Workshop and discussion exercises

Practice with these exercises to prepare for your seminars and wider research.

1. Developing a research question:
(a) Work in pairs or small groups.
(b) Brainstorm topics that you’re interested in studying and write them down on paper or a white board. Spend about 15 minutes doing this.
(c) Organise the topics into groups if there are many.
(d) Select a topic and start to consider different ways you could examine it using a concept map or spider diagram.
(e) Consider alternative questions on the chosen topic.
(f) Decide on a research question.

2. Taking the research question you have written for exercise 1, write a short reflexive piece (up to 800 words) describing how you have decided on this question. Consider:
(a) What factors have influenced your decision to choose this topic?
(b) What assumptions may underpin your decision to choose this topic?

3. Developing a research proposal. Take the research question you have written for exercise 1, and using the headings below begin to devise an outline research proposal. Make notes as to what you would include under each heading:

  • Introduction
  • Research question or aim
  • Objectives
  • Methods
  • Data analysis
  • Dissemination

This will not work as a linear process – go backwards and forwards between the areas and make adjustments.

If you are working as a small group or pair as part of a larger group session, present your draft proposal to the larger group. Their questions and comments will help you to revise your research question and proposal.

Ask a friend or fellow student to summarise back to you what you are planning to do.

4. Working alone or in a small group, look at one or more of the social science funding websites below. Identify a funding stream you are interested in. Read through the criteria for funding. Write an outline for a research study (up to 800 words). Note areas of knowledge, skills and training you will need to undertake this study: