Writing a proposal is not an easy task for anyone, and it may be especially difficult if you have not done one before or if you have not done much writing. The job takes diligence, commitment and hard work. But all the hard work is well worth it. The Format of a Research Proposal
Here is a basic outline of what should be contained in a research proposal and a few comments on each of these sections. 1. Introduction
a. The problem statement
b. A rationale for the research (statement of the research objectives) c. Hypothesis
d. Definition of terms
e. Summary including a restatement of the problem
2. A review of the relevant literature
a. The importance of the question being asked
b. The current status of the topic
c. The relationship between literature and problem statement d. Summary including a restatement of the relationships between the important variables under consideration and how these relationships are important to the hypothesis proposed in the introduction
3. Research methodology
a. Participants (including a description and selection procedures) b. Research design
c. Data collection plans
i. Operational definition of all variables
ii. Reliability and validity of instruments
iii. Results of pilot studies
d. Proposed analysis of the data
e. Results of the data
4. Implications and limitations
a. Copies of instruments that will be used
b. Results of pilot studies (actual data)
c. Human experimentation approval
d. Participant permission form
e. Time line
So what makes a good research? The following shortcomings have been found to be the most pressing criticism: * The data collection procedures was not carefully controlled * There were weaknesses in the design or plan of the research * The limitations of the study were not stated
* The research design did not address the question being asked by the research * The method of selecting participants was not appropriate * The results of the study were not clearly presented
* The wrong methods were used to analyze the information collected * The article was not clearly written
* The assumptions on which the study was based are unclear * The methods used to conduct the study were not clearly described or nor described at all Quite a series of pits to fall into. To help you avoid the worst of them, here is a set of questions you might want to ask about any research article.
Criteria for Judging a Research Study
The Review of Previous Research
1. How closely is the literature reviewed in the study related to previous literature? 2. Is the review recent? Are there any outstanding references you know of that were left out?
The Problem and the Purpose
3. Can you understand the statement of the problem?
4. Is the purpose of the study clearly stated?
5. Does the purpose seem to be tied to the literature that is reviewed? 6. Is the objective of the study clearly stated?
7. Is there a conceptual rationale to which the hypotheses are grounded? 8. Is there a rationale for why the study is an important one to do? The Hypothesis
9. Are the research hypotheses clearly stated?
10. Are the research hypotheses explicitly stated?
11. Do the hypotheses state a clear association between variables? 12. Are the hypotheses grounded in theory or in a review and presentation of relevant literature? 13. Are the hypotheses testable?
14. Are both the independent and dependent variables clearly defined? 15. Are the definitions and description of the variables complete? 16. Is it clear how the study was conducted?
17. Ws the sample selected in such a way that you think it is representation of the population? 18. Is it clear where the sample comes from and how it was selected? 19. How similar are the subjects in the...