Tips for Undertaking a Group Research Project
Doing the final year research project is not a simple task, but it can get more comfortable when done in a group. Not all courses give students the option of undertaking their research project as a group task, and there are even those where group assignments are a must.
Regardless, there are advantages and disadvantages to doing a research project in a group. If, on the one hand, work is more distributed; on the other, you may have to give up control over the research that will unfold. However, the exchange of ideas can be very beneficial for developing the research to be worked on. Another detail is that teamwork can preview what you will find when working in the corporate world upon graduation.
Doing a research project in a group takes a lot of responsibility and dedication from everyone involved, but the effort is worth it, given the exchange of ideas resulting from all the work. For you who are afraid of what awaits you in teamwork, we have listed nine tips to help you do well in your group research project. Check them out below:
Useful tips for doing a research project in a group
1. Affinity is not everything when it comes to forming a research project group
Group work can be an excellent opportunity to join forces with your best friends and have more tranquility and relaxation, but this is not always the case. The research project is the most important job that an undergraduate student will perform and, therefore, involves much more effort, concentration, and stress in the process.
So, know how to separate friendship from a partnership in a job. Your friend is not always the most exciting person to prepare the research with you, whether due to postures facing greater responsibilities, ideals, or even different areas of interest within the course.
2. The definition of the theme needs to be a consensus of the group
Doing an undergraduate degree on a topic you don’t like is undoubtedly not an excellent way to complete a degree. The research is precisely the work where you can show everything you have learned during the course by working on a topic of interest.
In a group research project, it is essential that everyone is aligned and agrees with the chosen theme. Brainstorm with your group, find out everyone’s interests and talk about it: come to a consensus on what kind of topic or research focus might be of general interest.
3. Respect and dialogue are essential requirements for group work
Working with other people is a challenge, even though the group already knows each other and has a good relationship. As the research paper’s writing can be very stressful, the relationship may face some ups and downs throughout the process. It is normal to disagree during the process, but that does not mean that friendships must be broken or that work becomes a burden in the relationship.
Always give priority to dialogue and respect to resolve conflicts within the group. Ensure that all members are heard and try to align the ideas, reaching a consensus of what will be accomplished.
4. Group work requires more detailed and complex planning
Every job requires planning, especially when it comes to a group research project. Before starting, list all the steps that need to be taken to carry out academic research: definition of the topic, research project; abstract; goals; justification; introduction; development; conclusion; references. Also, add dates for group meetings, meetings with the supervisor, and field research (if you have one). Do not forget the post-writing steps, such as formatting, proofreading, printing, and binding the text.
In addition to defining all the steps, point out who will be responsible for what and the responsibilities are common to all group members. Enter all of this information on a schedule. After all, the research project generally has narrow deadlines and needs to be respected.
5. Divide tasks according to the skills and interests of each member of the group
When it comes to delegating tasks and responsibilities to each group member, think about what skills and interests each has. If the advantages of doing a research project in groups are having people thinking about a problem together, use it to your advantage. Some people find it easier to perform specific tasks that need to be used by the group. This way, you will not only be able to do a better-elaborated job, but you will also have less stress throughout the entire writing period of a research project.
6. Use digital tools to facilitate communication and get the job done
Technology plays a key role when it comes to connecting people today. Through it, we can exchange text messages, hold meetings via video calls or voice calls, and even write a document collectively. And with a busy routine, this is the greatest ally of a group conducting a research project. Use online tools to create shared folders, such as Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox; hold remote meetings on Google Hangouts or Skype; write together using Word Online or Google Docs. There is a multitude of tools that can help your group plan and execute the research project!
7. Be careful not to lose focus on group meetings
Group meetings are essential to evaluate what has already been produced from the research and plan the next steps. But as most students have tight routines, scheduling a meeting with everyone in the group can be a challenge!
So it is essential to stay focused on the job whenever the group can meet. Leave the personal conversations for another time and focus on what still needs to be done.
8. Pay attention to the clichés of group work!
The most famous clichés of group work are the student who disappears and appears only when the work has already been done by other colleagues and; the student who thinks s/he can do all the work for the group. Both should be avoided! For group work to work, all members need to be responsible for making the whole process more profitable for themselves and the collective. Keep an eye out for any of the two clichés and, if you find one in your group, talk to everyone to better distribute the work.
9. Exercise collective work even on individual tasks
Even if group work is divided into individual tasks, it is essential to remember that all group members must have an overview of what is being done. After all, it’s just a job that will carry everyone’s name!
Therefore, all the steps to be taken need to be discussed by the whole team, and it is interesting that after each point is written, it is sent to the whole team to read and, if possible, give an opinion and give feedback on the work.
So, do things seem more straightforward now? Doing a group research project can be an unforgettable experience – and you certainly have many stories about joint activities in your school life, both good and bad. The truth is that everyone will experience embarrassing, difficult and even funny situations during academic work. But how to deal with them makes all the difference in your training.
How about seeing the next group work as an opportunity to grow and stand out? Challenge yourself to face obstacles without getting discouraged and do your best. You may be surprised at the result! And who knows, you might make good friends with your classmates?