In my class, students are required to answer all 33 of these questions for a research article that reports about an experimental study in their discipline.
You are well on your way to formulating good, workable hypotheses, and you now know at least how to start reviewing the literature and making sense out of the hundreds of available resources. But what you may not know, especially if you have never participated in any kind of research endeavor, is how much time it will take you to progress from your very first visit to the library to your final examination or submission of the finished research report. That is what you will learn here.Although you still have plenty to learn about the research process, now is a good time to get a feel for the other activities you will have to undertake in order to complete your research project. It is also helpful to get a sense of how much time these activities might take.First the activities. Table 13.1 shows an example of a checklist of activities you probably need to complete in order to complete your proposal (or research). The activities are grouped by the general headings previously discussed.Now for computing how much time the process will take. One effective way to do this is to estimate how much time each individual activity (writing the literature review, collecting data, etc.) will require, using some standard measure, such as days, keeping in mind that sometimes things go
Now take the average of these values. To be more precise, let’s break workdays into 4-hour chunks (for morning and evening) and call each chunk one unit of time. There are then 10 units of time in 1 week. If you enter Table 13.1 as a spreadsheet (using a program such as Excel), you can easily sum the columns as you fiddle and tinker with the amount of necessary time.
ActivityTime EstimatesWhen Things Go Just as PlannedWhen Things Don’t Go Exactly as PlannedWhen Things Don’t Go Well at AllIntroduction
______________________________________________________Review of the Literature
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________For example, let’s look at a search through primary sources (as part of the literature review) and estimate that it will take you
Once you have these estimates, average them for the activity, and you will have a singular estimate of how long any one activity should take, such as,( 8 + 12 + 16 )3 = 12 unitsor 6 days, which is about one very full week’s work (if you work on Saturday or Sunday).If you want to be even more precise, weight the estimates. For example, let’s say that you anticipate having trouble finding a sample, and at best you can expect things to go only okay. Writing the descriptive section, though, should be a snap. You should weight the “not as well as planned” estimate two or three times greater than the others.These estimates can be computed for all the activities you see in Table 13.1 and then summed to get an estimate for the overall activity. Keep in mind that everything takes longer than you initially think, so be generous, even for your most optimistic estimate.