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首页 Finding, formulating and exploring your topic

Finding, formulating and exploring your topic.doc

Finding, formulating and explor…

cphionline
2018-09-06 0人阅读 举报 0 0 0 暂无简介

简介:本文档为《Finding, formulating and exploring your topicdoc》,可适用于医药卫生领域

PAGEFinding,formulatingandexploringyourtopicDifferenttopiccreationsManystudentshaveinmindsomethingthattheywanttoworkonotherswanttoworkwithaparticularscholarorresearchcentreInthefirstcase,studentssearchforacompatiblesupervisorInthesecond,foratopicRegardlessofthesepreliminarycircumstances,thetopicisverylikelyonlyroughlyformulatedatthisstageThisisusuallyenoughtohaveyourenrolmentacceptedReadingtheliteratureOnceyouhaveageneralidea,youcouldstartbytalkingtoyoursupervisorandotherscholarsBut,mostimportantly,youhavetothinkwhyyouwouldliketoworkonit,orwhyanyonewouldwanttodosoAskyourself,"WhyisitimportantWhatisinterestingaboutthisSupposeIsolveit,orfindit,orpullitalltogether,whatuseisitWhatisitssignificance"Then,withsomequestionssuchastheseinmind,goandreadmoreaboutittoseewhatisthereandfindoutwhataspectsofithavebeenexhausted,whatneglected,whatthemainideas,issuesandcontroversiesareintheareaItisregardedasyoursupervisor'sroletodirectyoutothemostfruitfulstartingpointinreadingandsurveyingtheliteratureCyccleyougothroughagainandagainSoyouread,think,anddiscussitwithyoursupervisorandthen,asaresult,comeclosertotheformulationofthetopicAndthenwitheachcycleofreading,thinkinganddiscussingyourtopicbecomesmorespecificandfocussedThisisnotthefinalformulationandthelasttimeyouwillfocusyourtopicButyoucouldprobablyletgoofthisroundofgeneralexplorationandembarkonthenextstageYoursupervisorbythistimeshouldhaveenoughofanideaofyourtopictojudgewhetherornotwhatyouproposetodoisfeasiblewithinthetimeavailableandhasthepotentialtomeettherequiredstandardsforaPhDToseethefullpotentialofyourtopicor,tothecontrary,seethatitisnotgoingtodeliverwhatyouwanted,youdoneedtobegindoingyourresearchThis,ofcourse,iswhypilotstudiesareoftenundertakenMakingsenseoftheliteratureWedotrulywishwecouldtellyouaboutareliableorsimplewaytomakesenseoftheliteratureWecansay,however,thatyouneedtoattendtothingsattwolevels:·Oneisestablishingasystemthatwillallowyoutoorganisethehardcopiesofthearticlesetc,anddevelopadatabaseforreferences,soyouhaveeasyaccessunderrelevantcategoriesanddon'tchasethesamereferencesrepeatedly·TheotheristhemoredemandingtaskofunderstandingandusingtheliteratureforyourpurposesWithoutattendingtothefirsttask,youcouldeasilybecomeinefficientandfrustratedHowever,althoughitisnecessarytohavesomewayofkeepingtrack,don'tspendallyourenergiesonperfectingyoursystemItmaybeagoodideatoattendacourseforresearchersonhandlinginformationCheckwhetheryouruniversity'slibraryorcomputercentreofferssuchacourseTheothertaskaheadofyouofunderstanding,reviewingandusingtheliteratureforyourpurposesgoestotheheartofyourthesisWeconsiderthisinthreestagesMakingsenseoftheliteraturefirstpassWhenyoufirstcometoanareaofresearch,youarefillinginthebackgroundinageneralway,gettingafeelforthewholearea,anideaofitsscope,startingtoappreciatethecontroversies,toseethehighpoints,andtobecomemorefamiliarwiththemajorplayersYouneedastartingpointThismaycomeoutofpreviousworkyou'vedoneIfyou'renewtothearea,yoursupervisorcouldsuggestfruitfulstartingpointsOryoucouldpursuesomerecentreviewarticlestobeginToomuchtohandleAtthisstagethereseemstobemassesofliteraturerelevanttoyourresearchOryoumayworrythatthereseemstobehardlyanythingAsyouread,thinkaboutanddiscussarticlesandisolatetheissuesyou'remoreinterestedinInthisway,youfocusyourtopicmoreandmoreThemoreyoucancloseinonwhatyourresearchquestionactuallyis,themoreyouwillbeabletohaveabasisforselectingtherelevantareasoftheliteratureThisistheonlywaytobringitdowntoamanageablesizeVerylittlethereIfinitiallyyoucan'tseemtofindmuchatallonyourresearchareaandyouaresurethatyou'veexploitedallavenuesforsearchingthatthelibrarycanpresentyouwiththenthereareafewpossibilities:·Youcouldberightatthecuttingedgeofsomethingnewandit'snotsurprisingthere'slittlearound·Youcouldbelimitingyourselftotoonarrowanareaandnotappreciatingthatrelevantmaterialcouldbejustaroundthecornerinacloselyrelatedfield·Unfortunatelythere'sanotherpossibilityandthisisthatthere'snothingintheliteraturebecauseitisnotaworthwhileareaofresearchInthiscase,youneedtolookcloselywithyoursupervisoratwhatitisyouplantodoQualityoftheLiteratureThisbeginsyourfirststepinmakingsenseoftheliteratureYouarenotnecessarilycloselyevaluatingitnowyouaremostlylearningthroughitBut,sometimesatthisstagestudentsdoaskushowtheycanjudgethequalityoftheliteraturethey'rereading,asthey'renotexpertsYoulearntojudge,evaluate,andlookcriticallyattheliteraturebyjudging,evaluatingandlookingcriticallyatitThatis,youlearntodosobypractisingThereisnoquickrecipefordoingthisbuttherearesomequestionsyoucouldfindusefuland,withpractice,youwilldevelopmanyothers:·Istheproblemclearlyspelledout·Aretheresultspresentednew·Wastheresearchinfluentialinthatotherspickedupthethreadsandpursuedthem·Howlargeasamplewasused·Howconvincingistheargumentmade·Howweretheresultsanalysed·Whatperspectivearetheycomingfrom·Arethegeneralisationsjustifiedbytheevidenceonwhichtheyaremade·Whatisthesignificanceofthisresearch·Whataretheassumptionsbehindtheresearch·Isthemethodologywelljustifiedasthemostappropriatetostudytheproblem·IsthetheoreticalbasistransparentIncriticallyevaluating,youarelookingforthestrengthsofcertainstudiesandthesignificanceandcontributionsmadebyresearchersYouarealsolookingforlimitations,flawsandweaknessesofparticularstudies,orofwholelinesofenquiryIndeed,ifyoutakethiscriticalapproachtolookingatpreviousresearchinyourfield,yourfinalliteraturereviewwillnotbeacompilationofsummariesbutanevaluationItwillthenreflectyourcapacityforcriticalanalysisMakingsenseoftheliteraturesecondpassYoucontinuetheprocessofmakingsenseoftheliteraturebygainingmoreexpertisewhichallowsyoutobecomemoreconfident,andbybeingmuchmorefocusedonyourspecificresearchYou'restillreadingandperhapsneedingtorereadsomeoftheliteratureYou'rethinkingaboutitasyouaredoingyourexperiments,conductingyourstudies,analysingtextsorotherdataYouareabletotalkaboutiteasilyanddiscussitInotherwords,it'sbecomingpartofyouAtadeeperlevelthanbefore,·youarenownotonlylookingatfindingsbutarelookingathowothershavearrivedattheirfindings·you'relookingatwhatassumptionsareleadingtothewaysomethingisinvestigated·you'relookingforgenuinedifferencesintheoriesasopposedtosemanticdifferences·youalsoaregaininganunderstandingofwhythefielddevelopedinthewayitdid·youhaveasenseforwhereitmightbegoingFirstofallyouprobablythoughtsomethinglike,"Ijusthavetogetahandleonthis"Butnowyouseethatthis'handle'whichyoudiscoveredforyourselfturnsouttobethekeytowhatisimportantYouareverylikelygettingtothislevelofunderstandingbytakingthingstopiecesandputtingthembacktogetherForexample,youmayneedtosetupalongsideoneanotherfourorfivedifferentdefinitionsofthesameconcept,versionsofthesametheory,ordifferenttheoriesproposedtoaccountforthesamephenomenonYoumayneedtounpackthemthoroughly,evenattheverybasiclevelofwhatistheimpliedunderstandingofkeywords(forexample'concept','model','principles'etc),beforeyoucanconfidentlycomparethem,whichyouneedtodobeforesynthesisispossibleOr,forexample,youmaybetryingtosortthroughspecificdiscoverieswhichhavebeenvariouslyandconcurrentlydescribedbydifferentresearchersindifferentcountriesYouneedtoaskquestionssuchaswhethertheyarethesamediscoveriesbeinggivendifferentnamesor,iftheyarenotthesame,whethertheyarerelatedInotherwords,youmayneedtoembarkonverydetailedanalysesofpartsoftheliteraturewhilemaintainingthegeneralpictureMakingsenseoftheliteraturefinalpassYoumakesenseoftheliteraturefinallywhenyouarelookingbacktoplaceyourownresearchwithinthefieldAtthefinalpass,youreallyseehowyourresearchhasgrownoutofpreviousworkSonowyoumaybeabletoidentifypointsorissuesthatleaddirectlytoyourresearchYoumayseepointswhosesignificancedidn'tstrikeyouatfirstbutwhichnowyoucanhighlightOryoumayrealisethatsomeaspectofyourresearchhasincidentallyprovidedevidencetolendweighttooneviewofacontroversyHavingfinishedyourownresearch,youarenowmuchbetterequippedtoevaluatepreviousresearchinyourfieldFromthispointwhenyouhavefinishedyourownresearchandyoulookbackandfillinthepicture,itisnotonlythatyouunderstandtheliteratureandcanhandleitbetter,butyoucouldalsoseehowitmotivatesyourownresearchWhenyouconceptualisetheliteratureinthisway,itbecomesanintegralpartofyourresearchWritingtheliteraturereviewWhatwearetalkingabouthereisthewritingofthereviewWeassumethatyouhavemadesenseoftheliterature,andthatyouknowtheroleoftheliteratureanditsplaceinyourthesisBelowarelinkstoothersectionscoveringtheseaspectsYouwilldoubtlesswriteyourliteraturereviewseveraltimesSinceeachversionwillserveadifferentpurpose,youshouldnotthinkyouarewritingthesamethingoverandoverandgettingnowhereWhereyoumaystriketroubleisifyoujusttrytotakewholesectionsoutofanearlierversionandpastethemintothefinalversionwhich,bynow,hastobedifferentlyconceivedInpracticalterms,itisnecessarytohaveanoverallpictureofhowthethreadrunsthroughyouranalysisoftheliteraturebeforeyoucangetdowntoactuallywritingaparticularsectionThestrategywhichwritersuseasawaytobegintheliteraturereviewistoproceedfromthegeneral,widerviewoftheresearchyouarereviewingtothespecificproblemThisisnotaformulabutisacommonpatternandmaybeworthtryingLet'slookatanexampletakenfromthefirstpagesofaliteraturereviewThisshowsustheprogressionfromgeneraltospecificandthebeginningofthatthreadwhichthencontinuesthroughthetextleadingtotheaimsDespitetheundisputedsuccessofquantummechanics,manyimportantfundamentalproblemsandquestionsremainunanswered(seeforexampleX,):themeasuringprocesscannotbesatisfactorilydescribedinQMformalismtherearegreatmathematicalstumblingblockstoattempttomakeQMconsistentwiththeassumptionsofspecialrelativity………,justtonameafewThisisbasicallyanintroductorysection,whichstartswithastatementoftheprobleminverybroadterms,alertingustothefactthatnoteverythingisrosy,andproceedstosketchinspecificaspectsWithoutdoubt,oneofthemostwidelydiscussedofthese…is…thisclosesinonwhatthefocusoftheproblemisLikemostfundamentalissuesinphysics,thisquestionleadstochallengesatseverallevelsofthoughtAtthephilosophicallevelthisissueposesquestionsabout…Atthephysicallevelweareforcedtoexamine…Atthemathematicallevelmanyquestionsareraisedaboutthecompletenessandlogicalconsistency…ThetextmovesontospecifyissuesatvariouslevelsAlthoughthefocusissharper,thecoverageatthesametimeopensoutAnimportantinstanceinwhichallofthesechallengesconvergeoccurswiththeconceptof'angle'inthedescriptionofquantumsystems…Thusthetexthassetupthesituationwhereallaspectsoftheproblemtheoretical,practical,etcarebroughttogetherWhateverthepatternwhichfitsyourworkbest,youneedtokeepinmindthatwhatyouaredoingiswritingaboutwhatwasdonebeforeBut,youarenotsimplyreportingonpreviousresearchYouhavetowriteaboutitintermsofhowwellitwasdoneandwhatitachievedThishastobeorganisedandpresentedinsuchawaythatitinevitablyleadstowhatyouwanttodoandshowsitisworthdoingYouaresettingupthestageforyourworkForexample,aseriesofparagraphsofthekind:"Green()discovered…""In,Blackconductedexperimentsanddiscoveredthat…""LaterBrown()illustratedthisin……"demonstratesneitheryourunderstandingoftheliteraturenoryourabilitytoevaluateotherpeople'sworkMaybeatanearlierstage,orinyourfirstversionofyourliteraturereview,youneededasummaryofwhodidwhatButinyourfinalversion,youhavetoshowthatyou'vethoughtaboutit,cansynthesisetheworkandcansuccinctlypassjudgementontherelativemeritsofresearchconductedinyourfieldSo,totaketheaboveexample,itwouldbebettertosaysomethinglike:"Thereseemstobegeneralagreementonx,(forexample,White,Brown,Black,Green)butGreen()seesxasaconsequenceofy,whileBlack()putsxandyas…WhileGreen'sworkhassomelimitationsinthatit…,itsmainvalueliesin…"Approachingitinthiswayforcesyoutomakejudgementsand,furthermore,todistinguishyourthoughtsfromassessmentsmadebyothersItisthiswholeprocessofrevealinglimitationsorrecognisingthepossibilityoftakingresearchfurtherwhichallowsyoutoformulateandjustifyyouraimsKeepyourresearchfocusedItisalwaysimportanttokeepyourresearchfocused,butthisisespeciallysoattwopointsFirstwhenyouhavesettledintothetopicandthetimeforwiderexplorationhastoendAndthenagainatalaterstagewhenyoumayhavegatheredlotsofdataandarestartingtowonderhowyouaregoingtodealwithitallFocusafterliteraturereviewFirst,itisacommontemptationtoprolongtheexplorationphasebyfindingmoreandmoreinterestingthingsandstrayingawayfromwhatwasonceregardedasthepossiblefocusEitheryouoryoursupervisorcouldbeguiltyofthisInsomecases,itmightbeyouwhoisputtingoffhavingtomakeacommitmenttoonelineofenquirybecauseexplorationandrealisingpossibilitiesisenjoyableandyou'realwayslearningmoreInothercases,itcouldbeyoursupervisorwho,ateverymeeting,becomesenthusiasticaboutotherpossibilitiesandkeepsonsuggestingalternativesYoumightnotbesureifthisisjustsharingexcitementwithyouorifyouaresupposedtofollowthemallupEitherwayyouneedtostoptheproliferationoflinesofenquiry,siftthroughwhatyouhave,settleononearea,andkeepthatfocusbeforeyouItcouldevenbeagoodideatowriteituponaposterinfrontofyourdeskUnlessyouhavethisreallyspecifiedinthefirstplace,withthemajorquestionanditssubquestions,andyouknowexactlywhatyouhavetofindouttoanswerthese,youwillneverbefocusedandeverythingyoufindwillseemtobe'sortof'relevantYouhavetocloseoffsomelinesofenquiryandyoucandosoonlyonceyoudecidetheyarenotrelevanttoyourquestionWecontinuallymeetstudentswho,whenweask,"Sowhatisthequestionyou'reresearching",willanswer,"MytopicissuchandsuchandI'mgoingtolookatx,yandz"Sometimesfurtherprobingfromuswillrevealthattheydoindeedhaveafocus,butmanytimesthisisnotsoThinkingintermsofyourtopicistoobroadYouneedtothink,rather,ofwhatitisyouareinvestigatingaboutthetopic·QuestionsforceyoutofindanswerstopicsinviteyoutotalkaboutthingsFocusafterdatacollectionThen,atalaterstage,youcouldfindyourselfsurroundedbylotsofdatawhichyouknowaresomewhatrelevanttoyourproject,butfindingthewaysofshowingthisrelevanceandusingthedatatoansweryourquestioncouldbeadifficulttaskNowyouhavetorefindyourfocustobringitalltogetherAgain,itisyourresearchquestionandsubquestionswhichwillhelpyoutodothisbecauseyourwholethesisisbasicallytheanswertothesequestions,thatis,thesolutiontotheproblemyoupresentedatthebeginningThismaystrikeyouasaverysimplisticwaytoviewitHowever,approachingitinthiswaydoeshelptobringthepartstogetherasawholeandgetthewholetoworkWeevenrecommendthat,torelatethepartstoeachotherandkeepyourselffocussed,youcouldtellyourselfthestoryofthethesisMakingadeliberateattempttokeepfocusedwillhelpyoutoshapeyourresearchandkeepyoumotivatedApparentlyIhavetowritearesearchproposalWhatdoIneedtodoThemainpurposeofaresearchproposalistoshowthattheproblemyouproposetoinvestigateissignificantenoughtowarranttheinvestigation,themethodyouplantouseissuitableandfeasible,andtheresultsarelikelytoprovefruitfulandwillmakeanoriginalcontributionInshort,whatyouareansweringis'willitwork'ThelevelofsophisticationoramountofdetailincludedinyourproposalwilldependonthestageyouareatwithyourPhDandtherequirementsofyourdepartmentandUniversity·Ininitialstages,thedocumentyouneedtowritewillprobablybethreetofivepageslongItwillgiveageneralideaofwhatyouareproposingtodobutitisn'tabindingcontractOftenitservesasastartingpointfordiscussionswithyoursupervisortofirmupthetopic,methodologyandmechanicsofyourresearch·Someofyouwillberequiredtowriteaproposalatthetimeofconfirmingyourcandidature(usuallyattheendofthefirstyear)Insomeinstances,thisisadocumentoffourtofivepagesandmaybeviewedasamereformalityInothercasesamuchmoresubstantialdocumentofpagesisexpectedThereforeitisessentialforyoutochecktherequirementswithyourdepartmentRegardlessoftheabovedistinctionsyoushouldneverseewritingaproposalasaworthlesschoreIndeed,ifitisn'tformallyrequired,itisaverygoodideatowriteoneanywayYoucanuseittoyouradvantageItalwaysforcesyoutothinkaboutyourtopic,toseethescopeofyourresearch,andtoreviewthesuitabilityofyourmethodologyHavingsomethinginwritingalsogivesanopportunitytoyoursupervisortojudgethefeasibilityoftheproject(whetheritispossibletofinishintime,costs,theequipmentneededandotherpracticalities,timeneededforsupervision),toassessitslikelihoodofsuccess,anditsabilitytomeettheacademicstandardrequiredofaPhDthesisWhiletherearenohardandfastrulesgoverningthestructureofaproposal,atypicalonewouldinclude:aimsandobjectives,significance,reviewofpreviousresearchintheareashowingtheneedforconductingtheproposedresearch,proposedmethods,expectedoutcomesandtheirimportanceInexperimentallybasedresearchitoftenincludesdetailedrequirementsforequipment,materials,fieldtrips,technicalassistanceandanestimationofthecostsItcouldalsoincludeanapproximatetimebywhicheachstageistobecompletedwriteaabstractIndeed,thefinalversionoftheabstractwillneedtobewrittenafteryouhavefinishedreadingyourthesisforthelasttimeHowever,ifyouthinkaboutwhatithastocontain,yourealisethattheabstractisreallyaminithesisBothhavetoanswerthefollowingspecificquestions:WhatwasdoneWhywasitdoneHowwasitdoneWhatwasfoundWhatisthesignificanceofthefindingsTherefore,anabstractwrittenatdifferentstagesofyourworkwillhelpyoutocarryashortversionofyourthesisinyourheadThiswillfocusyourthinkingonwhatitisyouarereallydoing,helpyoutoseetherelevanceofwhatyouarecurrentlyworkingonwithinthebiggerpicture,andhelptokeepthelinkswhichwilleventuallyunifyyourthesisProcessTheactualprocessofwritinganabstractwillforceyoutojustifyandclearlystateyouraims,toshowhowyourmethodologyfitstheaims,tohighlightthemajorfindingsandtodeterminethesignificanceofwhatyouhavedoneThebeautyofitisthatyoucantalkaboutthisinveryshortparagraphsandseeifthewholeworksButwhenyoudoallofthesethingsinseparatechaptersyoucaneasilylosethethreadornotmakeitexplicitenoughIfyouhavetroublewritinganabstractatthesedifferentstages,thenthiscouldshowthatthepartswithwhichyouarehavingaproblemarenotwellconceptualisedyetWeoftenhearthatwritinganabstractcan'tbedoneuntiltheresultsareknownandanalysedButthepointwearestressingisthatitisaworkingtoolthatwillhelptogetyouthereBeforeyouknowwhatyou'vefound,youhavetohavesomeexpectationofwhatyouaregoingtofindasthisexpectationispartofwhatisleadingyoutoinvestigatetheproblemInwritingyourabstractatdifferentstages,anypartyouhaven'tdoneyoucouldwordasapredictionForexample,atonestageyoucouldwrite,"Theanalysisisexpectedtoshowthat…"Then,atthenextstage,youwouldbeabletowrite"Theanalysisshowedthat…"or"Contrarytoexpectation,theanalysisshowedthat…"Thefinal,finishedabstracthastobeasgoodasyoucanmakeitItisthefirstthingyourreaderwillturntoandthereforecontrolswhatthefirstimpressionofyourworkwillbeTheabstracthas·tobeshortnomorethanaboutwords·tosaywhatwasdoneandwhy,howitwasdone,themajorthingsthatwerefound,andwhatisthesignificanceofthefindings(rememberingthatthethesiscouldhavecontributedtomethodologyandtheoryaswell)Inshort,theabstracthastobeabletostandaloneandbeunderstoodseparatelyfromthethesisitselfIsthereaparticularthesisstructureIhavetofollowTherearecertainconventionsspecifictocertaindisciplinesHowever,thesestructuresarenotimposedonapieceofworkTherearelogicalreasonswhythereisaconventionalwayofstructuringthethesis,whichisafteralltheaccountofwhatyou'veachievedthroughyourresearchResearchisofcoursenotconductedinthestepbystepwaythisstructuresuggests,butitgivesthereaderthemostaccessiblewayofseeingwhythisresearchwasdone,howitwasdoneand,mostimportantly,whathasbeenachievedIfyouputsidebysideallthequestionsyouhadtoanswertofinishyourresearchandwhatisoftenproposedasatypicalstructureofathesis,thenyouseethelogicofthearrangementThatdoesnotmean,however,thatyouhavetonameyourchaptersinthiswayInsomedisciplines,itveryoftenislikethisinothers,thisstructureisimpliedForexample,inmanysciencetheses,thefollowingbasicallyisthestructureinmanyhumanitiestheses,thefinalstructurelooksverydifferent,althoughallofthesequestionsareansweredonewayoranotherWhyamIdoingitIntroductionSignificanceWhatisknownWhatisunknownReviewofresearchIdentifyinggapsWhatdoIhopetodiscoverAimsHowamIgoingtodiscoveritMethodologyWhathaveIfoundResultsWhatdoesitmeanDiscussionSowhatWhatarethepossibleapplicationsorrecommendationsWhatcontributiondoesitmaketoknowledgeWhatnextConclusionsOccasionallyathesisiswrittenwhichdoesnotinanywaycomplywiththisstructureGenerallythereasonsyouwanttohavearecognised,transparentstructurearethat,tosomeextent,itisexpectedandtheconventionalstructureallowsreadersreadyaccesstotheinformationIf,however,youwanttopublishabookbasedonthethesis,itislikelythestructurewouldneedtobealteredforthedifferentgenreandaudienc
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