COURSE INTRODUCTION: The Higher Degree Research Module has been set up to assist master's and doctoral students with the research process from proposal preparation to thesis submission. Staff supervising higher degree research projects can also be registered on the module.
TASK 1: OVERVIEW OF COMPLETING A MASTERS OR DOCTORAL THESIS The Higher Degree Research Module divides completing a master's or doctoral thesis into three stages, although these may overlap and blend in actual practice:
Preparing for the research project by formulating a proposal (Tasks 2-14)
Carrying out the empirical work, which provides the content of your thesis (Task 15)
Writing up the actual thesis (Tasks 16-21)
TASK 2: INTRODUCING YOURSELF When you log in to Moodle, fill in the account details and add a brief description of yourself, your interests and your present occupation or focus.
TASK 3: PRELIMINARY SURVEY OF AREA/FIELD Using an Internet search engine such as Google, carry out a wide survey of the area/field you are interested in researching. You may have a particular project in mind, but exposure to a wide variety of projects may offer many new exciting ideas, and may turn you in a completely different direction.
TASK 4: STATEMENT OF RESEARCH INTENT The purpose of this task is to start you focusing on what you intend to do for your research project. The task is set in the form of a statement with blanks which you should re-type on MSWord, filling in the blanks.
TASK 5: DETAILED SURVEY OF OTHER RESEARCH DONE IN YOUR SPECIFIC FIELD/AREA This is a narrow survey, intended to assist students to focus on their specific area of research. It is important for students to conduct a narrow survey, as this helps to narrow down the scope of the research.
TASK 6: NARROWING DOWN THE SCOPE OF YOUR RESEARCH PROJECT You need to narrow down the scope of your research so that it is suited to the scope of a masters or doctoral research project. One way to do this is to set your research in context.
TASK 7: COMPILING A BIBLIOGRAPHY Students need to build up a comprehensive and balanced bibliography list for their research projects.
TASK 8: THE RESEARCH PROBLEM CYCLE The research problem cycle rubric provides students with an excellent way of refocusing on their research project by charting their progression through the research problem, via the means of solving it, to the anticipated solution.
TASK 9: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK We realise that the process of identifying one’s theoretical framework can be difficult. What we would like our students to do in this task is to start the process of identifying their theoretical framework.
TASK 10: CHOOSING YOUR RESEARCH METHODOLOGY You need to identify the methods which you will use to achieve your research goals. We have set some questions in this section to help you to identify the methods you could use.
TASK 11: REQUIREMENTS FOR MASTER'S/DOCTORAL RESEARCH PROJECTS At this stage we would like our students to carry out a self-check to establish whether their research projects fulfil the requirements for a master's or doctoral degree and are feasible.
TASK 12: FINALISING YOUR CHOICE OF RESEARCH TOPIC Students need to negotiate who is to be the supervisor for their research project, and finalise their choice of research topic in consultation with their supervisor.
TASK 13: WRITING UP YOUR RESEARCH PROPOSAL Your research proposal must be written up in an appropriate format. Examples of different formats will be given (as available).
TASK 14: GIVING AN ORAL PRESENTATION ON YOUR RESEARCH PROJECT As well as submitting a written proposal, you may be expected to give an oral presentation on your proposed research topic to a Departmental committee.
TASK 15: CARRYING OUT THE EMPIRICAL WORK In this section researchers are offered advice on how to carry out their empirical work, i.e. data gathering. In formulating your proposal you will have identified your research approach and the methodology to be used. At this point you find out whether what worked on paper works in actual practice.
TASK 16: WRITING UP YOUR THESIS This section provides an overview of the thesis writing process, basing this on research into composing processes. The next five sections will focus on the various stages of writing up a thesis.
TASK 17: PREWRITING The researcher contextualises the thesis by considering the topic, purpose and audience, completes the bulk of the reading, and ensures all data is collected and analysed. S/he then plans how to set it all down in thesis format.
TASK 18: DRAFT WRITING This the stage at which most of the ideational content of the thesis is generated in the form of a rough draft. This is usually done chapter by chapter, although some writers prefer to start with the framework for the whole thesis and gradually expand this, not necessarily in chapter order.
TASK 19: MAJOR EDITING The writer interacts with an imaginary reader in structuring the thesis so that it presents a clear argument. Interacting with “real” readers is helpful at this stage.
TASK 20: MINOR EDITING AND POLISHING The writer edits and proof-reads the thesis, and applies all research writing conventions rigorously, so that the finished thesis conforms to social expectations about research writing. Professional editors may be contracted to assist with this process.
TASK 21: EVALUATION The writer takes a reflexive stance in assessing the worth of the thesis in terms of how well it argues the case and whether it satisfies the criteria for research writing.
EXAMPLES OF RESEARCHERS' WORK This section provides links to examples of researchers' work. Even though your project may be on a completely different topic, it is always useful to see what issues other researchers have dealt with, and how they have dealt with them.
RESOURCES Study resources such as library databases will be published in this section.
DUT REFERENCING STYLE Attached is the "official" DUT Harvard Referencing style for EndNote.
READINGS Books, articles, or theses to be shared with the group will be posted in this section.