Thursday, September 27, 2018

Three Powerful Tips for Effective Use of Time

Time is constant. You can’t shrink, expand or stop it. Consequently there is no such thing as time management. We cannot manage time. Everyone has got 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in a day. You can't deduct from it or add to it. In other words time cannot be banked or saved. Although time has a direction, its direction cannot be maneuvered. As it ticks away, seconds by seconds, it can never be reclaimed.   

What then matters? What really matter is what we do in time. Our use of time is in our grasp. It should be noted that while we can't manage time, we can manage ourselves to utilize time effectively. So self management is the key to effective use of time. To manage yourself for an effective use of time means learning how to work in time in a productive and profitable way. It is without doubt that self management involves a process of self awareness in which you constantly monitor and manage yourself. Self management makes you accountable for yourself. As a student you have to learn how to use time effectively. This can be actualized if only you learn how to manage yourself. Below are some tips to help you become effective in managing yourself:

1. Identify the difference between urgent and important.

This is about focus. In order to stay focused, you will have to know the difference between what's urgent and what's important. Often times, things that appear urgent are the result obtained from postponing a previous task. So they appear all of a sudden and make us confused. This is true, especially of some students who will want to read a semester course for two days during an examination. You can prevent yourself from being caught up in urgencies if you put first things first. Prioritize and do the important things. Always go for the important things first. As a student some friends may approach you with an urgent need to go see a movie or do something that is against your schedule, before you respond, ask yourself the question: what's important, the movie or my schedule?  An honest answer to this question will help you identify what's important. So be careful not to allow urgencies take over important things.

2. Identify the difference between good and best.

It is easy to choose between what’s good and what’s bad. However choosing between what’s good and what’s best can be arduous. Whether closing the books after studying in preparation for an examination or taking an extra time to perfect what has been read. You see, it is good enough that you have studied but its best when you take some extra time to perfect what you have read. Stick to what is best. Here is a quote by St. Jerome: 

Good, better, best. Never let it rest. 'Til your good is better and your better is best. 

3. Act accordingly.

To get the best out of your time, have a blueprint for what you will like to do in time. In other words have a schedule for each day of the week. Follow your schedule by sticking to what is important against what is urgent and sticking to what is best against what is good. Always repeat this process. You could make some significant adjustment, if necessary and get rid of distractions. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Five Powerful Benefits of Reading

Reading is such a powerful thing. It is by far preferable than watching television or viewing a movie, considering the fact that it enhances the mind. Reading will not only make you knowledgeable about how things work, it will greatly help you improve your life. Imagine how reading everyday will improve your academic status and help you learn beyond what your wildest dreams. Below are some useful ways reading can improve your life:

1. Gain knowledge

When you read, you store up all sorts of knowledge. The sort of knowledge you store up can either make or break you. On the one hand, reading good books can positively improve your life while on the other hand reading a bad book can give you bad memories and make you lose focus. This is because having lots of knowledge doesn't make you a brilliant conversationalist or help your job prospects. So it is apparent that the type of knowledge you gain goes a long way in determining how you navigate your way in the world. Dr Theodor Seuss Geisel once wrote:
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
2. Enhances your imagination

Reading will enhance your imagination. Notice that each time you read, let's say for example a novel or a textbook, your mind will be busy, trying to present you with a picture of the scenario or a graphical illustration of what you are reading about from the text. The more you read, the more you strengthen your imagination. Imagination is such a power thing. Albert Einstein once said that:
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.
Creativity is the product of imagination. So you can become creative by first of all enhancing your imagination through reading. 

3. Reduces stress

It has been shown by research that reading can greatly reduce stress. Reading for just a period of six minutes can reduce stress by a value of about sixty-eight percent. Reading a good book after a stressful day will help you shift gears into a relaxing mood. Psychologically, getting lost in a book can help ease the tension in muscles and the heart. As a matter of fact, getting relaxed through reading is by far better than other common stress-busting methods, such as going for a walk, having a cup of tea or listening to music.

4. Increases vocabulary

Reading is one of the best ways you can expand your vocabulary. There is always the likelihood of learning some new words each time you read a new book. So the more books you read, the more your vocabulary increases.

5. Improved writing

Reading can greatly improve your writing skills. The more you read, the more of a better writer you'll become. In other words, the more you read books written by writers that are better than you, the more you improve your writing skills.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

How To Effectively Write An Undergraduate Research Project

An essential requirement for graduating from a tertiary institution is an undergraduate research project. The research project is often done under the guidance of an assigned supervising lecturer. Usually the research is done within the constraint of a student's field of study.
The assigned supervisor serves to receive research proposals from students. An approval of the student's research interest is granted after the supervisor has considered the possible outcome of the research project. In some other cases, the supervisor will be the one to assign research topics to students. In either case, the supervisor is expected to guide the students to the very end.

