SPEAKER 1: Core Skills for New Researchers: Beingan effective project manager.In this video we're going discuss the concept of projectmanaging your research.We're going to look at the five basic phases of projectmanagement-- and then we're goingto work through a one semester projectwhere we really look at the overlay between these fivephases of project conception, project definition, project
SPEAKER 1 [continued]: launch, project performance, and project closingand how they relate to the steps in a research project.We're then going to finish off the videoby looking at key project management tools,things like mapping and Gantt charting.It is really important to think about project managementwhen you're doing a research project.It's absolutely critical to timely completion.
SPEAKER 1 [continued]: Being organized is as important to completing researchas your intellect or curiosity.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY: Do you have project management skills?[Dr. Zina O'Leary, Senior Fellow] Some of you will,and they will definitely come to the fore.And without even trying, managing your research processis likely to call on those project management skills.So there won't be that much new for you,although I'll try to map out the processes of researchin relation to project management steps.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Now, what if you're new to project management,and you haven't really thought about project management?Well, that's all right.With a little bit of conscious thought,the processes involved in researchcan be mapped against basic phases of a project--basic phases of project management.The advantage here is that you'relikely to complete in a timely fashion
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: when you use that skill set.The other advantage is that you'regoing to develop project management skills--and that's a fantastic thing, because having projectmanagement skills is important in every job you will everhave.So, let's talk about the five basic phasesof project management.The first is initiation, so just getting a project
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: off the ground--the second, planning and design--what am I going to do-- how am I going to do it--when am I going to do it--so really working out the whole process of the project.The third phase is execution, actually doing itwith research, collecting data, doing the analysis.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: The fourth phase, monitoring and controlling--so quality assurance, checking inon what you're doing, maybe sometimes tryingto rejig your design and plan and execute again.We do that in research, for example, with a pilot.So we pilot a survey-- we pilot the interview processes--
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: we check it out and see how it's going--and, then, sometimes we have to redesign and do again.And, finally, with a project, the fifth stage is closing--closing out that project-- and, certainly, that's somethingyou have to do in research.So, let's talk about a one semester projectand how this might play out.So, you've got 13 weeks to do a project.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Let's talk about initiation-- the first phase-- projectconception and initiation.What's involved there?Well, I think there's three things.The first is to determine your research question.What is it that I really want to know, all right?So this comes from your problem identificationand then your research question.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Let's use an example here.One of the things I was thinking about was--I think it was something that one of my studentswas working on--what types of music enhance concentrationin high school students?So what types of music can help students concentrate?That's an interesting research question.So what else do we need to do?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: We've got the research question-- is that enoughfor project conception and initiation?No-- you need to get approval.You may need to get supervisor approval, supervisor support.This could be at any level from a teacherstraight up to a professor, straight up to a committee--if you're going for PhD--and then you're also going to need ethics approval.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: So, supervisor support, research question, supervisor support,and ethics approval.Those are some things that you'llneed just to get your project off the ground, all right?Because that support, if you get itfrom your supervisor and the approval committee,means that you'll have some resourcingand it means that the timing is good.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: So those are the things you'll need to initiate any project,and that's how it might unfold in research.So, how does planning and design mapwith the one semester project?So, you've quickly gotten your approvals.You're ready to start.Project definition and planning correlateswith methodological design.What is your methodological plan?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: How are you going to collect data?If you want to know what types of music enhance concentrationin high school students-- well, you have to think about I needto talk to high school students--maybe I need to set up an experiment--maybe I need to see if I can measure concentration somehow,whether it's a self-assessment or some other kind of tool--
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: what's out there--how can I do this--do I need to look at different types of music--what types of music am I going to compare--is this going to be something we're I'mgoing to need a variety of types of students,because some students might like some types of musicbetter than others.So that whole concept of project definition and planningcorrelates with methodological design,
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: and it also correlates with the timing of that design.So, when do I need--I only have 13 weeks--when do I need to have the design worked out--when will I need to set up my experiment--when will I need to talk to students--when will I need to have all the data collected--when will I need to analyze the data--when will I need to start my write up--all of those considerations are really
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: important in this phase of project definitionand planning, OK?So, you have that plan now.We want to go into the project launch or execution--the third phase--and that correlates with your data collection, OK?So that's all about collecting your data,
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: setting up your experiment, having different studentslisten to music--and this has to happen quite quickly.You've only just gotten your design worked outand your approvals--and now you're sitting down with studentsand having them maybe take a little testbefore and after having listened to different types of musicand really collecting all of that data.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: That's for most students, the project launch.Now, I'll give you a tip.There's another way you can launch a project,and that's with reading.A lot of students do want to dive straight into the datacollection, and that's when they feel they've really gottheir project off the ground.But don't underestimate the valueof looking at past research and doing your reading.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: So there's two different ways you can really kick off,but that execution is when that data and that knowledge really,really start to come in--and, so, execution, getting data,and starting to think about what it all means--and that takes us to monitor and controlling.So, you're getting data.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: What are some of the challenges in your methodological design--are the students paying attention--are they listening to different types of music effectively--are they complaining-- are they concentrating--are they taking it seriously-- are you not able to getthe time that you thought--are some students-- what are all of the things thatare coming up for you?
