Research SkillsThe Academic Skills Hub (TASH) logo

Sheffield prides itself on being a “research-led” university. Crucially, this means that teaching is informed by cutting edge research in the academic field. It also means that you are learning in an environment where you develop and use research skills as you progress. The most successful students tend to develop research skills early and use them consistently.

“Research” sometimes just means finding out information about a topic. You can certainly develop advanced information retrieval skills in Working with Sources. However, in the HE setting, specific understandings of “research” carry a lot of weight. The classic definition is that “research” leads to an original contribution to knowledge in a particular field of inquiry by defining an important question or problem and then answering or solving it in a systematic way.

This broad definition can be broken down and interpreted in different ways, though (before we even get to the idea of sharing your research with others: see also Academic Writing and Formal Presentations). So you will need to read on to develop a relevant understanding of what research means in your subject.

The pages in this section will inform you about important aspects of research:

  • Research design covers the key issues in developing a successful research project.
  • Research methods takes you to resources on essential techniques for carrying out convincing research.
  • Working with data will provide resources on the use of statistics and other numerical skills in research.

For University of Sheffield users, there is also a Library resource list, suggesting some print materials to support your research skills. And for researchers within the Social Sciences, there is an excellent resource called the Virtual Graduate School. This is a set of online materials, including lots of video, designed to support research students develop their skills during their time at Sheffield. It has rich resources on everything from research methods to writing up and the doctoral viva.