- Postgraduate researchers
- Premia- resources for disabled researchers
- Practicalities of completing a doctorate
- At the start
- Planning your research
Planning your research
Your doctoral project may be part of an existing research project with a pre-determined research plan. You will need to know your role in this and what the milestones are, but you will not be expected to plan independently.
However, in general, particularly in social sciences, arts and humanities, from the outset of your doctoral project, you will need to:
- plan your research route
- plan how you will get there
- plan the milestones and places you will visit on the way to your destination
- decide whether you will need stopping off points
- find out where the signposts are located
- work out how to find and use the experience and guidance of others to arrive at your destination.
Planning your research should involve your supervisor closely. Supervisors are used to working with postgraduate researchers (PGRs) with differing learning styles and can provide assistance to sequentially plan the key research stages.
If planning and organising work presents particular difficulties for you because of, for example, dyslexia or dyspraxia, talk to your supervisor in early meetings about the challenges. Do not be afraid to state any difficulties you face and to ask for advice. Your supervisors are there to help you reach your destination. Some dyslexic PGRs will have no difficulties with seeing the big picture, but may benefit from the insight of others to break it into manageable chunks. Utilise the experience and expertise of others to establish effective planning strategies. For further information see the postgraduate researcher experiences within this section.
Comprehensive planning early in your research degree will pay dividends. Studies of completion rates for doctorates have shown that the eventual result is shaped by decisions made in the first few months. However, you will also find that it is difficult to say definitively where the research will lead; you will need to be flexible and ready to adapt your plans as your research progresses.