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: What's the quality of the data like--because there's always a need to assess, reassess, redesign,try again.So this is why we like to do data collection quite early, sothat we can rejig and re-think and re-plan.So, we're constantly needing to use that quality control just
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: as it says in the five phases of project management--fourth phase--monitoring and controlling-- constantly assessingwhat's coming in--looking at your interview data--making sure you're completely comfortable with howit's going, all right?Data checks, having a backup plan, all of those thingsare really important.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Finally, we want to work toward the project close--the final phase in project management.And, in research, this is going to be somethingthat happens toward the end.You're going to be drawing conclusions--you're going to be reporting--and, then-- really important-- youwant to disseminate results.You want to make sure that researchers never waste itas an exercise-- that it is something that other people get
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: to hear about.So that closing, for me, is not justabout finishing off a report, it'sabout opening a door to something in the futureand really sharing that.So that project gets mapped against initiation, planningand design, executing, monitoring, and closing.So, quite handy when you're thinking about research
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: in relation to project managementis to utilize project management tools.So, if you're going to think like someonedoing project management, you might as welluse what's out there.And there's two types of tools that Iwould recommend you start with.One is what's called a project board.And you can Google this and have a lookand there's different software programs for it.But really think about it in terms of sticky notes
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: that you can move around--so what's happening now-- what needs to happen.Really, it's almost like a movable mind mapthat you do on a white board with sticky notesor on a computer.So, a project board-- different types of categories--different ways of mapping a project--and it's nice to see your sticky notesmove from left to right over toward completion.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: So, I find it quite motivating when I'm thinking-- all right--needs to be done, doing, complete, moving everythingover and having different color coding.It's a nice way of tracking a projectand making it seem like there's progress, even-- because, look,sometimes when you're doing research,you'll feel like you're treading water and nothing's happening.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: But if you create that project boardand you can see that movement across, that's a good thing.The other thing that I recommend all students dois use a Gantt chart.Now, a Gantt chart is simply a timeline of--that it consists of all the thingsthat you need to do down the column and the timeline
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: across the top--and then you just fill in the blanks of whenyou're going to do something.And it's really a tool for accountability.Now, some of you may be doing a group project,and that's nice as a shared tool--but even when you're doing it for yourself,it's really good to know what your timelines are.I write an awful lot, and one of the reasons my publisher likes
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: me is that I've never missed a deadline-- and peopledon't understand how I can do that when I'm working full timeand I have a year to write a book.The way I do it is that I know that chapter 3 is due on March15th only to myself--but if I don't finish it on March 15th and I let it slip,that slippage tends to continue and thenI won't get the project done.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: So there have been times where, on March 13th,I haven't had enough done and I mayneed to pull a couple all nightersto make that internal deadline and I do--because if I don't make the chapter 3deadline on March 15th, I'm not going to make the book deadlinein December.So, I take those Gantt chart quite seriously.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Because when you're doing a project,there is definitely a defined timeline--it might be a semester--it might be a year--it may be three years for a PhD--but the time goes so much faster than you want it to.And if you're not really keeping track--if you're not really being accountable--
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: time absolutely slips.And one of the things that's completely underestimatedis how long it can take to go from a penultimate draftto a final draft, so you really want to work in that frame.And, I think, project managing your researchis a really good way of assuring you'll get everything done.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Think about that project as part of that five step projectmanagement ideal and then use the tools to really helpyou work through that project--get that project board going--use the Gantt chart--have accountability.I have seen many people struggle with research.
DR. ZINA O'LEARY [continued]: Very, very few struggle because theydon't have the intellectual capacity.They struggle because they're not organized.So being organized is as criticalto research as your curiosity or your intellect.
Series Name: Core Skills for New Researchers
Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd
Publication Year: 2018
Methods: Researcher skills
Keywords: accountability (education); Gantt charts; management; management skills; management styles; methodology; project management; project managers; quality control; quality improvement ... Show More
Segment Num.: 1
Dr. Zina O'Leary discusses managing research, the five phases of project management, and provides an example of a one semester project.
Looks like you do not have access to this content.
Dr. Zina O'Leary discusses managing research, the five phases of project management, and provides an example of a one semester project.