Facilitator: Dr Layla Cassim is a pharmacist and holds a PhD (Pharmacology) (Rhodes) as well as an MBA (cum laude) (UNISA) and a Diploma in Dementia Awareness (cum laude) (Centre of Excellence, UK). She is the owner and managing member of Layla Cassim ERS Consultants CC, which specialises in providing support to postgraduate students and researchers.


Target Group: Honours and Btech candidates only. The workshop is open to students from all disciplines/departments at NMU.


Background: This comprehensive ONLINE 3-day workshop covers the entire research process, from the proposal stage all the way to research design and methodology and thesis writing. Everyone who attends the workshop also gets free online access to the 4th edition of Dr Cassim's postgraduate Toolkit.


Additional Info: The workshop includes live Zoom sessions, interspersed with self-study sessions in which participants have to work through voice recordings  in Dr Cassim's Postgraduate Toolkit (4th edition). All workshop materials will be emailed to participants before the workshop.


Participants come to an understanding of:

  • The fundamentals of research - what research is, ethical considerations in research, decolonising research, the importance of narrowing down the scope of the research project, defining key terminology (such as the research question, problem statement, aims and objectives and the golden thread that connects all these) and the importance of a well-conceptualised research proposal, with each component gone through in detail.
  • The key principles of research design and methodology - what this is (epistemology, ontology  and axiology), the importance of effective planning and record-keeping, different types of data (primary/secondary, quantitative/qualitative) and 18 commonly used research methods & sub-types across a range of disciplines (and how to choose the most appropriate methods). We also focus on concepts that examiners are going to ask about (e.g. error, bias, reliability, validity, trustworthiness and pilot testing), data analysis (quantitative and qualitative) and important project management principles. We look at the effcts of COVID-19 on research design and methodology.
  • Institutional requirements regarding the thesis, the process of editing, writer's block and other quality of life problems that students may have, which may act as stumbling blocks to the completion of the thesis. We look at building a long-term research career.
  • Different structures of a thesis - what goes where and how to write the different chapters or sections. Particular attention is paid to writing a high quality literature review.
  • Theoretical frameowrks - what these are, where they go in the thesis and how to adapt/combine frameworks to suit the context of the research.
  • University requirements relating to thesis submission, examiner's expectations (we go through the examination process in detail & look at what can go wrong), as well as common mistakes made in academic writing.
  • How to improve reading and comprehension skills, and the difference between academic and popular writing.
  • Guidelines for the legal thesis.


This workshop is funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) through the University Capacity Development Grant (UCDG)


Workshop Information


  • 05-07 September 2023


  • 09h00-15h30


  • To be streamed online on Zoom.


  • Registration for this workshop is closed.