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Survival Strategies for Graduate Research Fran Shaver and Bill Reimer Concordia University Workshop 1 – Graduate Research Excursions in Sociology & Anthropology.

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Presentation on theme: "Survival Strategies for Graduate Research Fran Shaver and Bill Reimer Concordia University Workshop 1 – Graduate Research Excursions in Sociology & Anthropology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Survival Strategies for Graduate Research Fran Shaver and Bill Reimer Concordia University Workshop 1 – Graduate Research Excursions in Sociology & Anthropology 6 th Annual Conference SAGSA, Concordia University March 24, 2007

2 Options Developing & completing a research topic Developing & completing a research topic Planning, implementing your graduate career Planning, implementing your graduate career Finding, integrating, participating in research projects Finding, integrating, participating in research projects End

3 Developing / Completing Research Topics Bill Reimer March 24, 2007

4 Start with YOUR interest A passion Environment, cars, clothes, war, money A frustration Jobs, a friend, a disease, a course An enduring question Love, peace, poverty, prejudice An impending challenge Graduation, travel, marriage, rents

5 Brainstorming the Issues Repress the critic Write down your thoughts Start a research log Leave room for future organization Work with others Work toward questions

6 Reorganizing the Issues Nesting the questions Look for small steps to answering the big questions Revise where necessary How can we revitalize rural Canada? How can we increase employment? How get better access to services? How far is the nearest doctor? Who has the greatest need for medical services? How is population changing? What are the patterns of in-migration and out-migration to and from rural Canada? Who makes the decisions about the future of rural Canada? Whose interests are served by those decisions?

7 Think strategically In order to answer the big question, what little questions do I have to answer? Which little questions can I answer by March? Which little questions are most critical to answer?

8 Think for Yourself Avoid rhetorical questions Choose questions meaningful to YOU Will it help you decide your career? Will it help you choose a strategy for righting a wrong? Will it help a friend? Will it help you avoid a problem? Will it contribute to answering your big questions?

9 Answer the Question – Doesn’t have to be right Helps clarify the question Helps clarify strategies for answering it Clarifies biases

10 Biases are acceptable – Now Provide the motivation for research Inspire new insights Focus attention BUT – They must be considered as part of your research design

11 Being wrong is acceptable We learn more from being wrong than we do from being right Being right is “maybe”, Being wrong is “for sure” We “Support”, we don’t “Prove”

12 Developing / Completing Research Topics Bill Reimer Teaching / Tips & tools Return End

13 Planning your graduate career Key Skills & Strategies Fran Shaver and Bill Reimer Concordia University

14 Key Skills Raising the right questions Answering those questions Getting the information Critically analyzing information Communicating

15 Raising the right questions Use the literature / find out how others asked the questions Explore a variety of frameworks How to build rural capacity? Economists: capacity to generate jobs Sociologists: capacity to work together Psychologists: capacity to learn Most research  better questions

16 Answering those questions Research design & methodology Explore a wide variety of options Options = real choices Different types of questions require different approaches Analytic, normative, empirical

17 Getting the information Learn many approaches / techniques Interviewing Observing Document analysis Library Internet Census Surveys

18 Critical analysis Fundamental to learning Learn a wide range of tools Qualitative vs quantitative a false dichotomy Critical skills vital Marketable feature of your training

19 Communicating Multiple venues Written Academic Contracts (public & private) Popular Oral multimedia Commentary Policy development

20 Key Strategies Work with others Explore your environment Expand your options Apply your knowledge

21 Work with others Reading circles Brainstorming Thesis support groups Ask if you have a question

22 Explore your environment Who is working on similar topics Where is it being done Check out professors’ writings

23 Expand your options Maintain your curiosity Explore new approaches Explore new tools Explore new methods

24 Apply your knowledge To your research To your personal situation Showing interest  positive response Working together is more productive

25 Planning your graduate career Fran Shaver and Bill Reimer Teaching / Tips & Tools Return End

26 Participating in Research Projects Fran Shaver and Bill Reimer March 24, 2007

27 Research your environment Using web & department materials Identify faculty interests, publications, research projects Read their publications & websites Speak to your colleagues

28 Meet the professor Indicate your interests & status Listen Offer assistance Request permission to meet team

29 Find your angle Relate your interests to faculty interests Be flexible Be imaginative Theoretical links? Methodological links & skills? Experiential links? Strategic links? Prepare an appropriate CV

30 Meet the team Volunteer Be candid about your comfort level Decide

31 Be professional Do your research Prepare clear materials Meet dates, times, and deadlines Contact early if problems arise Be clear about your wishes

32 Participating in research projects Fran Shaver and Bill Reimer Teaching / Tips & Tools Return End

33 Survival Strategies for Graduate Research Fran Shaver and Bill Reimer Concordia University Teaching / Tips & Tools


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