When studying my undergraduate degree I took notes for many of my lectures but, as I did not have to sit any written exams, were not heavily relied upon. I utilise this skill to ensure that I process any information presented on a power point. This skill needs to be developed further so I selectively take a written record of appropriate information presented visually and verbally. The last time I utilised any form of statistical analysis was for an A-Level statistics module which demonstrates I have the ability to perform statistical analysis. Interviewing is an essential skill when researching a topic in detail, particularly when exploring issues subjectively. I have utilised and developed this skill when researching my undergraduate dissertation where I interviewed two planning officers from Lincoln City Council. The interview was semi-structured where the interviewees were provided with a set of questions beforehand to highlight discussion areas but allowing for other topics to be explored. I can still develop this skill further so that I can extract information from subjects more efficiently. I have used and created a variety of questionnaires particularly while working with Bassetlaw District Council on Neighbourhood Plan consultations. I have discovered that it is essential that a questionnaire is structured and worded appropriately to ensure responses are unbiased. Questionnaires must be presented to a large proportion of the target audience to ensure that any assumptions are accurate. I enjoy learning about and understanding theories but in order to approach reality a variety of theories will need to be utilised. To ensure this is possible I need to improve awareness and understanding of a wide variety of theories, alongside this I also need to be aware of their appropriate application. I do not have experience using Geographical Information Systems but have the transferrable skills, developed throughout my undergraduate degree, to learn and utilise spatial analysis programs. Research philosophies is my weakest skill having only touched upon the intellectual thoughts of Plato during my undergraduate degree and one I intend to develop further through reading and encouraging philosophical thought. My undergraduate degree in Architecture required me to analyse the proposed site and surrounding context which also involved observing the behaviour and habits of people. Organisation is certainly one of my strongest skills illustrated by keeping my digital calendar up to date so I can keep track of when I have university, employment and work experience commitments. I feel that organisation is vital in every aspect of life including being punctual and reliable. I have used case studies all throughout my undergraduate degree to illustrate precedent work to support my proposals, illustrating the feasibility of my ideas. I feel that I could develop this skill further to take full advantage of the information case studies provide and learn about Flyvbjerg. I previously put research design to use for my undergraduate dissertation research. I feel this was reasonably successful as I received a good mark which also highlighted how import this skill is. I am aware of EDINA for mapping data supporting my projects at undergraduate level. There is vast amounts I still have to learn and develop in relation to data sources. Ethics are a very important aspect of research although I am not aware of David King’s 3Rs, I do take it very seriously. This is a skill I am determined to improve significantly due to its importance within research. Listening is one of my strongest skills, developing this through my undergraduate degree where my work was regularly scrutinised according to a variety of professional and academic perspectives. My listening skills could be developed further but I intend to focus my efforts on high priority skills for example improving reading skills. I strongly believe that systematic thought will help produce strong and relevant information from research but this has to work in line with strong research design. This skill will need to be improved but I feel that I already have a strong foundation of systematic thought to build upon. Reading is something that I have to put a lot of time on as some texts I find hard to absorb and if there is ever a case where I do not understand the meaning of a word I look it up.
Summary of Dr Malcolm Tait’s Research
(University of Sheffield, 2012)