Creating your thesis or dissertation - Part 1, 2 & 3

This is a generic 3 day workshop aimed at postgraduate students from different SU departments and faculties. It is intended to complement and support the work of students' academic departments and supervisors. 
 
This three-day workshop covers the full research process, each day builds on what was covered the previous day.  The three-day format (see below) allows a considerable amount of content to be covered. It gives sufficient time for group work, feedback and individual interactions.
 
Note: It is important to attend all three days, as this workshop has been designed as an integrated, three-day package.  Part 1 precedes the Creating your thesis or dissertation Part 2 and Part 3 sessions.
 
Part (Day) 1: The research proposal
On day 1, the fundamentals of research are covered – what research is, ethical considerations in research, the importance of narrowing down the scope of the research project, defining key terminology (such as the research question, problem statement, aims and objectives) and the importance of a well-conceptualised research proposal.  The structure of a comprehensive research proposal is addressed, with each component discussed in detail.  In the afternoon, there is a group exercise, in which participants are asked to formulate and present the key components of a research proposal, and are then given feedback.
 
Part (Day) 2: Research design and methodology
Day 2 is spent looking at research design and methodology.  The importance of effective record keeping, as well as different types of data and commonly used research methods across a range of disciplines are addressed.  Also covered: key concepts that examiners are likely to raise, such as sampling, error, bias, reliability, validity and pilot testing; and a quick look at data analysis, both quantitative and qualitative.  Examples of a comprehensive research design and methodology chapter are uitlised, so that participants have a framework within which to structure and plan for their research design and methodology.  Project management principles in research are also covered.  In the afternoon, participants go back into their groups from the previous day, make changes in the light of the feedback received and then take the exercise further and develop a detailed research design and methodology.  
 
Part (Day) 3: Thesis writing
Important initial considerations, such as when to start writing, institutional requirements regarding the thesis, the process of editing, writer’s block and other problems that students may have, which may act as stumbling blocks to the completion of the thesis are covered on day 3. Different structures of a thesis, what goes where and how to write the different chapters or sections are also discussed.  Special emphasis is placed on writing a high quality literature review.  Common mistakes in academic writing that students make when writing their theses are also looked at.  There is a detailed consideration of the thesis examination process, what can go wrong and how to address examiners’ feedback.
 
It is strongly recommended that participants attend all three days, as each day builds on material that was covered in the previous part(s). The workshops (Part 1, 2 and 3) can either be attended over 3 consecutive days or over a few months with intervals between Parts.
 
Language:
The workshop is presented in English.
 
Cost:
Free to registered postgraduate students. Includes refreshments and a light lunch. 
 
Target Audience:
Current and prospective Master's and PhD students at Stellenbosch, especially those at the start of their research degrees.
 
Venue:
To be confirmed with registered participants.