG10RMgg&feature=youtu.be

    Hopefully either this post or the link in the article will take you through to the video.

    Best wishes,

  • Also, to add on from Richard's point - using someone else's data is not necessarily a review of previous research at all, because you may derive different interpretations from it as Rich has pointed out by using different methods of analysis and finding out different things.

    For example, my PhD thesis used secondary data from the Hansard Society's Audit of...

  • What would make you prefer an anonymous peer review process?

    I think there's probably greater basis for an honest review if it isn't faceless. Of course you may have some difficult feedback to give in some circumstances but I think it's important that you give that feedback; own your comments. I know if I received some negative (but hopefully also...

  • Will do, thanks! :)

  • Unfortunately that isn't my area of expertise. I would suggest doing some reading around these areas of interest and some questions will emerge as you do this. From these questions you will be able to develop a research question. There's a lot more on how to do that in week two...

  • Hi Yongyuth,

    A research log is where you note down all of the things that you have looked at, all the thoughts you have developed whilst undertaking your research. It helps records everything you might forget at a later stage. It's amazing how important some of those seemingly insignificant thoughts can be!

    Good luck :)

  • Hi John,

    We hope it is! What makes you think it might not be?

    Good luck with it :)

  • Plenty more... and different types of activities that will hopefully be of use to you all!

  • Thanks Yamashita! I finally got there! Chris is now a Dr. too!

  • Hmmm...this is a difficult one. You've raised an interesting point, which I have of course, attempted to research! And I'm still not clear! I used this to look it up: http://grammarist.com/usage/lay-lie/

    I still think it reads OK based upon the fact that we are talking in the present tense. So:
    - My academic strengths lie in political science
    - My...

  • You can use this course in any way that you like - please enjoy it if you're interested in it. Of course, afterwards you may feel inspired to start researching something you have always wanted to know a little more about! We hope you enjoy it.

  • Hello everyone,

    You may know a little bit about me from the course and my profile, but I am a researcher at the University of Southampton. I have completed research projects when undertaking my BSc in Politics, MSc in Social Statistics and then again in my PhD where I combined my love of politics with the social statistics skills to do some interesting...

  • Hi Melissa,

    Hope you enjoy the course and your EPQ. Do have a look at some of the other courses on the site - they may be of interest to you or even quite good for informing your EPQ or showing on a personal statement how you are going above and beyond with your reading.

    Best wishes,

  • Thanks for your comment Janice, we work really hard to provide resources that are useful for schools and colleges. If you would like to work with us more directly please do take a look at www.southampton.ac.uk/learnwithustransition where you can find our contact details.

    Best wishes,

  • Hi Susana,

    Like i just said to Terry I would look to research something that I have a real passion or curiosity for - something that when you're wading through lots of reading it doesn't become boring - you just want to learn more and more about it.

    Good luck with it!

  • Hi Terry,

    Are you looking for support in finding a research focus? If so I always suggest to people to investigate something that makes them passionate or something they're annoyed about, or perhaps even just curious about. That's usually a good place to start.

    What interests you about computer science? What do you want to know that you don't know...

  • Hi Hussein,

    You may have an inkling as to what the outcome of your research questions will be, but it isn't essential when you start out. Of course as you start really developing what you want to look at by reading around the subject you may have a better sense of what you're going to find. The literature review that you undertake will help give you your...

  • We hope it will and I wish you all the best of luck in supervising!

  • See you in September Raymond!

  • Hi Raymond,

    Blackboard and Moodle are examples of Virtual Learning Environment. As a university we use blackboard to put documents up on for students and quite often schools/colleges (pre university education) will use a programme called Moodle to do the same.

    You are indeed correct that CV is essentially a resume, as we use the Latin "Curriculum Vitae"...

  • I would say it's good practice at any level and always worthy

  • Sounds like a reasonable method to me. I would strongly recommend exploring wider issues about nakedness/revealing clothing from other cultures so that you can be analytical using this work in thinking about Sri Lanka as your chosen example. It isn't a problem for your literature review if there is nothing specifically relating to Sri Lanka, the osari and the...

  • Hi Marie,

    We have no plans to group the feedback to areas of knowledge as learners take their course at their own pace and it would therefore be a logistical nightmare for a course of this size (we have thousands of learners). The feedback is not meant to be detailed that you receive here - mainly the opportunity to receive some thought provoking comments,...

  • Hi Eulinda,

    We would love to keep in contact and we will be able to do that via twitter - if you look for the course hashtag #FLcuriosity - we will be tweeting about that so please feel free to let us know how you are getting on.

