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Planning and Managing the project Nigel King University of Huddersfield.

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Presentation on theme: "Planning and Managing the project Nigel King University of Huddersfield."— Presentation transcript:

1 Planning and Managing the project Nigel King University of Huddersfield

2 Thanks to Siobhan Hugh-Jones and Kathy Kinmond for contributing material for this presentation

3 Outline Choosing a research topic Developing a research question Ethical issues Planning The supervisory relationship

4 Identifying a research topic Students need to ask themselves: Is there something about which I am passionate? Is there relevant literature on the topic? Can the topic be researched at undergraduate level? ACTIVITY: In small groups spend 5 minutes discussing what might make a topic inappropriate for an undergraduate qualitative project

5 Warning signs re research topics Not well-suited to qualitative approach Practical difficulties in researching at UG level – e.g. highly sensitive, difficult to access participants, highly complex Does not fit with institutional constraints on project module – e.g. time available, compulsory milestones ???

6 Developing the research question ACTIVITY: Consider the following questions. Would you be happy with these for an undergraduate qualitative project? How could you change any you’re not happy with to make them more appropriate? Discuss for 15 minutes. – What is the experience of living with diabetes? – Do children sent to day-care have problems? – Are girls more affected by magazine images of ‘perfect’ bodies than boys? – How do football fans using online message boards account for their team’s poor performance?

7 A strong research question should.... Be as specific as possible about the sample Pass the ‘so what?’ test Be coherent with the methodological approach taken Be concerned with meaning/experience, rather than cause and effect Others?

8 Key ethical principles Need to ensure students cover key ethical principles: Informed consent Confidentiality Avoiding harm Use of deception Right to withdraw Identify particular issues re. these for qualitative research

9 Ensure students are aware of and help them negotiate institutional ethical procedures – And where appropriate external ethics procedures Emphasise that ethics is not a hoop to be jumped but should inform their practice throughout the project – Take opportunities to highlight this in course of project See chapters on ethics and qualitative research in Forrester (ed.) (2010) and Sullivan, Gibson and Riley (eds.) (2012)

10 Planning a final year project ACTIVITY: In small groups spend 15 minutes discussing the question assigned to you from those below 1.Why does planning matter? Can a project evolve? Should students be forced to plan? 2.What are students typically worried about at: project start? when the project is underway? project end? 3.What do students typically underestimate in conducting qualitative projects?

11 Types of planning Conceptual and practical planning Conceptual planning relates to the academic coherency of the work.

12 Conceptual planning What are my research question(s)? Why is my study important? What has been done before? What are the gaps in the literature that my project will address? What research method will best let me answer my research question(s)? Who are my participants and what is my recruitment strategy? Or in the case of already existing data, what is my data corpus?

13 Practical planning What deadlines does the student need to meet? What work needs doing to meet each of these? Is it dependent on anyone else? – E.g. permissions to access participants, technical assistance, loan of equipment Planning tools may be useful – e.g. Gannt Charts – But note that qualitative projects are often less linear in how they progress than quantitative

14 Project needs Planning should include consideration of information, support and resource needs. NeedsAboutWho / what supports the need Student aware of need at start of project? Information needs Literature Appling for ethical approval Data collection Method of analysis etc Library Supervisors & handbook etc Support needsDeciding on RQ Developing method of data collection Technical support etc etc Resources needsIntroductory texts on methods? Training in interview methods? Audio recording equipment etc etc

15 Planning the method What should students consider? – What methods have been used in previous, similar studies? – Is it appropriate to reproduce or challenge them? – What other methods do they know about and what are their potential uses? – What resources do these different methods require (including time) and do they have access to them? – What is their access to suitable participants?

16 The student-supervisor relationship ACTIVITY: In small groups spend 10 minutes discussing the question assigned to you from those below: 1.What should your students expect from you as a supervisor? 2.What should you expect from your students as a supervisor? 3.What can you do as supervisor to really mess up your students’ projects?

17 The supervisor’s side of the bargain How often will you meet? How long will meetings last? Will you be available outside of scheduled meeting times? If so, how? What level of comment will you give on drafts of the dissertation? How much notice do you need to comment on draft material?

18 The student’s side of the bargain Turn up on time Give good notice of inability to attend a scheduled meeting Send material to be read by the supervisor in accordance with agreed deadlines Let the supervisor know of problems that might affect the project as early as possible Make notes during/after meetings of what you’ve agreed to do

19 How to be a really bad supervisor Disengaging – Don’t bother remembering what the project is about, or where the student is up to in it – Give vague generic advice – Fail to read work you asked them to send you Over-controlling – Tell the student exactly what to research and how – Set the timetable without consulting the student

20 Uninformed – If a student is using an approach or method with which you are unfamiliar, don’t bother learning anything about it… – …or asking for help from a colleague who does know about it Intellectually dishonest – Use your students as unpaid and unacknowledged research assistants – If it turns out well, publish their work as your own

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