Undergraduate research


If you're studying for an undergraduate degree and need some personal tuition or advice, please contact us. We can help you with the following:

  • Constructing, editing and proofreading bibliographies and lists of references
  • Identifying reliable and trustworthy sources of information for your research projects and assignments
  • Proofreading your reports and assignments
  • Personal tuition in research and report writing

Thesis help

For the past 6 years, I've taught many undergraduate students how to successfully research and write a thesis. The process starts with choosing an interesting topic and developing it into a practical and answerable research question. You then need to decide on the best research designs and data collection methods, before actually carrying out the research itself. After analysing your data, discussing your results and drawing your conlusions, you'll have to write about it all in a report that could be anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 words. This may seem to be a daunting task for many students, so to get you started, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the undergraduate thesis from my class.

Q. What should I write about?

First, choose a topic. Some examples of topics from previous student projects have been:

  • Music and marketing
  • Marketing luxury goods
  • Starting a business in China
  • The hotel industry
  • Poverty in Africa
  • The company LVMH

Ideally, you should be passionate about your topic, or it should be of relevance to your future career. But the topic is just your starting point - you need to investigate the current issues, problems or opportunities, and all this is preliminary to the real questions that your thesis will discuss.

Q. How do I start?

About 20% to 25% of the time you spend on your thesis should be dedicated to the preliminary investigation of your topic. This means that you need to spend 2 to 3 months doing a lot of reading, and talking to a lot of people about it. Here’s a list of things that you should do.

  1. Find newspaper and magazine articles about your topic. Make a list of the issues that are mentioned in the articles and that seem to be important.
  2. Talk to people. Speak to as many professors as you can: you never know who might have experience or knowledge about your topic, and you also need to find someone who will be your advisor. Don’t forget too that family and friends might be able to put you in touch with experts.
  3. Find research that's already been done on your topic. Make a list of the questions that were asked, and the ways in which the data was collected.

Q. What do you mean, “I need to focus”?

You won’t be able to find a research question until you’ve thoroughly investigated your topic and identified the real issues that are interesting. From your list of issues, you can start to think about specific situations that you can study.
Here are some examples of focused research questions for the topic “Poverty in Africa”:

  • How can we predict household poverty? A case study of Kenya.
  • What is the impact of education policy on poverty and inequality in South Africa?
  • Homeless women in Johannesburg: how can we alleviate their poverty?

Here are some examples of focused research questions for the topic “Music and marketing”:

  • How do classical musicians feel about the marketing of their “art”?
  • How can music be used to promote travel to and tourism in South Louisiana?
  • What is the relative effectiveness of instrumental and vocal versions of popular music in advertising?

Q. But how can I write 16000 words on such a small topic?

Many students worry that if their research question is too focused, they won’t be able to write enough about it. However, even if your question seems small, your topic is still broad, and first you'll need to write about the larger issues that you discovered in your initial investigation.