Research Prospectus

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Research Prospectus Outline

A research prospectus is a preliminary plan for conducting a study. This is not a detailed, technical research proposal, but, rather, a considered analysis of the issues you are likely to confront in such a study. In essence, it is a preliminary proposal. In completing this task, you should be sure to consider at least the following:

Research Problem. What is the research problem you are trying to solve? [A problem is a situation that, left untreated, produces a negative consequence for some group, institution or individual(s). “Girls score lower on technology attitude scales than boys” isn’t necessarily a problem; “girls are less inclined to pursue careers in technology-related fields” is.] What makes it a problem? For whom? Who says so?

Assumptions. On what assumptions are you basing your work? Which of them seem to be verifiable in the literature? Which are more speculative?

Theoretical Issues. What theoretical issues arise in your proposed study? For example, “theoretically,” how would you explain this problem and the results you suspect you might get to another scholar? (Do you take a behavioral view? Social systems view?) Are there other theoretical orientations that should be considered in the design of your study?

Literature Review. What, in general, does the literature say about your topic? [This need not be a complete review, but you should cite some of the major theory, research and writers in the field.]

Research Questions. Based on your problem, what are the research questions you are trying to answer? Why and how will answering these questions contribute to solving the research problem? Remember…a research question can be answered ONLY with data or information.

General Research Plan. In general, how would you propose to conduct this research study so that it answers your research questions? What kind of data will you gather (specify type, such as surveys, observations,...
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