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Posted Dec. 3, 2012

Top Tips and Tools for Easy Postgraduate Research

The first serious  research project you will most likely ever undertake will be the one you embark upon during your postgraduate study.

If you're looking for top tips and tools for easy postgraduate research then you've come to the right place.

From time management tips to essential resources you'll want to take advantage of, we've got it covered.

What is Postgraduate Research All About?

Your postgraduate research is all about demonstrating that you have the ability to contribute something original to your chosen field. You have to prove through your research findings that you have made an original contribution to knowledge - if you're unable to prove this your study will inevitably end in failure.

To be successful, your research must show two important things:

  • That you have identified a worthwhile problem or question that has not previously been addressed or answered.
  • You have solved the problem or answered the question.

Be Inclusive With Your Thinking Don't eliminate ideas too quickly by writing them off before you have identified their importance. Build on your ideas and be expansive in your thinking. Be creative and look at your ideas from new, unaddressed angles as this will help you to uncover a range of leads that could be pursued. Do not limit yourself.

Don't Be Overly Influenced By Others No matter what, don't be overly influenced by what you feel your  colleagues, professors, or academic department  expect from you. You need to choose a topic for research that you are truly passionate about. After all, you're the one who has to do all the hard work, so make sure you focus on a topic of your own choosing.

Set Realistic Goals Setting realistic goals are crucial to your research success. Don't jump the gun and assume your research is going to make your famous! Making a plan for your research schedule which has clear goals built in along the way, will help to ensure that any deadlines are well within sight from the outset.

Time Management Before embarking upon your research you should allocate a specific amount of time to all the things you propose to do. From fieldwork and conferences, to meetings with professors or even personal commitments, everything needs to be factored in. How much time you devote to each stage of your research is up to you, but a well organized time schedule will help you stay on track.

Do A Preliminary Study If you are not feeling 100% confident or have inklings of doubt surrounding your research project, then a preliminary research study in the early stages could be just the thing you need to test out some ideas and gain further confidence in what you'd like to pursue. This will give you the chance to test out whether or not you are truly interested in the topic.

Essential Academic Resources 

  • Infomine  - Scholarly resource collections covering a variety of academic subject areas.
  • All Academic - A searchable database of academic publications: journals, working papers, convention papers and magazine articles. Also has an A-Z list of links to online journals.
  • CiteULike - Free service for managing and discovering scholarly references. Over 2 million articles.
  • Google Scholar - Search of a wide range of scholarly literature including books, theses and articles.
  • Sweet Search - A search engine for students with all results evaluated by research experts.
  • Rask Info - Expert research, consulting and information services.


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