The Graduate School

Carrying out your Research



Whilst the early stage of the PhD life-cycle focuses on setting out research aims and objectives, and drawing up a plan for achieving these, the middle stage involves doing the work itself. It is essential therefore to keep developing your methodology; whilst this should initially be in line with the methodology outlined in your research plan and approved in the differentiation process, students should also be aware that research is a dynamic process, often requiring reassessment of methodologies on the basis of results found.

Not sure where to begin?

Below is a list of tips to help students carry out their research itself:

  1. Your Supervisory Team

The type of methodology you employ will be determined completely by the specific nature, objectives and constraints of your individual research project. As such, your supervisory team should be your first and primary port of call for any enquiries or problems with carrying out your research.

  1. Ask the library for help and advice

The McClay library is host to many different services that offer students help on many aspects of their studies. If you need to use a specific piece of software to analyse data, consult the library staff to see if they can offer any help and advice.

  1. Ask fellow PhD students in the later stages

It may be worthwhile approaching PhD students in your School who are in the late stage of their research; focus on those students who have employed a similar methodology to your own and who are willing to offer help and advice. Your supervisory team should be able to suggest suitable candidates.

  1. Attend Postgraduate Researcher Development Programmes.

Several of those offered by Queen’s help with developing research skills, such as:

  • Epigeum (online) quantitative methods in research
  • Epigeum (online) qualitative methods in research
  • NVivo Software training
  1. Check out samples of completed theses

As mentioned in the early stage section, relevant completed PhD theses are an invaluable source of information. Consult the methodology sections for ideas on how best to carry out your own research (whilst remaining aware of the penalties for plagiarism).

Further Information

  • Your supervisor is always there to assist you, to provide you with advice and support on carrying out your research.
  • You should also speak to other research students, and try to benefit from their experiences.
  • As before, completed theses are available from the McClay library: click here.
  • For further information on resources offered by the Library at Queen’s, consult the sub-section on The Library at Queen’s