Research Proposal Quicklinks
A research proposal provides a well organized and comprehensive summary of the research an individual intends to do. It aims at setting out the central issues or questions that the researcher intends to address.
A research proposal is a document that outlines the general area of study of the research and refers to what is known in the current state and the emerging topics of debate in a particular field.
Additionally, a research proposal justifies the originality of particular research that a researcher intends to do.
Therefore, whether done for academic purposes, or for a particular organization, a research proposal presents a good way for an individual to demonstrate their expertise in a specified area of study.
Writing a research proposal indicates that a person has the ability to organize complex ideas in a clear, concise and critical manner.
A research proposal is also a document that helps in soliciting for funding for research. No donor will issue funds without reviewing a research proposal. For education purposes, Writing research proposals help in finding and assigning specific supervisors based on the researcher’s field of study and interests.
NOTE: THERE ARE MANY TERMS USED TO DESCRIBE A RESEARCH PROPOSAL:
The information on this page represents either of the above terms.
When Writing a Research Proposal, the following sections MUST be included:
In the evolving world with higher education, research proposals are being written by scholars seeking grant funding for a research project.
Additionally, writing a Ph.D. research proposal is the first step in getting approval to write a doctoral dissertation. The introductory part of the project must explain the key idea to be addressed and ensure that all elements are covered.
An introduction plays the role of making the readers understand what a researcher wants to do and also get to learn and gauge the sense of passion for the academic proposal topic of the investigator. Furthermore, an introduction needs to present some form of excitement for the eventual result just from reading and understanding it.
It is good to note that most research proposals do not have an abstract before the introduction. An abstract comes after data has been collected, analyzed and findings are written and concluded.
An investigator needs to look at the introduction as a narrative written in two or more paragraphs with the aim of answering the following questions:
This section can be part of the introduction or a researcher can create a separate section for significance and background. The aim of a separate section is to help in the narrative flow and organization of the research proposal. This section explains the context of the research proposal and describes in detail why the research problem identified is important. When writing this section, the researcher needs to note that the reader’s understanding is not assumed. The investigator must choose what is relevant to help explain the goals for the study.
The following key points must be addressed in this section;
Definitions of key terms and concepts can be provided under this section.
The literature review is connected to the background and significance of the study. Moreover, this section is devoted to a more deliberate review and synthesis of prior studies related to the research problem under investigation. The purpose here is to place the research within the larger whole of what is currently being explored, while the researcher demonstrates to readers that the work is original and innovative by giving citations and acknowledging the authors of consulted work.
The researcher needs to think about what questions other researchers have asked, what methods they have used, and what is his or her understanding of their findings and, where stated, their recommendations. The investigator should not be afraid to challenge the conclusions of prior research. Using the literature review, the researcher can identify the research gap. This is possible by analyzing the key points addressed by other studies. Therefore, the investigator can assess what he or she believes is missing and state how previous research has failed to adequately examine the issue that his or her study addresses.
Conceptual categories generally reveal themselves after reading most of the pertinent literature on the academic proposal topic. Therefore, adding new categories is an on-going process of discovery as the researcher reads more studies, the more categories he or she comes up with. A researcher can have confidence that all categories have been covered if he or she sees repetitions in conclusions and recommendations.
The five Cs to writing a literature review are;
The researcher needs to pay greater attention to this section. It must be well-written and logically organized. The researcher must select accurate and correct methodologies to promote the reliability and validity of the study. Effective research design, the population of study and sampling methods should be adopted by the researcher. Appropriate methods make it easier to analyze and interpret the study findings later. The research design and methods an investigator chooses should be unmistakably tied to the specific aims of the study.
An investigator can describe the overall research design by building upon and drawing examples from the literature review. It is imperative that the researcher consider the integration of past methods based on the study topic.
Furthermore, he or she should be specific about the methodological approaches he or she plans to undertake to obtain information, the techniques to use to analyze the data, and the tests of external validity to which to commit, that is; the trustworthiness by which the researcher can generalize from the study to other people, places, events, and/or periods of time.
When describing the methods to be used, the researcher needs to cover the following:
As much as the actual research has not been conducted, a researcher cannot skip mentioning some of the implications the study may provide the society in general. In that sense, the researcher must ensure that it indicates some of the ways it will use to polish the study and ensure that the study findings benefit society.
A study without effective implications is useless since all studies aim at solving a societal problem. The study must provide new interventions or ways of solving the problem in the future.
The researcher can also come up with new data collection methods and describe how others can use it in future studies. The study findings should provide some benefits to other researchers, policymakers and organizations around the world.
When thinking about the potential implications of the study, a researcher needs to ask the following questions:
It is also important to note that this is the section where the researcher is allowed to speculate and give his or her opinion. The researcher should comment on the literature review and his or her main expectations from the study. He should also indicate supportive reasons behind the academic proposal topic and methods adopted
The conclusion summarises the importance or significance of the proposal and provides a brief summary of the entire study. This section should be one or two paragraphs long, emphasizing why the research problem is worth investigating, why the research study is unique, and how it should advance existing knowledge.
Someone reading the conclusion section should pick the following;
Like any scholarly research paper, the researcher must cite all the sources used in the study. This is very important since it help eliminating plagiarism by acknowledging the original authors of literature used in the study. The correct format and style should be used in citing the literature. The researcher should consult with the supervisor to get the right style to be used. Some of the common styles used by many researchers include APA and MLA or Chicago style.
References; lists only the literature that the researcher actually used or cited in the Ph.D. Research Proposal.
This section indicates the research knowledge in terms of style and it also indicates that proper preparatory work was done to make sure the research will complement and not duplicate the efforts of other researchers. It is important to note that one should not consider the words in this section on adding up the total number of words expected in the study.
This is the last section but does not appear as part of the proposal but as attachments to the proposal. It contains things like the proposed questionnaire that the researcher intends to use especially if it is a survey,
maps, budget, the work plan, and any other materials that are relevant to the research.
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