How to Complete a Successful
Research Project

By: Kathleen McMillan & Jonathan Weyers
September 2014
Pearson Education
Distributed by Trans-Atlantic Publications Inc.
ISBN: 9780273773924
308 Pages
$39.50 Paper Original


A practical, step-by-step guide to planning, researching and writing a research project for undergraduate students approaching a research project for the first time.

Undertaking a large-scale, original research project can be extremely daunting and challenging to any student. Using the tried-and-tested Smarter Student series approach, style and pedagogy to deliver timely, practical, hands-on guidance based on real-life experience from students and lecturers alike, this book will be an invaluable tutorial and reference for any student approaching an undergraduate or masters research project for the first time.

This book will guide the student through all of the key areas that they will need to deliver a successful research project, providing practical guidance, examples and hints and tips for success on areas such as:

  • Choosing a theme and topic for your research
  • Writing the proposal
  • Working with your supervisor
  • Planning and managing your time and activity
  • Analysing and evaluating data
  • Successful academic writing styles and conventions
  • Correct citing, referencing and avoiding plagiarism
  • Ethics in research
  • Researching and compiling the literature survey
  • Methods of collecting and analysing data
  • Writing-up and presenting your findings

An essential guide to academic success!

About the authors



How to use this book


1 Taking on a research investigation – how to approach the challenges of project work

Planning your research project

2 Choosing a research topic – how to decide on a theme for your investigation

3 Framing a research question – how to set targets and formulate hypotheses to test

4 Writing a project proposal – how to structure a formal research plan

5 Planning and managing time – how to organise your investigation and submit on time

6 Working successfully with a supervisor – how to make the most of your relationship

Researching the literature

7 Finding relevant source material – how to develop your information literacy skills

8 Assessing content in the literature – how to evaluate published information in your field

9 Interpreting published data – how to understand graphs, tables and basic statistics

10 Note-making from research sources – how to record information for use in your investigation

11 Organising your research materials – how to collect and file information and details of references

Research approaches

12 Using quantitative research methods – how to obtain and analyse numerical information

13 Using qualitative research methods – how to obtain and analyse descriptive information

14 Conducting experiments and field studies – how to design and perform lab and field investigations

15 Designing and carrying out surveys and interviews – how to obtain relevant information from research participants

16 Thinking in research contexts – how to apply method to produce valid, original ideas for your investigation

17 Arriving at a position and supporting it – how to sift fact and opinion and express your conclusions

18 Following guidelines on ethics and safety – how to observe good research practice in your investigation

Data analysis and presentation

19 Analysing data – how to manipulate and interpret your results with simple, effective techniques

20 Presenting data – how to display information, graphs and tables to academic standard

The writing process

21 Planning the writing phase – how to organise your work effectively to produce the best-quality product on time

22 Writing up in the approved format – how to report on your research using standard structure and content

23 Writing up in the appropriate style – how to use academic language and well-organised discourse to express your ideas and findings

24 Citing, referencing and avoiding plagiarism – how to refer appropriately to the work and ideas of others

25 Reviewing, editing and proofreading – how to enhance the quality of your write-up

26 Acting on feedback – how to interpret and learn from what your supervisor writes on your drafts

27 Presenting your project for assessment – how to submit your work appropriately

List of references