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Preparing a Research Plan and Scholarship Application

Preparing a Plan for Your Research Topic

This assignment presumes that you already have a research topic that has proved irresistible to you (if not research funders) and focuses on development of a plan for the completion of that research. This applies to all students, including those who are not taking a research degree.

Based on what you have learned so far in the course, prepare a plan for your research topic. Break down your overall programme into a series of individual work packages and then individual work activities that sit beneath and within the work packages. Write a short paragraph on each activity using your best scientific/technical English. Within each paragraph prepare an accurate opening sentence, and then within the paragraph use the remaining sentences to i) describe and define the scope of the activity and ii) state and justify how long you anticipate it will take for each activity to be completed. The activities you describe should collectively detail a research undertaking: the outcome must be uncertain; your adoption of the scientific method must be evident.

On the Gantt chart, show the milestone events that you can use to benchmark your actual effort against planned effort. Confine yourself to defining really meaningful milestones. You should not represent a milestone event as an activity (An activity has duration. An event has no duration, but shows something achieved). You could highlight deliverable items too.

Link the activities together respecting any precedence implied between the activities and present this structured plan using an attractive, clearly formatted, Gantt Chart. For the Gantt chart, use an appropriate time interval for the support: for Masters you could use weeks or fortnights, for PhDs use months or quarters. Make sure that the information on the Gantt Chart is legible.

Properly represent the time required to clear your examination process at the end of the research project period. Specifically include special items such as conferences or seminars you want to attend, or your supervisor wants you to attend, as well as courses that you need to take. Present as many activities as you feel may be required to properly demonstrate the credibility of your plan. Five, and even 10 may be too few. Forty will be too many. Be realistic in your assessments of the duration of activities. Be realistic in your assessments of time off required. When there are parallel activities in your plan, make sure that you adjust the full time equivalent (FTE) effort across them, so that the instantaneous overall effort never exceeds 1.0 FTE at any time.

Please also make sure that I can also form an appraisal of the planning of the actual research tasks. The whole thing should not be a plan for your graduate studies, it should be a plan to achieve some research objective within your graduate studies. Consult the marking rubric for the Research Plan before submission and use it as a checklist.

Review the tips itemised in the slide deck prepared by Dr Monica Carvallo too. for a free trial Gantt chart tool – if you do not like doing it in Excel. English language will matter in this assignment; in this respect all students will be treated equally.

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