The honest truth here is that it is so important that it can become quite overwhelming for some people.
Prepare an article on the outcomes of your research. Usually the early phases of a graduate program proceed in clear and very structured ways. The beginning phases of a graduate program proceed in much the same manner as an undergraduate degree program.
There are clear requirements and expectations, and the graduate student moves along, step by step, getting ever closer to the completion of the program. This is a new and different time. These next steps are more and more defined by you and not your adviser, the program, or the department.
Be inclusive with your thinking. Don't try to eliminate ideas too quickly. Build on your ideas and see how many different research projects you can identify. Give yourself the luxury of being expansive in your thinking at this stage -- you won't be able to do this later on.
Try and be creative. Write down your ideas. This will allow you to revisit an idea later on. Or, you can modify and change an idea. If you don't write your ideas they tend to be in a continual state of change and you will probably have the feeling that you're not going anywhere.
What a great feeling it is to be able to sit down and scan the many ideas you have been thinking about, if they're written down. Try not to be overly influenced at this time by what you feel others expect from you your colleagues, your profession, your academic department, etc. You have a much better chance of selecting a topic that will be really of interest to you if it is your topic.
This will be one of the few opportunities you may have in your professional life to focus in on a research topic that is really of your own choosing. Don't begin your thinking by assuming that your research will draw international attention to you!!
Instead, be realistic in setting your goal. Make sure your expectations are tempered by: If you can keep these ideas in mind while you're thinking through your research you stand an excellent chance of having your research project turn out well.
Be realistic about the time that you're willing to commit to your research project. If it's a 10 year project that you're thinking about admit it at the beginning and then decide whether or not you have 10 years to give to it.
If the project you'd like to do is going to demand more time than you're willing to commit then you have a problem.
I know it's still early in your thinking but it's never too early to create a draft of a timeline. Try using the 6 Stages see the next item and put a start and a finish time for each. Post your timeline in a conspicuous place above your computer monitor?
Periodically update your timeline with new dates as needed.
Thanks to a website visitor from Philadelphia for sharing this idea. If you're going to ask for a leave of absence from your job while you're working on your research this isn't a good time to do it.
Chances are you can do the "thinking about it" stage without a leave of absence. This is the time when you really need to be thinking well. To be able to work at your writing in large blocks of time without interruptions is something really important.Get writing help at the Center for Writing Excellence at University of Phoenix.
We offer online writing tutoring and online writing assistance for online and campus students.
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