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FAQ - UCT Students

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1) What happens after I contact the UCT Knowledge Co-op about a project?
Once you have filled in the online STUDENT SUBMISSION FORM you should hear from us within a week about the next steps in the process.

2) Will the project form all - or only part of - my research thesis?
The project ideas - or part of them - will become your thesis topic. The scope of the topic will be clarified in consultation with your academic supervisor.

3) How long does it take to complete a project?
This depends on the type of project and research that you are conducting. As a rule you will produce your dissertation within the normal time frames. The only difference is that the research will be done in consultation with the community group. If you have deadlines that you need to meet, please let us know on the STUDENT SUBMISSION FORM.

4) What level of commitment is involved?
The level of commitment from both you and the community group will be discussed and agreed upon in writing before you begin the project. It is important to us that all stakeholders are comfortable with the level of commitment before you begin, and that your research aims are achievable, given the timeframe you are working in. Part of the Knowledge Co-op's role is to:

  • make sure that you do not over commit;
  • help you meet the objectives (that you developed in consultation with the community group at the outset of the project);
  • ensure that the community group receives a useful ‘product out of the process, e.g. a research summary, a poster or policy brief, a workshop to discuss the findings or a design.

5) What is the best time of year to find a project? 

Project ideas are submitted throughout the year, but there is a greater concentration of new ideas at the start of the academic year when most students start thinking about research topics.

6) How are students' chosen to get involved in projects?
Students are chosen based on their suitability. This is determined by the topic, the type of research required and your level of study.

7) What if more than one student is interested in the same project?
The UCT Knowledge Co-op generally works on the basis of ‘first come, first served'. In some cases the same topic may yield more than one thesis topic or a chance for collaboration between students. If two students are equally suitable, we may ask you both to submit research proposals, and a decision will be made based on the best proposal.

8) Is it possible to access the research produced in previous projects?
We aim to make the results of all Co-op projects available on our website soon after completion. See COMPLETED PROJECTS.

9) Are community group projects screened before being advertised on the website?
Yes, we meet with the community group and academics to discuss the project idea and ensure it is feasible and meaningful to both the community group and the university.

10) Can I recommend an organisation that I would like to work with?
You can refer the group to the Co-op and they can contact us via the website or telephonically.

11) Who is in charge of the collaboration once I start working with a community group?
The Knowledge Co-op will mediate the process. We will introduce the student to the community group; help define the research question, the scope of the project; clarify commitments, timelines and logistics. After that it is up to the student and community partner to take the project forward. The Co-op will however provide advice and help resolve issues throughout the process.

12) Can I volunteer in a project in addition to - but separate from - my academic work?
This is not the focus of the UCT Knowledge Co-op but occasionally existing relationships with the community offer opportunities for voluntary engagement. However, the Co-op is not able to give ongoing support to volunteers.