Support for independent researchers
Perhaps you are writing a book and need some support, or you are working on an independent project or research investigation – a project that you may be undertaking for very personal reasons. It can be quite daunting to undertake this on your own and it can really help to have the support of someone who has published their own research as an independent scholar and who also works with distinguished academic and research institutions.
Orton Academy and Research creator and Director Dr. Jane Orton has three research degrees in Politics, Himalayan Studies, Classics, Philosophy, Anthropology and Religious Studies and has conducted her own research projects across the world. Read on to find out about how she can help you, case studies of independent projects she’s supported, commonly asked questions, or click here to listen to Dr. Orton’s lectures on her own research.
Working With Dr. Orton
“I love working with independent researchers who have a ‘passion project’ – a book or research project that someone feels is ‘in’ them for personal reasons, or something they feel they can uniquely contribute to the world. These are the kind of projects that can’t be done with a textbook approach or going through the kind of checklist you might find on wikihow – passion projects like this require an adaptable, organic approach that develops alongside you. You might need to read more papers at one point – ideas might need revising at another – at different stages you might need to begin to write, edit, or even take a step back and let part of your work ‘breathe’ before returning to it.
“Dr Orton is a scholar of ability and intellectual integrity, with an enquiring and wide ranging mind and a flair for imaginative and original research across various fields in the humanities”
- Dr R.W. Dyson (Author and Translator of Augustine’s City of God, Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
My role is to be your research ‘teammate’ - someone to bounce ideas around with, discuss academic research, plan book chapters or simply give a series of informal tutorials directed towards your interests. I don’t think of myself as a ‘consultant’; independent projects like these are personal – and they deserve a personal approach, not a commercial one. I’ve done my own projects that are both fieldwork-orientated and heavily library-based and I understand the process of going on research journeys like these. It can feel lonely at times but I can offer real, human interaction and support to keep you moving towards your goal."
- Dr. Jane Orton (Director, Orton Academy and Research)
Click through the slides to read about some of the fascinating projects we've helped with!
I am not affiliated with a university or research institution. Can I do my own research as an independent scholar?Yes. Engaging in your own research is a rewarding and valuable endeavour and you have a lot to offer. Many people who do not have multiple university degrees or an affiliation to an organisation feel that they cannot pursue their chosen project without being 'validated' by certain institutions or unless they come from an academically privileged background. This is simply not true: some of the most valuable contributions to knowledge have been made by independent scholars and even the most decorated and esteemed academics suffer from 'impostor syndrome.' The fact is that we all benefit from having a diverse range of talented, enthusiastic and consciencious people from different backgrounds working in collaboration on important issues. However, independent research is not something to be undertaken lightly: there are many ethical, practical and safety issues to consider and you will still want to hold yourself to high standards of integrity and academic rigour. We are here to help you decide on how to go about your research without compromising on any of these values: from gaining an excellent grounding in the academic literature surrounding your area of interest, to deciding what extra training you might need, to assisting with the design, development and implementation of your project or fieldwork. Contact us for a free consultation session to find out how to get started.
Which areas of research can you help with?We can help with projects in any area of the humanities, including Anthropology, Folklore, Classics and Ancient History, History, Philosophy, Politics and Religious Studies. If you are writing a book and don't know where to start, we can walk you through the research process, help you hone your ideas and plan out your book, and provide feedback on your work. We also offer assistance with conservation and wildlife projects, especially those involving community engagement and cultural heritage. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your ideas.
What are some examples of previous projects?We have previously designed and implemented research projects on Himalayan folklore, Classical Greek political philosophy, animal symbolism in Tibetan Buddhism, the development of ancient geometric proofs, and the anthropology of Berghain, Germany. We have assisted with the development of research projects including investigations into the treatment of minorities in Burma, Donyipolo practice in Arunachal Pradesh, UK pressure groups and indigenous religion in Sikkim. Our fieldwork assistance has also included conducting interviews, data collection, wilderness survival training and health and safety procedures in South Africa, Costa Rica, India, the Altai Republic and Peru. All of our research project consultants have a minimum of ten years’ theoretical and fieldwork experience in locations across the globe. Read our blog for more on these exciting topics.
What kind of help do you offer?You will receive a free initial consultation in which you will be able to share ideas and anxieties about your project, and in which we can plan out your next steps. Following this, you decide the level of involvement you need from us: we can carry out research for you, give feedback on existing projects or assist with project design and development. We can be with you every step of the way, from providing training in the academic background of your area of research, to assisting with project planning and practical advice. Alternatively, you might want to work with us on a consultation basis, in which we provide occasional feedback and support. Contact us to find out more and get started.
Can you help with my undergraduate dissertation?We are happy to work with undergraduates who wish to explore ideas for their dissertation topic, perhaps through tutorials on their chosen subject. We are also happy to provide feedback on drafts and ideas, and to talk through academic debates, project structure and methodology. Many undergraduates feel intimidated by the thought of doing their own library-based or fieldwork research with minimal supervision from their university. However, we believe that you are very capable of doing an excellent job and we will not do your work for you or engage in any other unethical practice that amounts to cheating. Instead, we will work with you to enable you to stand on your own feet and produce a dissertation of which you can be proud. Contact us to get started.