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Provided they feel that they know enough about the subject to supervise it, and provided that it can be interpreted as falling within the broad fields of your degree subject, academic staff are generally open to suggestions.You should think realistically about the practical implications of your choice, in terms of: For example, a project on coal mining in the North East of England may require you to visit Newcastle’s Record Office, or to interview coal miners from the region.In view of the pressure to get started fairly quickly, this can cause anxiety and even panic. There are several ways forward: This list is not exhaustive, and you need to check whether your department has a preference for particular kinds of research study.
This is a much better research problem as it establishes an argument (existence of public transport may have some influence on new housing development). You will be investigating a complex subject (public transport in Scotland), but will be focusing on only one aspect of it (possible influence on new housing development).
However, it is still quite general and could be improved by further focus. You will make this large subject manageable by focusing on a limited period of time (1990 onwards), and limited sources.
This sets out your research field but does not frame a research problem because it is too general.
You do not have time to study everything about a topic, so you should focus on an aspect that you are interested in.
Once your topic has been accepted by your department, you need to begin the process of refining the topic and turning it into something that is focused enough to guide your project.
Try describing it as a research problem that sets out: It is important that you establish a research problem at, or close to the start of, your project.
Some focused thought at the beginning, then at the planning stage of each phase, could save hours later on. It could be time in the library; the resource of your working hours; or the use of equipment or room space that needs to be booked in advance.
Some people find that they procrastinate more than they would like.
This guide addresses the task of planning and conducting a small research project, such as for an undergraduate or masters’ level dissertation.
It aims to help you develop a clear sense of direction early on in the project, and to support you in organising, planning, and monitoring your project.