Basic research skills every postgraduate student should know

  • As one moves towards specialization and higher levels of education, as students, they are required to polish and tune their skills to the point of perfection.

    The 2002 Robert review stated that post-grad students research skills not only make them great team players but also more employable.

    The problem, however, remains is that during the course of our graduate studies, most of us fail to grasp basic research skills that help go a long way when pursuing post-grad studies.

    Some of the very basic research skills that help one not only excel at postgrad research but also help one develop themselves and their thought process in a way that is purely self-developmental.

    Learn to work independently

    One of the most drastic changes is the shift from a more controlled environment to one that allows more wiggle room.

    When looking to do research during the course of your postgraduate studies, it is essential that you learn to work and find a pace that works for you.

    Anthony McClaran, Chief Executive, QAA says that independent learning is critical to achieving the level demanded by higher education and developing a skills-set that employers value.

    Learn to sift through large volumes of data

    One of the most important things when doing a postgraduate research is the sifting of useful information. If you’re using online journals, or studies to source your information; it is likely that this information will be available in large quantities.

    Learning and mastering the skill of sifting through this large volume of information and finding the relevant material is essential.

    Therefore, one of the most basic skills is that of handpicking relevant information from large volumes of data and studies.

    Gather your own data

    Simply relying on the Internet is not enough. Every student looking to understand how to effectively research needs to gather their own data to a certain extent.

    The use of questionnaires, surveys and other data collection methodologies help you with the topic you’re looking to research.

    Work toward developing effective reading skills and critical thinking

    Sifting and collecting data is one thing and but both are heavily reliant on effective reading skills. A student who does not know how to read what is written and read what is between the lines will not be able to go very far when researching.

    If it not only important to have data but also know how to process it and make more inferences from it.

    An integral part of postgraduate research is critical thinking and analysis. Critical thinking enables you to look into your research and see the part come together like a puzzle.

    These are some of the very basic research skills for anyone pursuing their post-graduate studies. It is also important to understand that one should always look at a multitude of sources when looking to gather information to base your research on.

    Once you have all the relevant research, it is only a matter of presenting it in the most effective way possible.


    Physics, I. O. (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2017, from the Web

    Swain, H. (2010, March 15). Postgraduate research degrees lead to greater employability. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from the Web

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