    Best wishes,

  • Thanks Riadh, I'm so pleased you have enjoyed the course! If you're missing us desperately you can always keep in contact via twitter - you will see we are there tweeting under the course hashtag - #FLcuriosity

  • Hi there, there may be some postgraduate courses that are online. You can explore all of the postgraduate options we have here: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/uni-life/choose-southampton/postgraduate.page

  • Hi Patrick,

    I'm not sure of all the postgraduate courses that we offer, nor am I sure of if we run an online postgraduate programme either - -it will depend on your subject. You can explore the options we have here: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/uni-life/choose-southampton/postgraduate.page

    Best wishes,

  • Thanks Nino, I'm pleased you have enjoyed the course. If your friend is interested in joining the course we will be running it again starting on Monday 14th September. The link to the course is here: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/research-project (you will see the 14th September there)

  • Thank you! It's always so nice to receive positive feedback. I hope you do really well in your research project!

  • Not a problem, we are glad to be of help. I hope you enjoy continuing with your research.

  • Not a problem, it's our pleasure! I'm really thrilled you enjoyed the course.

  • Hi Carolyn,

    There's no further formal peer review in this course.

    You could always look to pursue your interest and publish something? Then your research won't gather too much dust!

    Best wishes,

  • Hi Raymond, which terms are you thinking of? I'm afraid it's difficult for me to know as I'm a UK English academic.

  • Hi Sara, I responded to this question on another of your posts, so I'll repost my answer here:

    Hi Sara,

    Biases can be anything that affects the legitimacy of your results. For example, you might have response bias, or non-response bias or researcher bias. So if you were interviewing somebody about a sensitive topic they might give you a more 'socially...

  • Hi Sara,

    Biases can be anything that affects the legitimacy of your results. For example, you might have response bias, or non-response bias or researcher bias. So if you were interviewing somebody about a sensitive topic they might give you a more 'socially responsible' or 'desirable' response than is 100% a factual answer. I'm thinking when doctors ask...

  • Have you found anything which might relate to a similar issue in a different culture, the themes of which you could apply to your own project?

  • What kind of level are you at?

  • Hi John,

    I have to say my preferred way of writing up is as I described in the video in Step 7.2. I tend to write my introduction last so that it can really set out exactly what a reader can expect from the piece.

    I have to say though I tend to write my conclusion towards the end as well - I will have a detailed plan of what I'm, planning to write, but...

  • Hi Umaru,

    You will have another chance for peer review further on in the course (week 7).

    I hope this helps.

    Best wishes,

  • @Harry - wow, that is definitely a conundrum! I have to say I have no expertise in that field and I have to say I'm not sure which option to choose between. All i would say is that you may wish to be more specific in your search, so if you're interested in meta-theory have a look at that as an approach and then apply it to political science. Sorry to not be of...

  • Hi Mohamed,

    You could try resubmitting your proposal in the same step, OR as you have correctly identified you could always copy and paste your proposal and post it as a comment asking for some feedback that way.

    Samer, I'm not sure there is such a thing as an easy book of research methodology! What is your field of research? I would suggest researching...

  • Hi Mary,

    In that case I really would recommend using a programme that would help you in doing it - that's the whole reason why I use Mendeley - to remove my propensity for making mistakes!

    Best wishes,

  • Hi Tichaona,

    The materials on the course will be available for about a year after it formally ends.

    Best wishes,

  • Hi Muhammad,

    Rest assured it is very simple - when you make a point in your write up which you know is based upon some evidence you put a citation within the text. This will take a different form depending on the style of referencing you use. For me, as a user of Harvard, I would make my point and then put in brackets (author, date, page).

    I would then...

  • Books will have an ISBN, but there are so many different types of source that a list of ISBNs is insufficient.

  • I would say you still need a reasonable amount of background reading, which you should make reference to - you want to write a credible piece wherever it is going to be published. You may just reference less so will need to be selective with the background reading you opt to unclude in your article.

  • I always felt the same and then I was won over by Mendeley - it made life SO much easier when it comes to compiling a really long list of resources. It also helps when inserting the citations within the text.

  • Yes, like Johanna said you just enter the details in manually - it still saves time compared to finding them at the end of your research project and write up.

  • Hi Clare,

    I believe there is an app called RefME - you can use it on phone or tablet and I think it is compatible with android - I know it certainly is for iOS products so may be worth a bit of a look.

    Best wishes,

  • Absolutely - i am always guided by whom or what I am writing for. For the most part I use Harvard referencing but equally I would use alternatives should they be more appropriate for journal or book chapter submission.

  • That's really interesting - whereabouts do you study? We very much tend to use Harvard referencing in social sciences here.

