Change the world

Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and Information Technology

Planning your research not only involves what needs to be done but also when it needs to be done. If you want to complete the dissertation/thesis well and in time you should take control of the project and manage it effectively. When starting you research you need to engage in thorough planning as the completion of a research project involves separate phases and you should manage your time realistically, but be warned that the time set to complete the dissertation/thesis can take longer than planned. Each step in your research should include a start and end time as it will force you to commit yourself so that you will be able to see at any given time exactly where you are and what you still have to do.

Research always begins with a problem and you need to define a clear research problem/question that you plan to investigate. Firstly, you should spend time finding and collecting relevant literature and doing background reading. Unfortunately, you will have to go through an initial frustrating phase until you have collected enough information to start your study. This step is imperative and should be part of your planning as a vague and unfocused research problem statement will result in the collection of irrelevant data.

The aim is WHAT you want to do? The questions are WHY do you need to do this research and are you interested in it? The objective clearly states HOW this will be achieved? The aim (where do I want to get to?) and objective (what do I need to do to get there?) must be clear, specific, measurable and achievable.

Give reasons for studying or researching this particular phenomenon (Where does this all fit in?). It is important to add an element that explains why the question is asked and what the envisaged result to the questions will be.