Research Proposal:
Writing a research proposal can be tedious for students who are new to conducting and writing research papers. The proposal of the anticipated research work is a descriptive overview of the subject to be studied which must include among other things: aims and objectives of the work, research methodology, software and hardware to be employed, assumptions to be made and of course references.  

Research Guideline:
It is incumbent that an undergraduate research project passes through certain phases which include: researching, presentation and print submission. These phases are important as they are meant to help build confidence in the student and also help him or her to be able to stand and defend their research work, especially in the presence of an external supervisor.

Research Paper:
In order to develop an acceptable project write up, the content of your research must follow certain guidelines. In most cases the following format should be adopted:
  • Title page
  • Approval page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content
  • List of tables
  • List of figures
  • List of symbols
  • Research write up (Chapter 1-5)
  • References
  • Appendices (If applicable)
Title page: Just as its name implies, the title page is where the title of the research work is written in full, the author's name and the matriculation number are also written on the title page. Authors department and institution name are written down in full on the title page. Importantly, the title page is where the usual phrase "it is in partial fulfilment of the course requirement required for the award of the (degree type is imputed e.g. B.Sc, B.A, LLB, B. Eng degree). Finally a date is added.

Approval page: This page begins with the author's institution name, faculty and department. Signatures of the supervisor, head of department and external supervisor are penned on the approval page. These signatures are important as it justifies the fact that the student’s research work has gone through proper scrutiny and as a result has been granted approval.

Dedication page: On this page the author can dedicate his or her work to anyone who so deemed fit.

Acknowledgement: This page is very important. On this page the author acknowledges all the individuals who contributed to the successful outcome of the research project.

Abstract: Usually not more than 100 words, the abstract is a very brief summary of the statement of problem, method employed and possibly results obtained and recommendations for further studies. All these should be 100 words in a single paragraph.

Table of contents: The table of content page is like a map or guide to help a reader navigate through the written research project. Consequently it must be done with care and should be edited at the end of the write up so as to ensure that every page matches up with the listed page on the table of content.  The main heading(s), sub-headings(s) and page numbers are listed here.

List of Tables, Figures and Symbols: Although part of the main content. The list of table, figures and symbols is an expanded map of the tables, figures and symbols used in the research write up. The list of tables, figures and symbols should be compiled on separate pages respectively. These lists are meant to direct a reader directly to the page on which the table, figure or symbol of interest is located.

Chapter One: This is where the author introduces the subject by describing the background, scope and research purpose. A substantial amount of data should be presented in regard as to why the study is crucial and worth carrying out. This chapter can be concluded by stating the aims and objectives of the research, constraints and limitation of the study.

Chapter Two: The literature review should be presented in this chapter. An undergraduate research project is usually based on the ground work of other researchers. So the author should present in a chronological order a review of these researches in this chapter. It's an ideal thing for the author to rephrase in clear terms the intentions of the researchers and not to just copy and paste. Emphasis should be laid on the researcher's contribution to the study at hand comparing and contrasting between relevant facts that were left out by past researchers.

Chapter Three: This where the author describes the research methodology. The author is expected to write in the past tense. It is here the author presents a blue print of the research, procedures, geographical settings of the area of study, data sampling and data sources, method adopted and justification. Materials and equipment used should be stated likewise.

Chapter four: In this chapter the author presents, analyze data and result obtained. Relevant charts, graphs, tables and the like are presented in this chapter. A comparative analysis of the result obtained can be made with that of past researches in this chapter. The research student should be very careful in making presentations and analysis in this chapter.

Chapter five: This is the final chapter of an undergraduate research project. In this chapter the research student lays down his or her conclusions and recommendations. Suggestions for improvements for other researchers with a similar bias can also be included.

References: This is a comprehensive itemization of all text books, journals, magazines and other materials from which the author has made citations in the research work. There are several referencing styles which may include any of MLA, APA and Chicago style.

Appendices: Appendices helps back up the research claims. Materials that are relevant to the work but are not included, extensive proofs, official data from a case study and the like should be itemized here.

Vital Tips:
1.     It's an ideal thing to proofread your work after writing. So sit down and pore through your write up by going through each page carefully. Watch out for typos and grammatical blunders and be quick to correct them. You could consult a freelance editor to help you edit your work
2.     Ensure that all the corrections made by your lecturer are effected accordingly. It's a common practice for you to take your work to your supervisor after completing each chapter.
3.     Visit your departmental library and see some of the research write ups of your seniors that have been approved by your supervisor if any. Trace and understand patterns, adopt them to ease yourself of any unforeseen mishap.