Q: Can you provide guidance on how I can start my scientific research project?
I am doing masters in Chemical Engineering. It's my 2nd semester and I am about to start my research on Hydrogen Evolution Reaction but I have no any idea how and from where to start.
Carrying out a research project starts with planning followed by executing the plan, analysing the collected data and arriving at a conclusion. Here's what you need to do for each of these stages:
Planning: To begin with you need to identify the research question which you want to study. From the broad range of your research area, zero down to a single research question by finding out a gap in the existing literature. For this you may speak with your supervisor and professors and also carrying out extensive literature search. Also, since it is part of your degree requirement, the time available should also be considered to conduct the whole research and the type of research question and experimental design should depend on timeline too.
Execution: Depending on the research question and the area of your research, you need to design the experimentation. For this, you should take help of existing literature and also exchange ideas with your supervisors. Based on the regulation of your institute or university, you may need to get an initial approval from your supervisor regarding the study design. Once the initial study design is finalized, ensure that you follow the timeline while conducting and replicating the experiments.
Data analysis: Data analysis can be a process which is simultaneously carried out with the experimentation, or data can be analysed once all the experiments are done.
I also recommend that you register for Editage Insights' free publication coaching. In this program, we offer free email courses based on your current stage of publication. In your case, the first stage, I'm conducting my research, seems relevant and would definitely provide you with the guidance that you need to start your research project.
In addition, here are a few articles that you will find helpful:
- Expert advice on reading scientific literature as a habit
- How should I assess scientific literature to prepare myself for writing a paper
- Gathering useful resources for future publication
- How can I get access to materials on my subject area?
- How can I choose a suitable research question?
- How to choose a research question