MES research skills seminar

The research skills seminar is held late October/early November each year for MES and MRP students in their first year of studies.


The objective of the research skills milestone seminar is to support the development of your research ideas (i.e., for your research paper or thesis project), and to help you better understand what makes for an effective research proposal. This seminar builds on your initial thinking in ERS 680, while the activities and outcomes of the skills seminar will be further addressed in the context of ERS 681.

Seminar approach:

The seminar will involve:

  1. a short panel session (remote) and discussion by faculty and senior graduate students on their experiences developing a high-quality research proposal;
  2. small, informal breakout group discussions facilitated by faculty members in which you will discuss your initial research ideas and approaches; and
  3. a brief report back session from the breakout groups to summarize insights and lessons learned about how to develop a strong research proposal.

What is expected of you?

Building on the initial paragraph about your interests (developed in ERS 680), come to the seminar with a one-half to one-page description of your research ideas. This ‘one-pager’ should include: 1) a statement of the problem or issue you are addressing; 2) an initial attempt to craft a clear research question(s), and/or purpose and objectives (depending on the nature of your research, you may craft a working hypothesis); 3) initial thoughts on how you might undertake your research (e.g., methods); 4) preliminary thoughts on how your research makes a contribution to knowledge; and 5) approximately five to 10 relevant references that you cite appropriately.

**You are not expected to have a finely tuned proposal at this stage so if you are still grappling with your research focus, that is understandable. However, this milestone will help facilitate your effort to more clearly articulate your research focus, and it will be an activity you will engage with in more detail in ERS 681 (and ERS 669).