Final year undergraduates end up facing a lot of stress and challenges they never bargained for before they commence their research. At the end, however, they seem to forget so quick the huddles they had to pass through and selectively avoid the personal mistakes they made that prolonged the entire process.
Am going to share my own experience as an undergraduate; not just for sharing sakes, I only wish you wouldn’t repeat these mistakes after you have read through. Among the five things I wish I knew are discussed thus;
#1- Your supervisor/ Instructor knows your capabilities as an undergraduate
I didn’t realize early enough that my undergraduate project supervisor, who happens to be my lecturer knew the length I could go as an undergraduate. She therefore questioned every single research material I presented that is above the undergraduate level. I learnt of my colleague whose project topic was cancelled on the day of project defense because she presented a masters project topic. That’s how much it can affect you when these excesses are not properly checked.
Actually, I didn’t copy word for word from most literatures that I cited but the ideas I derived and presented to my supervisor afterwards made her ask “where did you get these materials from”.
#2 – Collaboration is everything you need.
You know like obtainable in many institutions, students are assigned one undergraduate project topic each to research on. So as expected, students should just mind their business. But I realized it doesn’t really work that way.
Look here! In my class, there are some who knew better than I did; who for a reason I can’t explain understood the research methodology I adopted more than I did. I just couldn’t help but go to them in the middle of my project research. I am one of those that believe ‘I can do it all by myself’. Little did I realize that the help I needed wasn’t going to fall from heaven; the help was in my class. To reach that help, I had to collaborate with this guy who taught me and even offered to help with few steps to facilitate my research.
#3 – Don’t blame your supervisor if he does not understand how you applied the research methodology you adopt
Not until my supervisor asked me “you have not shown me your questionnaire o” did I realize that she knew very little about content analysis. At first I thought I was working with a wrong instructor but then I came to realize it was my misconception. Content analysis didn’t require a questionnaire; a coding sheet did the job.
My project supervisor did so well that I forgot her supervision flaw very easily. She didn’t need to be a Pro in content analysis to be my instructor; she was simply a minder.
Your project supervisor does not know it all; just know that. Sometimes they need to be reminded of the procedures and at other occasions, some research ideas tend to be so Novell that they did like to publish your work in their name at the end of the day.
#4 – Not all supervisors approve chapter 1-3 at once
I didn’t begin writing my project in time and so, I hurriedly went to plead my supervisor to allow me submit chapter 1-3. Guess what I got “young woman, it’s not done that way”. Before then, my colleagues were already waiting to get the three approved so they can begin chapter 4 and 5.
Before you jump into action, please ask your supervisor. Never take laws into your hands. Infact one thing I realized was that student-instructor relationship matters so much before, during and after your project.
#5 – Inside citation followed strict guidelines
Honestly speaking, I used to do text citation the way it pleases me until I got red marks on every citation I made between text. When I get home, reading through the project presentation guideline, I realized that;
· You cite differently when quoting an author verbatim
· You cite differently before presenting a paraphrased idea
· You also cite differently after presenting a paraphrased idea
If I knew all of these, I wouldn’t have made lots of mistakes I made, the time wasted plus the money to print and make photocopies would have been saved.