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Science Honours: Planning your project

Project Planner

Sage Research Methods Project Planner  is designed to guide you through your research project. It will take you through the different steps you need to do.

The Research Proposal

Your research proposal is the first thing you need to do when you start on your project.

The aim is to explain that your topic is relevant and that the approach you take are sound. When the supervisors are happy with your proposal you will be able to start on your actual research.

A research proposal needs to include:

  • Your research question
  • Why the topic, is important or useful in the discipline
  • A literature review of existing published work that relates to the topic.
  • The methodology you intend to use and why you have chosen it.
  • The resources you will need to complete the project.
  • Ethical issues and how you plan to address them.

Attard, N. (2018). WASP (Write a Scientific Paper): Writing an academic research proposal. Early Human Development, 123, 39-41. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2018.04.011 

Keeping a record of your search activity

Good search practice could involve keeping a search diary or document detailing your search activities (Phelps et. al. 2007, pp. 128-149), so that you can keep track of effective search terms, or to help others to reproduce your steps and get the same results. 

This record could be a document, table or spreadsheet with:

  • The names of the sources you search and which provider you accessed them through - eg Medline (Ovid), Web of Science (Thomson Reuters). You should also include any other literature sources you used.
  • The search strategies that you applied when searching different sources (eg Medline, Web of Science) can be added as an appendix to your document. This provides additional detail on:
    • how you searched (keyword and/or subject headings)
    • which search terms you used (which words and phrases)
    • any search techniques you employed (truncation, adjacency, etc)
    • how you combined your search terms (AND/OR). Check out the Refine your search results video for more tips on Boolean Searching.
  • The number of search results from each source and each strategy used.  This can be the evidence you need to prove a gap in the literature, and confirms the importance of your research question.

A search planner may help you to organise you thoughts prior to conducting your search. If you have any problems with organising your thoughts prior, during and after searching please contact your Library Faculty Team  for individual help.

Research Methods

If you would like to find out more about the research methods used in your discipline area there are a couple of places to search: 

  • SAGE Research Methods database contains lots of useful information about research methods and literature reviews. 
  • Primo Search also contains many books and eBooks on research methods.

Tip: Sage Research Methods database has an exceptional help section, which includes videos about how to use the database.

Research narrative

Research at Charles Sturt aims to create a world worth living in. You can read more about the Research Narrative here: