Welcome to Stellenbosch University
Research Development and Support
Undergraduate Research

Roadmap to Research

This is a basic guide to get you started. It aims to give you a broad idea of the research process from start to finish. The written chapters are extracts from the Getting Started in Clinical Research (Gie & Beyers, 2014) book​, available online on the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health website​. Some of the recordings (podcasts) are from ​workshops and short courses run by the Research Capacity Development​​ and Funding Office​ in the Research Development and Support Division; others are from the EPE platform​. Although these are primarily targeted at MMed and postgraduate students, they are essentially resources for novice researchers and will have relevance for you as an undergraduate student embarking on research. We are constantly looking to add to and improve these resources, so please feel free to send us feedback by clicking on the links below. 

 HOW TO USE THIS ROADMAP: The coloured blocks below represent broad phases in the research jouney. Each of these blocks lists more detailed steps. Click on either the block phase heading (e.g. "Exploring") or one of the steps within it (e.g. "Getting ideas") to link to detailed guidance on that topic included further down on this page. You can also watch this video​ that was created by one of our undergraduate student researchers who shares her tips for how she used the Roadmap to help her with her research. ​


Getting ideas

Research opportunities

​Finding a supervisor

Getting help

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Getting ideas ​ 

Developing a question​ 

Importance of research 

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Identifying ideas and opportunities for research​ 

Past student experiences

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Past student research topics

Useful resources on topics and questions​

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Identifying ideas and opportunities for research​ 

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Find a research project

MBChB research opportunities

SU knowledge directory

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How to find a good mentor 

Tips on choosing a supervisor​    

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Choosing and working with a supervisor​

Finding the right supervisor​

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SU staff research interests

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Support available for undergraduate student researchers 

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Contact the Undergraduate Research Office

Follow the Undergraduate Research Office on Facebook

Follow the Undergraduate Research Office on Twitter​

Join the Q Undergraduate Research Society

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The research process

​Plotting a timeline

Writing a proposal

​Study design & methods

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Overview of the research process​ 

The research lifecycle​

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Overview of the research process: a quick guide​

Interactive research toolkit ​​​

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Useful tools for research​

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How much time do you need?

The research timeline

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Overview and timing of the research process

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Plan.It calendar​

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Developing a research question​ 

Writing a proposal 

Writing a literature review for the proposal

Outline of a proposal


Formulating research questions, aims and objectives (quantitative focus)

Setting up your research proposal

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Useful resources for writing a proposal​

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What type of study should you do?

When do you involve a biostatistician?  

Making the most of your biostatistics consult​

Biostatistics glossary

Qualitative design and methods

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An introduction to methodology

Overview of research designs (quantitative focus)

Linking research questions and research designs​

An introduction to qualitative research paradigms and designs 

An overview of qualitative research methodologies and data collection methods ​

Strategies to ensure quality (trustworthiness) in qualitative research​​

Short course in clinical research skills (including detailed videos on different study designs)

Collaborating with a biostatistician​

Understanding sampling and sample size (quantitative focus)​

Sampling strategies (quantitative focus)​

Sampling and sample size considerations in qualitative research  ​ 

Data management

information.png Find resources

Useful resources on study design​

Useful resources on methods

Book a biostatistics consult​

Attend the Biostatistics Clinic

Useful biostatistics resources​

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Applying for ethics

Other permissions

Funding your research

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Ensuring that your research is ethical

Applying for ethics quick guide​​ 

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What to include in an ethics application​

How to submit an online ethics application

What happens after submission of an ethics application

How to submit a response to modifications on an ethics application

How to submit an amendment to an ethics application

How to submit a progress report 

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Undergraduate Research Ethics Committee

FAQs about ethics applications

Useful resources on research ethics

Additional training resources in research ethics (TRREE)​

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Do I need provincial Department of Health approval for undergraduate research?​

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Overview of the research process and getting permission(s) to do research

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Apply for SU institutional permission to conduct research on SU staff and students​

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How to write a research budget​ 

Research budget template

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A quick guide to drawing up a simple research budget

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Getting funding for your research

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Literature review & referencing

Data collection

Data analysis

Write up

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Literature review

Mendeley quick reference guide

Avoiding plagiarism

Using Turnitin to avoid plagiarism

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A quick guide to literature searching

A quick guide to referencing

Writing the literature review guidance videos:​

1. Reading for and mapping the literature review

2. ​​Writing the literature review: conventions of academic writing

3. Writing the literature review: incorporating other people's voices (research)

4. Writing the literature review: incorporating your own voice

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Useful resources on literature reviews

How good scientific writing is like good cooking

Useful resources on referencing​

Guidance on avoiding plagiarism

Referencing style guides

Mendeley referencing software

Training on using Mendeley​

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Tips for conducting semi-structured interviews

How to implement your study 

How to manage your data 

How to store your data

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How to design a questionnaire​

Quantitative questionnaire design​ 

An overview of qualitative methodologies and data collection methods

Strategies to ensure quality (trustworthiness) when doing qualitative research​​

Qualitative data collection (interviews)

Data management

Using Excel to enter data​

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Useful resources on data collection

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How to prepare your quantitative data for analysis

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Introduction to Biostatistics 1

Introduction to Biostatistics 2​

Qualitative data analysis​ 

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Useful resources on data analysis

Book a biostatistics consult

Attend the Biostatistics Clinic

Useful biostatistics resources​

good-review.png Send fe​ed​back ​

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How to write the discussion section​

A template for writing the discussion section​ 

Common problems in the results/discussion section​

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Writing the results and discussion sections​ 

Tips on writing​

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Self-help guide for formatting your thesis in MS Word​

Useful resources on academic writing

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Giving feedback



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Who should you communicate your results to?

Disseminating your research findings

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Planning for feedback and dissemination of your research results

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WHO guidebook on disseminating research findings

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Oral presentation tips 

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How to write an abstract​ 

A quick guide to oral presentations​​

A quick guide to poster presentations

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Get funding to present your research

Present at the FMHS Annual Academic Day 

Past undergraduate student presentations at the FMHS Annual Academic Day

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How to write an article 

How to respond to the reviewers of your article​ 

Template for response to reviewers

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How to write an abstract

How to publish your research in a peer-reviewed academic journal

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Get funding for publishing your research

List of accredited journals​

Identifying predatory journals​

ICMJE authorship guidelines​

good-review.png Send​ feedback