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How to make a good research plan?

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Eva Pongracz

on 2 October 2014

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Transcript of How to make a good research plan?

How to make a good research plan?

Key structural elements of a research plan
1. Objectives
2. Research questions
3. Hypotheses
4. Materials and methods
5. Relevance of research
6. Research steps and tasks
7. Timetable
A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for an observable phenomenon
an experiment without a hypothesis is just an exercise or demonstration...
Relevance of research
Designed in, not added on!
Scientifically or societally relevant?
Depends on your funding source!
A research can be scientifically relevant without being societally relevant
Social value of research is increasingly regarded as an essential ethical consideration
Know your source!
Reveal your good idea fairly early
An abstract or good summary that engages broad audience is always beneficial
Sufficient data and reference to convince experts that you know what you are talking about...
Impacts and risks - key points
Make sure you have plans to deal with problems and address risks
Work closely with your supervisor
Do not be afraid to bug them!
Respect the time and advice they give
- Promotes scientific excellence
- Plans evaluated by int'l experts
- You need to:
Prove your idea is cutting edge
Position your research internationally
Know who's who and network with them
Mobility is a must!
Follow the guidelines to the letter!
Academy research
- Deal with "strategic" issues
- Increased attention on impact!
Acknowledge the role of the Programme Committee
Plan has to fit in the programme!
Partnership is essential
Full applications evaluated by int'l experts - same rules as before!
AKA Programmes
Clearly defined interests
Evaluators tends to receive a LOT of applications
You need to convince them why they should fund you
Short, straight to the point!
You need to be clear yourself what is that you will do
Recommendation letters rule!
The scientific method requires that one can test it
scientific hypotheses are based on previous observations that cannot be explained with available scientific theories
a hypothesis is not the same as theory!

A scientific hypothesis
Hypotheses are proposed and tested
Theories are general explanations based on a large amount of data
Theory vs hypothesis
Some final hints
Avoid too small fonts
Good figures - readable and broadly understandable
Use colour as necessary, but not too much!
Clear language, no linguistic gymnastics
Know the source!
Different strategies apply to e.g.:
Academy research plan
Academy Programme calls
"big" EU funding
"small" EU funding
Well planned, half done!
Make a detailed plan and stick to it
Realistic and pragmatic
Prepare to deal with uncertainties
Research is, by its nature, is unpredictable
Every problem has a potential of a useful information!
Do not be afraid to acknowledge risks!
Show how will you deal with them
Leave enough time for publications!
"Big" EU money
Give it enough time!
You need a good coordinator...
Partnership is everything!
Excell at "straight to the point!"
You need to explain your idea on page 1
Draw the "big picture"
How does your solution fit in it?
Key questions:
Why this? Why you? Why know?
Your chances increase exponentially if you were actually involved in writing the programme...
"Small" EU money
You need to speak their lingo
You need to know what are they passionate about
Impact is everything!
Diverse partnership
Policy relevance
It shall actually make a measurable difference!
Promise the Moon, but be aware:
You will need to do EVERYTHING you promised
Know your regional office
Objectives vs.
research questions
The aim of the study is to answer the research questions
Objectives specify how the aim will be met
Research questions arise from knowledge deficit
Formulation of research questions requires deep insights into the domain of study
They must be worthy of investigation!
Important, original, answerable
Answering them will progress the research area
Good research question defines hypothesis!
Structure the aim into study components
Objectives translate directly into hypotheses, and thence outcome measures
Limit objectives to avoid too many hypotheses and outcomes
Present them in active language, e.g. ‘to quantify’, ‘to determine
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