Good Health Design 4 Guiding Students' Reflections on their Research Journeys

  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Cassie Khoo, Stephen Reay, Ivana Nakarada-Kordic, Claire Craig, Guy Collier, Helen Fisher, Gareth Terry, Trent Dallas, Valance Smith, Nicola Kayes

A research journey can be a complex mix of academic and non-academic considerations. Because it can be tricky to know exactly where to begin, those new to research often end up ‘making a meal of it’. Over the last decade, our team has worked with many students making their first venture into research. In that time, we’ve helped guide students through the ups, downs, challenges (and joy) of doing research. From unpacking these experiences, we’ve developed a series of interactive workbooks to help students and new researchers navigate the journey and venture into research.

The series starts with ‘My Project Manifesto’. My Project Manifesto helps new researchers reflect on what they want to get out of their research project and identify what success looks like. It is designed to help new researchers step back and see how their project can help build towards their desired future and help focus their project. It is designed to support the development of a rationale for their research, what they will do when things get tricky, and what they need to know and do to be successful.

‘Are you making a meal out of research?’ uses making a meal or cooking as an analogy to help better understand research methodology and the use of methods. It is designed to give new researchers a better understanding of what research is, how to do it (with activities to help them think about this in the context of their own research), and where they might start looking in the vast ocean of resources out there.

‘Little Red’ is a tool for reflection. Students often get stuck, and find it difficult to identify why this happens and what to do about it. Our emotions are cues to help us recognise when things are going well or when something is not quite right. Little Red takes new researchers through an interactive reflective cycle of ‘Pause, Rewind, Record and Play’ to help them identify when things are not quite right so they can pivot and change their situation.

‘My Hero’s Journey’ completes the set by guiding students to deeply reflect on their research journey so that they can ‘discuss’ their project with confidence. It helps them look back on where they have been, what they have learned, and where they might go next. It is framed around the twelve stages of the hero’s journey — a narrative framework first described by American mythologist Joseph Campbell. Activities within this framework encourage new researchers to reflect on the challenges, learnings, and skills learned through their research journey.

The series of workbooks are available at