What does it take to succeed in a student research project, or any research project for that matter?
Well, there’s a whole lot of stuff that Digital Skills Development can’t help with, and anyway, you’re all really good at that stuff: the scholarship, the domain knowledge, the research skills. But, there’s an awful lot that we can offer.
Getting on top of the choices that face you now and planning what tools you will use will allow you to work out what skills you need to acquire and how you are going to acquire them. And beefing up your digital capability will not only improve your chances of research success, but will add to your capital in an area that employers rate among top desirable job skills.
When people plan research projects, they often forget to work out what software tools and techniques they will use, what skills those tools require, and where they are going to get those skills. Often, we think it will all just be obvious and somehow it will come together. Well, in a way it usually does, but with a little planning and foreknowledge, we can transform these decisions from afterthought to opportunity.
Digital Skills Development are showcasing three new demonstration sessions to put you on the road to software success. Each session introduces tools to tackle specific tasks for your research project. We’ll look at:
- writing: is there life beyond Word? Is there any reason to go there? How do I cope with fussy formatting requirements?
- data analysis: is it worth learning to code, or can I cope by wrestling with my data in Excel? I don’t do numbers, how can software help me?
- managing literature: imagine a world where your library and database searches link seamlessly with your citation system and a database of annotated PDFs. That world can be yours.
If you haven’t thought about what tools you will use for each of these tasks, or if you have thought about it but you’re just not sure what to do, these sessions are for you. There will be demonstrations of different tools and approaches with guidance and discussion of what tool is best for the job. If you think you know what software you are going to use, then we invite you to come along and be challenged: there may be tools on offer that could smooth the way to a successful research project.
For the new year we are adding three In a nutshell sessions. These are short sessions – usually around lunchtime – which illustrate a specific technique in one or other software package, so for example, we will be looking at importing survey data into Nvivo for analysis.
Now is the time to move beyond those good old coping strategies and tame the software beast. These sessions will help you do it.