Doing your research project will give you experience of many aspects of project management, including:
Please take into account that no survey work should be carried out without prior ethical approval. The University requires ethical approval to be obtained when personal data is collected either by questionnaire or by the analysis of human samples. The issue should be discussed with your Supervisor and the appropriate forms submitted to the School or University Ethics Committee. See the Ethical Approval for more information.
The final year research project should be a rewarding experience for both the student and supervisor, with students learning much about the topic they work on, taking pride in learning how to perform research and earning ultimately a good grade for their work. Even though every attempt is made to pair a student with a supervisor of their choice, this is not possible in all cases. However, even if you do not pursue your first choice of topic, this does not mean that you will not develop the research skills to meet the learning outcomes and achieve the very highest marks of which you are capable for your research project.
Project topics are often settled after a period of negotiation between the supervisor and one or more students. Students are encouraged to develop the basic ideas that supervisors put forward, or to think of good ways to implement ideas that supervisors might have. Staff will evaluate such ideas and consider possibilities for their implementation in the light of their own expertise and may often suggest alternatives. Students should take on board the advice supervisors give.
Your supervisor will be responsible for guiding the direction of your work and for ensuring safe working. The day-to-day supervision of your work may be delegated to another member of your supervisor’s research group, if appropriate.
If you are having any problems with your supervision, then it is imperative that you let the module convenor know straight away.
Your supervisor is a valuable resource when working on your research project but they will not tell you how to do your project. You need to take charge and ‘own’ your project as you will be the one who has to stand by it and will receive the marks for it. Owning your project means being pro-active and thinking of the ideas and direction of the project yourself. This does not mean you have to do everything alone as your supervisor can give valuable advice and act as a sounding board for your ideas. Consider your supervisor’s advice carefully as they have the experience to know what is likely to work and not work in a research project.
Working with your supervisor is a partnership and you need to negotiate a way to work that suits both of you. Things to find out are:
The kinds of things that your supervisor can advise on:
Further details on what to expect from your supervisor can be found here: Supervisory Expectations
You are expected to dedicate most of the Autumn Term to working on your project. Whilst you can seek guidance from your supervisor the organisation of your project time is your responsibility. The pattern of work may be irregular. For example, you may have a very intensive period of data collection, followed by a longer period of processing and analysing it. You may also find that, at times, your progress is held up while you wait for a variety of services e.g. interlibrary loans, chemicals arriving or analyses. You will need to be flexible in your approach and show a greater degree of time management.
For lab-based projects:
For literature-based projects:
Manage the tasks associated with your project using a Gantt chart. This will:
The chart may need to be revised at each project planning meeting, in consultation with your supervisor.
Even though you've got several months in which to do your project, the time will soon go. Find tips on making the most of your time in this video from our Study Advice Team:
Be aware of your resources.
When are the people you need free to help? Respect their time!