Aidan Mooney – Final Reflection

What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?

My initial obstacle was deciding on a subject for this project. I had a few ideas but after choosing to focus on nationalism in nineteenth century Europe I still had a difficult time narrowing this down into specific research questions. From there I was faced with sorting through the huge amounts of literature that have been produced on nationalism, both history and theory. Additionally, being stuck with online only resources meant some material was not available to me.

What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?

To overcome these problems, I have had to become better at quickly deciding what is or is not relevant to my project when reading. To be able to do so I have had to improve my critical reading. I have changed approach when using online search tools to narrow results and find more relevant or specific material and used the bibliographies of relevant texts as a means of finding new ones. Discussions with my supervisor from an early stage were also helpful.

What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

The need to engage in a clear methodology is an important aspect that I had never really considered before but now know is essential. I know that I will have to undertake large amounts of background reading to get to grips with such a wide topic and so am better prepared for that. The reality of having to start this project over the summer is now also clear.

 Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?

Having conversations with a supervisor from an early stage was particularly helpful. Examples of assessments given in seminars, particularly the literature review and the reading from that week, meant we had a clearer idea of what was expected of us. Finally, I think carrying out the literature review allowed me to get a better grip on my topic area and was something I found very useful.

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