PG Politics and History Dissertation workshop
Monica Fernandes, Academic Skills Advisor
Objective • What is your thesis statement – How is this related to your research question?
• Explore the different types of research methodology • Understand where all you can look to find your research • How to evaluate your sources • Managing your project – Learn tips to help you organise your work
• Software that might help with your dissertation
Be clear • What is the difference between the thesis statement and research question? Thesis statement
This is the claim you’ll be making in your work
This is the main question that will help you answer/ support that claim
Clearly indicated in the beginning of your essay
Answered throughout the body of your work
Open ended question about the topic you’re going to discuss
For example: • Assignment Q: What role does globalisation play in modern day realism in 21st century? • Thesis statement: Globalisation is related to realism in the 21st century as it encourages further communication and networking between states, further protecting their interests. • Research question: What is the relationship between globalisation and realism?
What is the method youâ€™re going to use to support your thesis statement?
Types of research methods 1. Library research – Historical and archival data
2. Field research – – – –
Interviews- group, individual or telephonic; Surveys or questionnaires, Observations Case study
3. Laboratory research – Experimental
Quick think â€˘ What methods have you used/ do you intend on using for your work and why?
Findings • It is OK if findings aren’t what expected – in fact this can be more exciting • Remember to be open to different outcomes – research is about being objective and critical • Explore what your data tells you even if it is different to what you expected – you could be on the verge of something ground-breaking
Where are you looking for your research? • Library/ libraries? – SCONUL access
• Archives – British Archives, SOAS, Brunel, etc
• Journals- electronic and hard copies • Networking and contacts • Conferences, conference papers and other events
How are you evaluating your sources? • Are you being critical? • Are you practicing both types of reading: – Selective • Relevant sources
– Effective • Taking notes while reading
• Think about how you are going to use your sources in your work • What evidence will you use in your work? • How will this be integrated into your work? • How will you develop your academic opinion?
Manage your time wellâ€Ś
Organise your time There are 168 hours a week. If you sleep for 56, and study for 35 you still haveâ€Ś
Create a timetable with your goals Work backwards from your deadlineâ€Ś Task
Chapter 2 done
24 March- 3 April
Chapter 1 done
7- 21 March
Work on lit. review
28 Feb- 7 March
Create outline/ essay plan
Review argument and thesis statement Specific reading done for essay
6- 20 Feb
General reading done
23 Jan- 5 Feb
Whatâ€™s my initial argument?
Create a timetable â€“ Gantt Chart example
Source: http://aqsadigitalmedia.blogspot.co.uk/ (accessed 5/11/13)
How will you organise your research? • Create a system to record your work Use filing cards
Notebooks Colour coded filing Create a database in excel…
“Olive Schreiner and the Women’s Vote”, Searchlight South Africa, Vol. 3 (3), 1993, pp. 30-34
Through Schreiner’s work, women were forced to question their political role in society.
Primary sources from letters, diary entries and her novels.
Use software to help you organise your research – Centralise ALL your research with • • • •
Evernote; Simplenote and Googlenotes Endnote (pricey)
– Mind mapping software • Inspiration • Xmind
– Bibliography• • • • •
Ref Works Mendeley Endnote Microsoft Word Zotero
Summary • Be clear on your thesis statement and the research question • Be clear on the research method/ methods you are using • Manage your time well so you can manage your research • Organise your research – You could use a lot of software to assist you with you
Next sessions with me • 18 Feb- looking at proposals • 25 Feb- academic writing in your work
Contact details •
PH Consultation times at MJ 234: – Tuesday and Thursday 15:00-16:30
Visit ASK appointments: – Monday- Friday 1-3 pm – Tuesday and Thursday evenings 5-6 pm (during term time) – Book online for these appointments at: http://libcalendar.brunel.ac.uk/booking/ask