I'm doing Independent Study...WTH have I got myself into?!

Last semester I did a Research Seminar, in which the end product was a research proposal. This semester, time to carry it out.

My topic is: “The Sexual Behavior of People with Physical Disabilities”.


I’m assuming they want the results to be more than autobiographical?

Yup. My proposal included a survey I’ll need to administer. Just seems overwhelming ATM. Sure it’ll be better once I get going.

I’m planning on being on campus 12-6, M-Th. Is this too much or not enough?

Why are you asking us and not your supervisor or supervisors for the project? No-one here can possibly have enough information to answer questions like this. All we know is what you have told us. We do not know what your school’s expectations and regulations are. We do not even know the contents of your research proposal. On the other hand, it is your supervisor’s job to know these things and to help you meet requirements. Ask them. It is what they are there for.

For what?

njtt- I mentioned the topic in the OP. I was asking advice from people who’ve been in my position. If you don’t want to offer advice, please avoid this thread going forward. I sincerely appreciate it.

It seems to me that njtt was offering excellent advice. Given the information we know nobody will be able to give information as well as your supervisor if there is one.

The amount of help we will be able to give will depend on the information we are given.

One of the big problems I had with my research project was finding people to take the survey. I’d start thinking about this straight away, and talk to people and get some prospects lined up. Campus might not be the right place for this.

I’d also say talk to your supervisor about any problems that arise, about expectations and requirements. That is what they are for. If you start winging it, it is very easy to get hopelessly lost, procrastinate too much, or spend too much time on a less important aspect and miss something. Supervisors know how these projects are supposed to run, so make sure you talk to yours enough to stay on track.

Are you restricting the survey just to your fellow students or will you be throwing a wider net?

As a faculty member who supervises undergrad and graduate thesis students I echo the advice to ask your prof. Each professor, department, school etc will have different expectations. Plus, it’s important to lay out your schedule and plan, so everyone is on the same page. If your prof questions your progress are you really going to be comfortable saying “people on a message board said it’d be enough time?”

Also, FWIW, the contents of a research proposal and the title/topic are not the same thing. njtt was spot on.

Yep, ask the supervising prof.

Did your research proposal include a timeline with dates and research benchmarks? Check your progress against that timeline once a week or so. If you’re hitting the benchmarks, then your schedule is oke; if you’re not, then you need to put more time into it.

Do you have to go through IRB approval for the survey? If so, that’s something that you probably need to start ASAP.

I did the IRB piece last semester. I have contacts in the community. I also will be posting a SurveyMonkey link on Facebook. Btw, I just took the good advice of e-mailing her.

What are you planning on being on campus for? Are you saying that’s time you will spend interviewing/surveying? Reviewing data? I don’t understand the question.

When is this due? Do you have a schedule? If not, I suggest preparing one. Building and sticking to a schedule is what got me through my research, because I was really only accountable to myself.

What are your research question(s)?

I already tried asking this question. He ignored it.

Ambi- I DIDN’T see it! If I was ignoring you, you’d know it. I’ll be on campus monitoring the survey results, meeting with the advisor, and writing notes about my experience. (those are 25% of my grade) It will be due mid-May. I started this thread looking for perspective from people who’ve been there. It was probably a mistake on my part.

Well I’ve been there, I just don’t know what you’re looking for specifically. You haven’t provided enough information yet.

How big does the final thesis report need to be? Have you created your outline yet? What are your research question(s)?

You’re going to spend 24 hours a week checking a SurveyMonkey survey (15 minutes/day), meeting with your advisor (2-3 hours/week?), and focusing on the 25% written portion of your project? I think you’re going to be bored stiff for the remaining 15 hours each week, and could possibly be putting your project at risk. What did your semester long research proposal say you’d be doing with your time to ensure success? A Facebook survey and a personal anecdote?

Unfortunately every project is different. My students are in the lab many hours a week running experiments, and then spend time away analyzing data, designing new experiments and writing things up, so the amount of on campus time you listed might work, or might not, depending on the particular week. Other thesis work can be done mostly away from campus, only needing to check in occasionally. Depending on your advisor’s expectations, time on campus could vary wildly. It’s just way too hard to extrapolate from one person’s experience to another.

However M-Th 12-6 are nice blocks of time, so unless you are really bogged down in the material it seems you’ve preliminarily blocked a good chunk of time to be on campus analyzing and reviewing data.