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Business Research Methods for Distance Learners

Plan your project

now

  • Are you prepared? As your project is a larger task than previous assignments, and you need to manage the process yourself, you may find that you need to structure your time in a more detailed way than you have before. You might find that new methods of working or new tools would help you.

 

A simple plan:

  1. Break down the different aspects of your project into manageable parts.
  2. Use an action plan or checklist.  Think about the time that each aspect will require, and which tasks need to be carried out first. This can be documented using very simple tools, or on Gantt charts, depending on the nature of your project.
  3. Review your plan regularly.
  4. Make the most of your supervisor, to help you check that you're on track.

 

Gantt charts

Microsoft Project

 

You can use a Gantt chart to plan your project schedule. It presents the order in which the tasks need to be carried out in a horizontal bar chart.

You can create a Gantt chart in Excel, by going to File, New and then choosing Gantt project planner.

You can also use Microsoft Project (part of Microsoft Office) to record your tasks and deadlines.  The following books in the library provide support on using Microsoft Project.

Tools for simple plans

There are many electronic tools available:

Trello

Trello

Free online tool that organizes your projects into boards.

Remember the Milk

Remember the milk

A free online task manager. It also comes as an app for smartphones, and for iPads. 

PocketMod

Pocketmod

If you prefer to have notes on paper, you can use the PocketMod website to create your own mini-folding planner which can then be printed out. There are various page templates you can use including weekly and monthly calendars, task lists and storyboards. Not all of them are customizable online, but the Simple List (in the Organizers section) is.

Online Calendars

Your mobile phone will usually have a calendar function, or you can set up a calendar on Google Calendar which can be accessed at any computer, or via a smartphone.

Blogs and Wikis

You could set up a private blog or wiki to record your progress and to store early drafts of your designs and writing.

Useful resources