Encounter the Research Task

Skill 1: Use time-management strategies and tools.

In the previous step, Enounter the Research Task, you established some preliminary guidelines in collaboration with your teacher. The guidelines that you will create now are focused on maintaining a timetable for completing the search & gather portion of your research. Gathering enough information to answer your research question can be a daunting task, so it is important that you manage your time and the work wisely.

Skill-builders & Tools
Time Management
You want to be sure that your investigation is feasible for the timeframe that you have.  Inexperienced researchers tend to underestimate the amount of time that the various stages of research will take. Be generous when working out time frames and check them with a more experienced researcher.  In order to do this, you need to map out what you will do and when you will do it.  You also have to keep your goals and objectives for the proposal in mind when setting deadlines for progress and consider what benchmarks you will use to determine your progress.  This may take the form of a chart, timeline or flowchart (or any other organizer you choose). See the student resources section for organizer templates.

See this brief video on time management


When using an organizer, give an overview of when you are going to do each specific step of your project.  This does not need to be a day-to-day list, but it should give an overview biweekly or monthly.  Be sure to include time to review and synthesize your data or reflect on the overall study.  You should include time to prepare the final research product as well.

Consider the following questions when setting up your schedule:
  • When will your research start and finish?
  • Are there particular stages to the research - e.g. piloting, then main research? Screening interviews, then a main study?  If there are stages, what are they?
  • What objectives have I set for this investigation?  Are they addressed in the timeline? 
  • Is the timetable realistic?
  • Is it influenced by external constraints or deadlines?
  • How will you provide regular updates and progress reports and to whom will you provide them?  How will you demonstrate progress?

In some cases, approval may be required from your teacher or principal before you go beyond this step in your research. If approval is required, you may have to submit a time requirement form similar to this one from the Denver public school system.

  • Guideline - a general rule, principle, or piece of advice.
  • Timetable - a schedule, to take place at a particular time.
Student Resources
  • The Northeast Florida Science, Technology, and Mathematics Center for Education has several timeline templates
Teaching Resources
  • Article on teaching time management to teens.


Do Now: After reviewing the information above, use an organizer from the links in the student resources section, or create your own project timeline using software of your choice.
What would you like to do next?
Search & Gather BCPS K-12 Research Guides Grades 9-12 HOME