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Research Work - timescales (sorry, long!)

(5 Posts)
MrsMozart Mon 25-Sep-17 11:53:21

Wasn't sure how to word it...

Need some guidance if anyone has some wise words to spare.

How long would you consider reasonable to research a subject, say canine teeth, to a level that gives the reader the basic info and some idea of where to go to next if want to do further reading, etc. It's an area that the researcher doesn't have previous knowledge of, but they're paid to do this type of research for four full days a week. They only have to bullet point information and not put it into 'easily readable' format as someone else does that part. Person is probably dyslexic. Very intelligent. Phenominal memory, etc. Mature age-wise (if that makes any difference to your thoughts).

The person has said she works better when put under pressure, however I've learnt that it's better to err on the side of less rather than more otherwise she can't cope irrespective of how much she wants to be able to do it. I'm trying to come up with a base number of subjects that she has to have researched and inputted in a working week. She has in the past taken the micky somewhat (her own words). We've been understanding of certain issues, however we're a small company and can't just carry her any longer; we're more than happy to try and find a workaround, hence the above query, and we'll continue to do our damndest to support her.

If it helps with the thought process, she's home based for 1-2 days a week and in the office the other days. There'll be the occasional week where she's home based all week, but that's not so often. I don't have a lot of time spare to track what she's doing all the time and we're not set up that way - everyone has a job and they just do it. We've been very flexible on hours and times as most the of the work is output based, however that's not working with this person. That's fine as we're all different, however I do need to find a way to support, set expectations, etc.

Thoughts much appreciated.

AnInchWasPinched Mon 25-Sep-17 12:12:32

That's hard to say without knowing the level you want her to work at. Are you expecting her to search medical info or just a basic Wikipedia type search. The latter no more than a day, the other a fair bit longer as it's hard to delve through the scientific literature if you're not at ease with the subject. Are you expecting her to collate references etc as well?

MrsMozart Mon 25-Sep-17 12:21:07

Thank you.

Wikipedia type rather than medical diving.

Fully accept that some things might take longer, and equally some shorter, but she'd need to let me know. The communication isn't brilliant, which is something I need to make sure we work on.

No to collating referencs. We have someone else who knows the subject and will do the sanity check (using key words) and the referencing. It's a bit of a tortuous process, which we expect will smooth out over time and the person's confidence and ability building.

AnInchWasPinched Mon 25-Sep-17 20:18:55

I'm assuming from what you've said this person has difficulty organising as well as reading (can be linked with dyslexia). How much was she doing when she was, in her words, taking the micky?
Could you monitor her for a week? Base it on that.
Or build a spreadsheet with topics and dates, due entered by you and completed left blank so she has a sense of pressure. And a basic plan or leading questions to tick off if it's all the same kind of research. Who is it aimed at, what do they need to know, when will info be used, why do they need info, references and links for further reading. Check the spreadsheet regularly.

MrsMozart Mon 25-Sep-17 20:43:26

Thank you again.

Good point about the organzing, I'd completely forgotten that point.

No to a spreadsheet unfortunately. She can't use one, nor email. We've set up Dragonspeak software to help inputting data, but she can't get to grips with it. No issue, it was worth a try. We've now set up a forum just for us so she can type straight into it. Her role isn't anything close to what we took her on to do. We've changed and flexed it to meet her abilities. When she's on form, the dyslexia type issues aside, she's bloody brilliant, unfortunately that's a bit hit and miss.

Thinking about it, whilst she can't use a spreadsheet, maybe we can use the forum to track more than we have done. Maybe if she sees where the various docs are up to in the process, sees her role in it all, helping her to feel more part of it than my words alone do, and there's timings on there, then that will help focus her mind.

Thinking about it further - if she can't organize then maybe me imposing a structure would make more sense, even though it feels counter-intuitive to me.

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