ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Getting inside the mind of an expert management researcher
Your learning through the two-way process of academic discourse
Who do we think you are?
Who do you think your audience is?
What’s distinctive about researching management?
Induction into a western tradition of academic scholarship
What’s your ‘academic comfort zone’, and how could you expand it?
Official expectations that you will develop your critical frame of mind
Expectations check-up
How well does your work match-up to your assessors’ expectations?
Are you a more critical thinker than you realise?
Experiences of thinking critically in your academic work
Helping yourself learn to think like an expert management researcher
Comparing lists of Dos and Don’ts
Maximising your learning by linking critical reading with self-critical writing
Comparing lists of Dos and Don’ts


There must be as many of these lists as there are people who compile them! Here is our list for maximising one’s learning to think like an experienced management researcher.

Do

Don't

1.   See what can be learned from models of good practice in the literature by working out how the authors structure their argument and express themselves clearly.

1.    Rush into writing for assessment without thinking through how to structure it so as to build up a clear argument that will be communicated and convincing to the assessors.

 

2.   Work on making your writing style as fluent as possible, so that the assessors can easily grasp the argument that you are trying to put across.

2.    Try to impress your assessors by adopting a dense writing style relying on long complex sentences, in case it fails to communicate your argument to them.

 

3.   Build up the habit of asking questions and refining them to ensure that they focus tightly on what you need to find out.

3.    Presuppose that you know precisely what you are going to find out, and try to confirm your prejudices rather than check them out through your investigations.

 

4.   Attempt to learn enough about the range of research methods available to be able, when designing research, to make informed decisions about which will best fit your purpose.

 

4.    Concentrate so hard on learning about substantive areas of the management field that you fail to understand how management research works.

5.   Be prepared to contribute your thinking in discussions involving students or academics, having thought carefully about what you’re going to say.

5.    Be so talkative in discussions involving students or academics that you miss out on opportunities to learn from their thinking.

 

6.   Put yourself in the position of your assessors and scrutinise your own writing from their point of view, to see how far it meets the criteria that the assessors will be using.

6.    Be so self-absorbed that you focus only on what you want to say in your writing for assessment, and so fail to take into account the criteria the assessors will be referring to in judging your work.

 

If you have your own list, comparing it with ours may help you to reflect further on how you can capitalise on the learning opportunities available to you. Our list is far from exhaustive, but it does link to our account of following the logic of enquiry as applied to the management field.

One way of thinking about the relationship between Dos and Don’ts is to view them as opposites. This is what we have done. But not every Do need necessarily be seen as the flipside of a Don’t. The important learning point for you is to gain a strong sense of how you can actively promote your own learning to think like an expert management researcher, by harnessing the incidental as well as formal opportunities that your experiences as a student or an academic may present.