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Table Of Contents

Why and how to use this book
Why use this book?
How and why the book can help, whatever your degree programme
How and why the book can help in your topic and discipline
How and why the book can help outside the United Kingdom
The best order to work through the chapters
What the book does and does not do
What else should you know?
Exploring routes, opportunities and funding
The profusion of postgraduate awards
Credit rating at postgraduate level
Modes of postgraduate registration
Fees and sources of funding
Choosing the type of course or programme
Is postgraduate research right for you?
Making a short list of possible institutions
Towards a research topic
The importance of pre-registration groundwork
Using waiting time constructively
Producing the research proposal
The requirement to write one’s own research proposal
How the research proposal helps everyone concerned
The limitations of a research proposal
Essential elements of a research proposal
Fleshing out the research proposal
Putting boundaries on the research proposal
The writing style of the research proposal
Issues of time when preparing a research proposal
Adapting the proposal to apply for a small grant or other funds
Settling in and taking stock
The importance of settling in quickly
Using induction events profitably
Taking advantage of ‘office’ facilities on-campus
Setting yourself up with office facilities off-campus
Getting to know the academic staff
Getting to know the people in the ‘community’
Getting to know how things work in the department
Using public and other libraries
Identifying national and international sources of support
Interacting with supervisors
The importance of student–supervisor relationships
The composition of supervisory teams
Points to watch for with team supervision
Roles and responsibilities of supervisors and students
The developing nature of supervision
Arranging meetings with a supervisor
Making the most of meetings with supervisors
Keeping records of meetings with supervisors
Asking a supervisor for feedback and advice
Responding to feedback and criticism from a supervisor
Handling dissatisfaction with supervision
Reading round the subject: working procedures
Why the work of others is important
Identifying and accessing relevant material
Reading purposefully and effectively
Bibliographic management software
Systems and styles for citing sources
Using literature in your own work
Implications for a ‘Literature survey/Review’
Reading round the subject: evaluating quality
The importance of being able to evaluate the work of others
Issues to consider when evaluating the work of others
How do they use research methodologies?
How do they use literature?
What is their claim for original work?
What is their claim for significant work?
What is their claim for the reliability of their work?
What is their claim for the validity of their work?
The nature of ‘truth’: research paradigms and frameworks
The ‘traditional’ research paradigm
The ‘interpretivist’ research paradigm
The benchmark for quality
Where next?
Handling ethical issues
The place of ethics in research
Towards an ethical research proposal
Getting the research proposal approved for ethical considerations
The ethics of ownership in research: conflicts of interest
The ethics of ownership of the work of others: plagiarism
Avoiding ‘unintentional’ plagiarism
What to do if you meet malpractice and fraud
Subject-specific ethical guidelines
Managing influences of personal circumstances
The influences of personal circumstances and the need to adjust
The full-time/part-time divide
Being a ‘mature’ student
Working away from the institution
Undertaking research with or for an outside organization
Staff or student status?
Fitting research into and around other paid employment
Handling effects on family life
Handling effects of living accommodation
Coping with disability
Handling illness, financial difficulties and other emergencies
Funding issues and their implications
Timing the application
The challenge of working in another language
The challenge of thinking independently
Other possible challenges
Managing your skills development
The importance of skills
The characteristics of a skill
The process of becoming skilled
The transferability of skills
Recognizing the skills that you will develop in your own research
A do-it-yourself training needs analysis/skills audit
The joint statement on skills by the UK Research Councils
Collecting and using evidence to demonstrate skills proficiency
Locating suitable training
‘Personal development planning’ (PDP)
The place of PDP in formal assessment processes
Planning out the work
The value of working to a plan
Planning in the long/short term
The project management approach to planning
The critical path approach to planning
Developing a style of plan for your own use
Identifying what is to go into a plan
Planning extended work on location
Coping with things not going according to plan
Abandoning a plan
Getting into a productive routine
The importance of a productive routine
Keeping records of ongoing work
Finding out where your time goes
Matching the task to the time-slot
Handling interruptions
Coping with information overload
Managing time at home with partners and family
Managing time at the computer and on the Internet
