Researching your FYP
Each FYP is different, and how you go about your research will depend on your topic and approach. Throughout the process, you should regularly discuss your research plan, the sources that you intend to study, and the methods that you intend to use with your supervisor.
Pattie Punch, Librarian for the Faculty of Arts,
Humanities & Social Sciences, Glucksman Library
Planning your research
Once you have settled on your research question(s) you should identify the key tasks that need to be completed. These might be, for example, interviews that you intend to conduct, books and articles that you plan to read, questionnaires that you intend to distribute, data that you want to collect, and so on. Some of these tasks might be quite complex, and you should also spend time thinking about the different things that you will need to do in order to successfully carry out those tasks. For example, if you want to interview people, you may need to spend time in advance applying for ethical approval, reading up on interview techniques, preparing your questions, contacting your interviewees and arranging interview times.
Once you have a rough idea about your key tasks, then you should plan out how and when you are going to carry them out. You may find it helpful to illustrate your research plan with a Gantt chart. When planning your research schedule, don’t forget to factor in time for revisions, for breaks, and for your other commitments (such as exams).
Getting the most out of the library
The Glucksman library (www.ul.ie/~library) contains an extensive catalogue of books and academic journals, both in print and online, and it should be your first port of call. When searching for materials on your research topic, you may find it helpful to use the various subject databases available on the library website.
If there is a book that you think might be important for your project but is not held by the Glucksman library, then you may be able to order it through ‘Inter-library loans’. You should enquire at the Library Information Desk, or speak to the Faculty Librarian for guidance. The librarian for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is Pattie Punch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You must give full consideration to the ethical implications of your research. In particular, all research activities involving the use of human beings participating in research must be reviewed and approved by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee. In the first instance, you should speak to your supervisor for guidance. Full details about the ethical approval process can be found here.
Advice from past FYP students
“Maintain a constant work ethic…one FYP day a week will keep you focused and up to date with the work.”
“Maintain contact with your supervisor throughout. Show them your drafts to ensure what you are doing is correct and to get their feedback. Agree to deadlines so that you definitely get the work done”
“Keep a record of your ideas as they ferment by using a diary.”
“Start your reading early and keep all of your notes in one place.”
“Sometimes I felt frustrated when I hit a dead end, as my supervisor wouldn’t just give me the answer. But this is good as it was my research project and he wanted me to come up with my own ideas. He was there to aid me in my decision making, not to give me the actual ideas for my FYP!”
“Stay focused throughout the year and do not fall behind in your research.”
“Use the summer months for reading and research, a few hours a week does not kill anyone and it will be a major help when you start fourth year in September.”