About the Instructor
First of all, this course to help you choose a topic, as well as the entire “Crash Course in Research Success” is about YOU, not me…
That being said, here are some details about me and my background and why I have created this course.
My name is Jacques Snyman and I am passionate about teaching and helping students on their development journeys. Professionally, I have a background in engineering, management consulting and teaching. I completed a degree in Electronics Engineering in 1989, after which I completed an MBA at the Wits Business School (The Business School at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa) in 1998. My career started in the mining industry in the late 80’s, followed by a stint as a senior engineer at an electricity utility, after which I started a career in management consulting in 1998.
My teaching career started in 2005, when I was invited by a colleague to assist with a module on creativity, innovation and change for a group of MBA students. The proverbial “bug” bit me and I have been teaching ever since.
Over the last 15 years, I have been teaching, supervising, marking and moderting at a number of different Universities (University of South Africa, University of the Northwest, University of Pretoria, Nelson Mandela University, Institute of Marketing Management). More recently, since about 2010, I have been teaching at the Milpark Business School, while also doing supervision for research students completing their MBA degrees. I am also a moderator and an external examiner for three other universities.
The reason why I have created this course is that I sincerely want to share some of the lessons learned on my journey in research support, and help you “sidestep” some of the most common mistakes made again and again by first-time research students. I serve students who are on their research journey in pursuit of the completion of their master’s level degree.
I hope that you will enjoy the course as much as I enjoyed creating it for you. I am rooting for you. Here is to your research success!
Session 1: This is the first session of the Crash Course in Research Success. We will get to an understanding of what the journey looks like, how to set yourself up for success, how to prepare, and what to look out for right at the start of this journey. This will not only help you get ready for it, but it will also save you time in the process!
Session 2: This session looks at the literature review or literature search. We touch on themes like the purpose of a literature review, the process to follow to do an effective review, how to structure the work and the chapter you are going to write, and we also discuss a whole lot of tips for the journey. You will be able to be much more efficient and use your time much better if you apply only a few of these tips! Let get reviewing!
Session 3: In this session, we demystify all the "...ologies...", epistemology, methodology, ontology etc. If these terms sound foreign to you, this module will clarify them all. We also look how to shape your won methodology and how to choose a sample. I share how to do questionnaires, interviews and focus groups and we end off with yet another box full of tools, tips and tricks. I also talk through answers to some questions received from students. By the end of this session, you will know how to design your methodology and how to gather the data that you need.
Session 4: The theme for this session is "Doing the numbers". If you are wondering how to gather your data, or you have collected your data but you don't know where to start with the process of making sense of it all, your questions will get answered here. We clarify how your choice of research methodology impacts the numbers, and we also go through all the basics about numbers that you need to know. We go through a quantitative as well as a qualitative data analysis example to clarify everything. I again give some tips and discuss general concerns and answer a few questions from students. This is not a module on statistics but it sets you up with the knowledge to make the most appropriate decisions when you work with the numbers.
Session 5: Once you have gathered your data you need to present it and recommendations need to follow logically from it. In this session, we clarify the process of going from data to results and we then talk through examples of presenting both quantitative and qualitative data. When the data has been presented, the process of crafting recommendations based on your findings and conclusions is what we dig into next. We end off the session again with a few additional tips and suggestions that will make your life a whole lot easier.
Session 6: This is a bonus session where we develop some answers and I help with some thoughts on how to stay motivated when the going gets tough (...and it will!). Research is usually a long and lonely journey and I share some thoughts on how motivation really works and how you can keep yourself going so that you can "get this damn thing done" and graduate! We also discuss how to get into the state of flow and I talk through a whole lot of tips on how to get and stay motivated when you lose steam! We end off with some suggested beliefs to cultivate and doing the final admin to submit your thesis.