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How to start research at university

Why does research matter at university?

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Universities are exciting places - really, they are! They might not always be too good at letting their students know, but many universities are hot-beds of cutting edge research.

Have you noticed how often university research teams are responsible for scientific breakthroughs? Or, how often experts from universities appear on TV and radio offering opinions on every subject under the sun?

What's the best way to get on the wrong side of a university lecturer? Ask them if they enjoy their three month annual holiday. It is highly likely that, when they're not teaching you, your tutors and lecturers are actively researching. Those pale, haunted creatures we know as PhD students whom you might meet in seminars and tutorials are also involved in research - try talking to them about what they're working on.

You may have the chance to do some research of your own during the course of your degree - many students get the opportunity to do a dissertation or research project. If you're lucky enough to get the chance to do research, make sure you make the most of this opportunity - it's not every day you get the chance to push forward the boundaries of knowledge!

activity: why does research matter at university? - take as long as you like

1. Take a look at the Hero - Research Outcomes web page, and find out about the research breakthroughs that have been achieved by university research teams in your subject area - some of them are pretty impressive!

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