Originality and Critical Analysis

Picture of design papers, mouse and keyboard Time to spend on this section: 1.5 hours

This section covers the concept of "originality" and the role of critical analysis in research.

The classic model for a postgraduate research project is that you present your aims/hypothesis, and your work should then demonstrate arguments that clearly address your aims/confirm or reject the hypothesis. However, if your studies are vocational, or if your work is linked to commercial interests, your project might not fall neatly into this pattern. It may still be considered to be suitable, but you must remember that, if your work is to count towards an academic qualification, it must conform to certain academic standards.

It is generally accepted that postgraduate research projects must demonstrate a degree of originality and a degree of analysis. It often is difficult to decide what constitutes original work, and this can cause anxiety, particularly if you have completed most of your research activities and are still struggling to decide what is original about your own study. For this reason, it is best to try and address the concept of originality when you are choosing your research topic; this task is not as daunting as it may appear. Let us consider what we mean by 'originality' in an academic context.

ActivityActivity 7: What do we mean by originality?

This activity gives you an opportunity to assess your understanding of original research and to discuss your interpretation with your peer group who are studying this core theme. Now open your logbook and complete Activity 7

Next we briefly consider the aspect of critical analysis.