Attending training
Using departmental research seminars
Networking and serendipity
Keeping ‘office hours’ versus using the ‘psychological moment’
Keeping ‘office hours’ versus keeping going for hours at a time
Matching your approach to your preferred learning style
Using music to manage yourself
Directing your research to suit your personal needs and preferences
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Being realistic with yourself
Cooperating with others for mutual support
The importance of mutual help and support
Receiving advice, feedback and criticism
Accepting or rejecting advice, feedback and criticism
The rights and wrongs of using help from other people
Looking after one’s intellectual property when helping other people
Supporting and getting support from other students
Getting advice from academics in the department
Soliciting help from experts in other institutions
Getting support from family and friends
Getting support from colleagues in the workplace
Giving advice, feedback and criticism
Using basic word processing features to aid structuring
Constructing the final paragraph for effective closure of the report
Citing literature
Adding figures and tables
Adding appendices
Developing an academic writing style
Making the writing process more effective and efficient
Capitalizing on all the features of word processing software
Using reports to get feedback and advice
Towards writing the thesis
Giving presentations on your work
The value of giving presentations
Identifying the purposes of a presentation
Developing the content of a presentation
Developing the structure of a presentation
Developing visual aids/using computer-aided presentation
Things to think about at the rehearsal stage
Drumming up attendance for a departmental seminar
Giving a conference presentation
Giving other types of presentation
Transferring registration from MPhil to PhD
Why the MPhil/PhD transfer is such a significant landmark
The mechanisms for the transfer
When to apply for the transfer
Preparing the case for the transfer
Writing the transfer document
Handling the outcome
Towards producing a journal article
Coming to terms with originality in research
The need for originality in research
Originality in tools, techniques and procedures
Originality in exploring the unknown/unexplored
Originality in exploring the unanticipated
Originality in data
Originality in transfer of mode or place of use
Originality in byproducts
Originality in the experience
Originality as ‘potentially publishable’
The variety of interpretations and configurations of originality
The balance between originality and conformity
Protecting the ownership of original work
Putting originality into perspective
Developing ideas through creative thinking
The importance of creative thinking in research
Recognizing how intellectual creativity works
Techniques to facilitate creative thinking
Talking things over
Keeping an open mind
Negative brainstorming
Viewing a problem from imaginative perspectives
Concentrating on anomalies
Focusing on byproducts
Interrogating imaginary experts
Viewing the problem from the perspective of another discipline
Using ‘the solution looking for the problem’: serendipity
Using mind maps
Creativity and free time
Testing out the techniques
Creativity and routine work
Creativity and planning
Keeping going when you feel like giving up
Understanding and coping with loss of motivation
Lacking a sense of direction
Feeling overwhelmed by the quantity of work ahead
Aiming for perfection
Worrying about being pipped at the post
Feeling disorganized
Losing interest, becoming bored and getting depressed
Interacting ineffectually with associates
Everything seeming to go wrong
Frustrated at the difficulties of part-time study
Facing a time-consuming emergency
Feeling stressed and unable to cope
Wanting to get on with the next stage of life
Not wanting to get on with the next stage of life
Other possible reasons
Job seeking
When to start looking for a job and when to start the job itself
Finding out the type of job you are suited to
The influence of the research topic on employment prospects
Where to look for vacancies
Impressing at the interview
Producing the thesis
The importance of the thesis
Orientating yourself for the task ahead
Developing a framework of chapters
Developing the content of a chapter
Sequencing the content within a chapter
Linking chapters into one or more storylines
Cross-referencing in the thesis
The writing process
Producing the abstract
Presenting the thesis in accordance with institutional requirements
Handling the oral/viva/ thesis defence
The form of the PhD/MPhil examinations
Submitting the thesis for the examination
The importance of the viva/oral examination/thesis defence
How orals/vivas are conducted
Preparing yourself for your oral/viva
Setting up tokens of appreciation
Dressing for the oral/viva
Conducting yourself in the oral/viva
Preparing for the result
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The Research Student's Guide to Success

The Research Student's Guide to Success

Ratings: (0)|Views: 966|Likes:
Published by John Vardakis

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Published by: John Vardakis on Aug 16, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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