  • Hi Francisco, I prefer Mendeley, but that is a personal preference - I would try a few out and see which you find to be most user friendly.

  • I quite often use "ibid" where I am using a particular reference a number of times, which is an alternative way round it.

  • Hi Muhammad,

    Your question relates very much to the content of week 6, where we go through referencing techniques and some of the programmes you may wish to support you in making sure you do not breach academic integrity by plagiarising.

    Week 6 will definitely help answer your question.

    Best wishes,

  • Hi Hannah,

    Yes it will - all the people who have signed up to this course by the end of its formal run (the eight weeks) will be able to continue to have access to it for about a year. We designed it specifically with EPQ students in mind. Of course, if some of them haven't signed up, and because of the school holidays might not be able to before the end of...

  • Hi Carlos, What kind of original work are you talking about?
    If i understand your point correctly it is not only "garbage" pieces of work that need references - indeed it is often that those without references are likely to constitute the garbage!

    Good work is always original, but will be usually situated within a wider context of research which will...

  • Also Talise, we have a guide that is available in week 8 for you to download. This material will remain available for about a year after the course has formally finished. I hope this helps! :)

  • I use Mendeley, but that is a personal preference - maybe check all of them out and see which you prefer.

  • Hi Mohamed,

    I would suggest posting your proposal on a comment like this and hopefully someone will be able to give you some feedback. I don't think you need to worry about sharing your entire research paper at this stage. Obviously once it is finished and if you would like to publish it, you will research publishers who it may be appropriate for.


  • should be spent on both endeavours.

    I hope this helps and that you find a suitable method or indeed methods for analysis. Good luck!

  • Hi Yvonne,

    What is the nature of your project?

    For some people, like I pointed out in the PowerPoint video in step 4.3, the way they collect the data/sources of information may be more or less straightforward or prescribed than it is for others, but then you may well have more of a choice over the analysis of this information that you have gathered....

  • Hi there,

    Like I have said to Kira above it's really unfortunate that we cannot give more specific detail, but methods are so dependent upon the nature of the research project that it is impossible to cover them all in sufficient depth. Researching methods and methodology is a complex endeavour even within a subject area, let alone across all subjects. I am...

  • Hi Kira,

    Unfortunately, whilst it is possible to indicate to people how they can search for sources of information regardless of the subject they are interested in, it is impossible to highlight all of the methods one can use because they are so vast and subject dependent. If you follow the process in step 4.3 for deciding on methodology and incorporate...

  • Hi Hannah,

    First of all I would strongly recommend one of the other online courses from the University and Southampton as I think this may be useful to your project, but hopefully also of broader interest given what you are looking into: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/portus

    Secondly, I would suggest having a look online or in a local library, or...

  • Thanks James! I hoped to come up with something that shows that the process for thinking of methods and methodology is relatively similar whatever background you come from. I hope you're enjoying the course and, of course, your research project.

  • That's brilliant Polly, I'm pleased we're helping throughout and that you continue to enjoy the course!

  • You could go with your first option and then the second option could very nicely follow on from that and lead you onto yet another research project...! All good research leaves certain questions unanswered :) Good luck with it!

  • Hi Harry - you're asking the right person! I too am a political scientist and have taught on the research methods in politics and international relations second year course that we offer at the University of Southampton. For a comprehensive coverage of research methods in politics and IR we recommend some of the following key texts:

    Sandra Halperin and...

  • I have to say I completely agree with Marion, the exercise of peer review in this instance isn't to get expert feedback (for which you would need a supervisor who was expert within your field of research), it is simply to discuss your ideas and receive feedback on the process you have proposed.

    Unfortunately, whilst people give some indication of what...

  • I would completely agree with Justin - you release what you feel is necessary for feedback, but can leave out whatever you feel might give you a competitive edge (or whatever other reason you have for not fully disclosing all of your ideas). I would suggest if you are concerned about this to keep the specific details to yourself, or a supervisor, until you...

  • You're all absolutely right, if you want to distinguish between two competing claims you unpick the evidence they have presented and the claims they have made subsequently from that evidence. Picking a stance on anything simply requires that you justify your position well.

  • Hi Polly,

    I always found the idea of a theoretical framework very difficult to understand, and it was only once i had established my framework in my thesis that I could finally comprehend it and be able to explain it (somewhat adequately - or perhaps inadequately) to others!

    Your theoretical framework will help guide your thoughts and approach to the...

  • I would say your background reading would go in a section which in some way justifies your work - whether that is simply an interest you have or for some more in depth purpose. If you're writing a book i would suggest it might go in an introductory chapter or perhaps even preface, depending on what structure is appropriate for your work.