Demystifying postgraduate research : from MA to PhD by Jonathan Grix

By Jonathan Grix

The 1st entire advent to the recent version of social technology and arts postgraduate study. in keeping with the prime present process postgraduate learn education, a programme that may develop into the norm for postgraduate study over the subsequent or 3 years. Designed as a collection textual content for '3 plus 1' and related programmes * the most important instruments and terminology of analysis * What to do earlier than starting the undertaking * investment * All concerning the student-supervisor dating * The viva exam * the method of writing a thesis * learn more... record of figures; Preface; creation; 1 the character of doctoral study; 2 The 'nuts and bolts' of analysis; three Getting began; four equipment, fieldwork and phases of study; five Supervision, the viva and different concerns of significance; Appendix 1: thesaurus of study phrases; Appendix 2: Examples of reference platforms; Bibliography; Index

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Put simply, 'Theories are nets cast to catch what we call "the world": to rationalise, to explain and to master it. We endeavour to make the mesh ever finer and finer' (Popper, 2000, 59). Without theory, or at least some form of classificatory system, it would be extremely difficult to know which data and facts to collect in the first place. Even researchers setting out to generate theory from fieldwork have to start with some assumptions based on a certain level of abstraction. In the strictest sense, a theory consists of a 'system of statements that encompass a number of hypotheses or laws' (Schnell et al, 1999, 52).

There are two key reasons for spending some time considering the question-method fit in your work. The first is that the questions you wish to ask should, to a great extent, guide your choice of methods. This is a logical research step that points you to a specific method of obtaining information. You will need to decide, after an extensive literature review (see below), which is the most appropriate method for your project and why the other methods used by the scholars you have read are not more suitable.

The point of figure 2 is simply to flag up some of the different terms associated with the broad division in methods. , 1994, 5). The key for new researchers is not to become entrenched in one or other camp, a sentiment I shall return to when discussing disciplinary boundaries. Hammersley, with whom many academics may not fully agree, neatly sums this up when he states 'the process of inquiry in sciences is the same whatever method is used, and the retreat into paradigms effectively stultifies debate and hampers progress' (1992, 182, cited in Silverman, 2000, 11).

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