What is it?
Research and its associated skills are important at all levels of study in higher education. Whether you are writing a first-year essay on the fundamentals of biomedical sciences or a PhD thesis on niche tourism in North Wales, research will form an essential element of your work. Furthermore, as independent learners, you are expected to engage in research as you prepare for lectures, seminars, tutorials or workshops.
Developing effective research practices begins with gaining an overview of the resources available to you. Our librarians provide detailed information on the resources relevant to your subject in the subject guides. Arranged by School, these guides contain links to the main journal titles associated with your discipline, useful resources and the location in the library of the books you are likely to use. It is also important to identify a suitable strategy for managing the information you find; you will find a lot of published material relevant to your research topic, and one of the skills you will need to develop is an ability to recognise essential sources.
The skills associated with research, such as an ability to manage information, will in themselves be useful after you have finished your programme of study. Writing reports, for example, a task requiring an ability to conduct research, forms an important element of many job roles. But these skills will also lead to the development of problem-solving and analytical abilities, as well as strong communication skills.
This e-lesson on research ethics, as they are applied in the context of health and social care, provides an accessible introduction to the concept of testing the viability of a research topic against ethical and critical considerations. It is relevant to students from across all disciplines.
For an introduction to research in higher education:
Preece, R. (2000)
Starting Research: An Introduction to Academic Research and Dissertation Writing. 2nd edn. London: Pinter
The following items might also be useful:
Bell, J. (2010)
Doing Your Research: A guide for first time researchers in education, health and social science. Maidenhead: Open UP
Blaxter, L., Hughes, C. and Tight, M. (2010)
How to research. 4th edn. Maidenhead: Open UP
Cryer, P. (2000)
The Research Student's Guide to Success. 2nd edn. Buckingham: Open UP
Denscombe, M. (2010)
The Good Research Guide: for small scale research projects. 4th edn. Maidenhead: Open UP
Fink, A. (2014)
Conducting Research Literature Reviews: from the internet to paper. 4th edn. London: Sage
Jupp, V. (ed.) (2006)The Sage Dictionary of Social Research Methods. London: Sage
Miller, R. and Brewer, J. (eds.) (2003)
The A-Z of Social Research: A Dictionary of Key Social Science Research Concepts. London: Sage
Punch, K. (2006)
Developing Effective Research Proposals. 2nd edn. London: Sage
Wisker, G. (2008)
The Postgraduate Research Handbook. 2nd edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan