Planning, undertaking and completing a research project – from dissertations to presentations - can be a daunting undertaking for any student, involving a number of easily taken mis-steps for those without adequate guidance.
The objective of any research project is to gather data, analyse it based on your research question and present your findings and conclusions. For students, having the right approach to these steps can mean the difference between an easily handled process resulting in a well argued and presented project, or panicked flailing, misdirection and confusion.
For those fearful of not getting enough research done, doing it the wrong way, putting it together incorrectly, or unsure of what the end result will be, then Understanding Research is an invaluable guide to getting it right and putting fears to bed.
Successfully completing a research project is a major milestone in most university degrees, and it should be daunting – although not unassailable. This book provides students with the guidance necessary to start, undertake and present their research project in social science or the humanities.
This text addresses:
Focussed explicitly on the needs and experiences of students and including a wealth of practical tips, this work is an essential resource for all students embarking on a research project.
Understanding Research includes:
"It is a must read for research students confronting a thesis and students undertaking a final dissertation project. They will find this a useful text arming them the questions to ask and how to answer during the research process. It also provides supervisors innovative ways of engaging students in the research process." - Susan Banducci, University of Exeter
"It's an outstanding book and of enormous help to researchers and academics." - Tim Crook, Goldsmiths, University of London
"An indispensable part of a researcher's toolkit. This book thoughtfully and comprehensively tackles all of the thorny issues encountered in a research project. From proposal to design and implementation to analysis, this book confidently walks readers through the process and the stakes of 'doing' research. " - Zeena Feldman, City University, London
"An extremely useful and engaging resource for the researcher in both theoretical and pragmatic terms. Navigates through complex issues with refreshing clarity and wit. Highly recommended for research methods courses, but also a good read for newer and more established scholars alike." - Robert Bodle, College of Mount St. Joseph, USA.
1. Introduction: Aims & Objectives; Who Should Read This Book; Using this Book in Context; What is academic research?; On Divides Real & Imagined; Key Concepts and their various uses; Chapter Organization.
PART I – Divides & Designs
2. Putting Research into Perspective: Introduction; Key Elements of a Research Project; Looking Ahead: Milestones, Destinations, & Expectations; What is a Dissertation/Thesis?; What is a Research Proposal/Outline?; What is Originality?; Getting Started - Deciding a Topic; Theory and Method - Of Carts and Horses; Concluding Comments.
3. Research in Practice: First Steps in Project Design: Introduction; Main Stages in a Research Project; Work-Plans & Proposals; From Research Topic to Research Question or Hypothesis; On Science, Worldviews, and other Brainteasers; Other Practical Matters; Recognizing and Setting Your Limits;Research Ethics and Codes of Practice: More than ticking boxes;The Supervisory Relationship; Methodological Coping Strategies - Plotting a Course; Concluding Comments.
4. The Politics of Research: Living with Your Choices: Introduction; Doing Research Today: Location, Location, Location; Literature Searches and the Literature Review; Historical & Philosophical Note; Purpose and Categories of literature reviews; Practicalities; Pitfalls; Rules of Thumb; Process & Product; Finding the literature; the web or library?; Sources & Resources that matter; Acknowledging Sources; What is plagiarism?; Research Communities & (Multiple) Disciplinary Identities; Concluding Comments.
5. Internet Research Skills & Online Research: Introduction; Setting the record straight; Back the Future: A Quick Prequel; The Internet as resource; Online data-gathering & analysis & Digital Tools;Online Research: Fields, Relationships, Ethics; Web-Analysis: Sites, maps, and hypertexts; Summing up.
PART II – Coping & Communicating
6. Doing Research - Gathering Data: Introduction to Part Two; Chapter Aims and Organization; Data-Gathering Techniques - Review; Surveys & Questionnaires; Interviews; Focus Groups; Ethnographic Fieldwork & Participant-Observation; Summing Up - Repositioning the Divide.
7. Doing Research - Analysing Findings: Introduction; What is analysis?; Working with Texts - Content Analysis, Textual/Visual Analysis, Discourse Analysis, Deductive and Inductive Paths to Knowledge; Behaviouralism & its Discontents; Data-Analysis as Process and Product; Concluding Comments.
8. Writing it All Up and Going Public: Introduction; What is academic writing?; Writing Formalities - Citation & Styles Guides; Feedback - Examinations & Going Public; Procrastination and Prevarications; Coping and Moving On - Creatively; Revising and Editing – what to look for; The Final Cut - What to remember.
9. In Conclusion: Reappraising Divides Imagined and Real; To the Exit and Afterlife of a Research Project.