For the first time in my life I am conducting an academic research project. Many students do a dissertation as part of their bachelors degree, but I chose not to. I took all my CIPD exams, but again chose not to do any research. So why did I choose to the research project as the final module for my Diploma in Careers Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education?
Well partly it was because I wasn’t particularly interested in the remaining taught courses available to me, but mainly it’s because it’s about time I did some proper research. I’ve done loads of research in my career – paper & online questionnaires, focus groups, structured interviews and so on, but I’d never taken the time and effort to understand how to do it to academic levels, or even what ‘academic levels’ actually meant. I assumed that academic research was something complex, and difficult, and cumbersome, and somehow beyond me, so it was something I avoided. I’m now finding out that actually all the ‘academic’ parts really mean doing some decent preparation and agreeing in advance what you are going to do, and what questions you are looking to address – not too daunting at all, just good practice.
It’s only right that I’ve pushed myself through this barrier, because that’s what I ask my clients to do everyday – to challenge their assumptions, to give something a go, to take a risk. What barriers are you going to push through today?