1.6 Managing research

It is vital to plan with a chart for all activity giving start and finish times. This can be done as a table on a computer or drawn up on paper. Setbacks are bound to happen, face up to them and try to address them before they turn into disasters! If a major setback or disaster does occur, remember one thing: the fact that someone has probably been there before, so through talking to supervisors and colleagues you may get advice and support. Some disasters are difficult to discuss, but it is really important you don’t push them aside; rather, concentrate on finding the right person to talk to, such as a counsellor.

Reflecting on progress (and the lessons from setbacks) is essential if you want to learn how to be a better researcher. This often takes place naturally, in quiet moments, but more and more people are coming to recognise that formally putting aside time for yourself to do this is important, and trying to encapsulate your reflections in a journal or notebook is also very valuable.

As you can see from this brief overview of the components of the research process, skills around organisation, time management, rigour and routine are necessary to conduct a research project. But there are also some higher level skills which you will need to actively develop if your research is to be effective. These include generating research questions to investigate, research design skills, triangulation and critical review of research approaches which we now consider.

1.5 Utilisation of research findings

2 Designing research questions