Introducing students to research

crow with apple in a vise

Crows have many of the characteristics of a good researcher. But what are they? Photo: D.Gillie, Crow and apple sculpture, Kent, CT.

How do you introduce your students to the concept of research and what makes a good researcher?  I thought I’d share a workshop starter activity I used to do with undergraduate and masters students interested in doing a PhD.  If you’re skeptical that word-searches are appropriate past the age of 8, it was always met with enthusiasm, humour and a surprising amount of determination.  Students appreciated how it made them reflect on what research is about and what becoming a researcher means.  It was a lighthearted but effective way for starting discussions – why is that in there? what’s missing? what activities lead to the acquisition of particular skills? are some more attractive/off-putting to some people than others?  etc.

The reverse side of the handout was a handy space for listing resources – books, websites, articles, etc. – for them to get more information about how to research or, in this case, how to get a PhD.

Here’s one I made earlier: 15-things-that-make-a-good-researcher but there are plenty of word-search generators online if you’d like to make your own.  You can leave the word list out to make it more interesting 🙂



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