Research Top Tips

Identify a role and location for yourself when you will be ‘hanging out’ so you are not in the way: can you shadow students/new staff? Or sit in a reception area?

Think about how (notebook? Dictate to phone?) and when (breaks?) you will be taking notes or recording.

Take opportunities to gain experiential data about your topic if possible: by taking part in the intervention you are evaluating, or spending a day as a volunteer, or shadowing participants.

Always write up your observational notes in full as soon as you are able to do so: however tired you are, they will make more sense than they do the next day.

Being introduced by a known person is almost always more productive than cold calling, so use all your networks (friends of friends; supervisors’ colleagues; people in your social network) to help with introductions to potential gatekeepers.