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Research Guide: Planning

This Guide provides post graduate students with the tips and tools necessary to successfully complete their research.

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Time management and Goals

Before you can make any plans, you need to know what to plan for. Empower yourself and go find out the procedures involved in having your research proposal approved. For example, some Departments have small committee meetings (where feedback on proposals are received by other members of your Department), Research Committees (where your proposal is approved) and Ethical Clearance or Faculty Ethics Committees (where your proposal receives ethical clearance). The procedures in your Department might be different... go find out!‚Äč


The SMART principles, created by Peter Drucker (1954), can be used when planning your research:

  • Specific - What would you like to accomplish with a Master's or PhD? What goals will I set for myself?
  • Measurable - How will I achieve my goals? How will I measure my progress? How will I know when a goal has been achieved?
  • Attainable - Prioritise your goals in order of importance. Are my goals achievable? Have I clearly specified my goals?
  • Realistic/Relevant - Are my goals realistic? Do my goals represent my end goal? Are my goals relevant to my life purpose? Am I willing to achieve my goals?
  • Time Bound - How will I stay motivated? How much time will I spend on achieving each goal?

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