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How to start research and stay on track?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I've been doing bits and bobs of research on my disability styling project but I've decided I really need to get into it. I have loads of books that I need to get through and I need to sort out some of my web-based research, but because there aren't any spesific questions that I'm looking to answer straight away, I'm still looking at the basic outline.

How can I structure my research so that it actually makes some sense and I keep on track?

I'm also struggling a bit with keeping on task and motivated. I have a lot of "foggy head" days because of the fibromyalgia, and I feel like I can't get my head around anything. does anyone have any tips which might make things a little easier? I often feel overwhelmed on days like that because i don't know where to start.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Can you speak to a tutor or a peer in your class about getting started? I find talking through ideas with someone else keeps me motivated and they may give you a hand with the structure.

    Also keeping a decent log of your research so you don't get to the scary stage of getting muddled and it may be quite nice to look back and see just how much you've done. As well as any gaps that need to be covered.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    In my experience drawing a very loose plan / list of what you want to get through, and then just get through it. Some bits you will get straight away and some bits will be a headache and take forever to get. So its all about just getting through the materials.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Can you speak to a tutor or a peer in your class about getting started? I find talking through ideas with someone else keeps me motivated and they may give you a hand with the structure.

    Also keeping a decent log of your research so you don't get to the scary stage of getting muddled and it may be quite nice to look back and see just how much you've done. As well as any gaps that need to be covered.

    I'm doing all of this off my own back (not at uni or college after finishing last june) so I've got no one else to bounce ideas off other than anyone who will listen to me and has a good (tbh, more often than not - vague) idea of what I'm on about.

    There are no set materials, I've got a few books which I think might be useful but I'm needing to find more info all the time.

    Whats a good way to keep track of my research in a way that it will make sense when I go back to it? I've recorded stuff before and when I've gone back to it its made no sense.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey there Miss_Riot,

    I had a similar issue when I was writing my final year project. I'd read lots of different things and my memory isn't great, so I had to create a system.

    I created groups and sub-groups of ideas/themes. Anything I read, I tried to classify in one of these (or more than 1 if relevant). The more you read, the more of these you'll probably end up with. You then then create a Word Document for each idea/theme and write a 1 paragraph summary of what you have read or found. I'd also put in links to the site/book reference or other reference, so that you can locate it again quickly if you want it.

    I know it may not work for everyone, but this worked for me.

    Alternatives, could be an A4 page per idea/theme if you prefer to write stuff down or have a ring binder with dividers. Whatever you would be comfortable with.

    Good luck with your project!

    :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I might try that idea. I think I need to do a huge mind map of what it is I want to achieve and go from there. Are there any good apps I can use to help record my research? I've been using dunno a little which has been some help but its not quite what I'm looking for.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Pen and paper seemed to work best for me tbh at least until you know what direction you're headed in
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think I need to talk out my ideas to someone, finish the mindmap when I'm less shattered and see what direction to head in first
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yea totally I mean I am just going off my final year projects which aren't as involved as an MA but generally I would start reading the sources FIRST (in particular, just get a gist for them) and then it starts to fall together.... a little bit like a jigsaw piece when you can't see what shape the pieces are until you have given them a once over. Obviously sitting down and methodologically mapping each piece laboriously works for some... but I just like to get stuck in, get my hands on a few good ones and give them a good feel for what bits they might fit next to..
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't think the sources I have first put together are actually the right direction at all - its all mainly styling books, and I think I need to be looking mainly at disability and accessibilty first and then go back to those sources...and jeez its a hard slog sorting the wheat from the chaff with styling and fashion stuff!

    I got some of those long small post its so i can read a book and make notes and then quickly carry on rather than write notes and then get carried away with that idea and get totally side tracked (which isn't always a bad idea but not at first anyway).

    The notes app on my phone and mac have been totally invaluable! because now i can work on the same list when I'm home or out and its still synced. Yay! :)

    I'm still deciding if I actually put my money where my mouth is and actually pay up for my first OU MA humanities module...with the disability styling project I've got no deadlines (which is possibly why it takes me ages to get myself set to it, maybe I need to be setting myself some goals?), so i can get away with being too unwell/busy/unmotivated to get stuff done, but with the MA I don't know how much leeway they'll give me...
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