Research underpins and informs our understanding and appreciation of all aspects of the world, and its insights lead to physical, social and personal growth and change. While, in itself, your research might not seem to make any immediate direct impact, over time, research-led insights, understanding and changes affect everything we do in society. This really matters: postgraduate study is an opportunity for personal skills development and for professional recognition and status. It is challenging and demanding. Being involved in developing and working on a project or, increasingly, in taught courses with a dissertation element that you have chosen (at least partly), is very exciting. You are, at last, able to concentrate on one of the most interesting things in your life and to watch it grow and develop. There is no doubt that this type and level of study requires you to invest a great deal of hard work and time, but it aids your personal growth, helps you to develop a range of skills that are transferable to life and work afterwards, and helps self-awareness and self-actualisation. If it is a clearly and fully conceived project, it will make intellectual demands of you as regards dealing with complex concepts, ethics and issues to do with the handling and interpretation of different kinds of data. It will also demand a high level of communication and skills of self-expression from you because others (everyone from the window cleaner and your mother to the great authority on the subject) will want to know what you are doing, both in informal and formal exchanges. You will need to keep clear goals and clear expression constantly in mind, without letting the desire for clarity lead to undue simplicity.
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