Making Full-Time Research Work

As I have conducted research throughout the summer, I have realized the difficulty of self-led independent research. You have no daily assignments. There is no homework or participation grade.

Rather the inspiration for the research must come from within yourself. While you have the end goal of a completed thesis, this is far away, and procrastination can try to sneak up in your day to day routine.

To combat this, I have found a way of scheduling my day to day research in a way to make me productive. First, I made sure to choose a topic that is interesting to me. This is vital in keeping your interest in the project strong throughout the year. Second, I set goals, large and small, for the day and the week and the month. These are small, realistic goals that I can cross off a list when I complete them. Finally, I make sure to break up the reading. A large part of research is reading dozens of secondary sources, which can be dense reading material for continuous research. I ended up following my honor advisor’s advise by breaking up reading with quantitative and statistical work. When I wanted a break from reading, I would work on expanding my database of projects. All together, these strategies helped make my summer research more fun and more productive.


  1. On a daily during the summer, did you ever designate hard start and stop points for your work day?