How to write a proposal

Topics: Research, Scientific method, Methodology Pages: 48 (7177 words) Published: November 4, 2014
CONTENTS

What should I expect? ......................................................... 1 Why do I need a research proposal? ..................................... 2 Great! So how do I start?...................................................... 4 So many questions! How do I choose?................................. 7 Using "Attribute Grids"........................................................ 9 Setting the limits on your research ..................................... 10 Becoming an explorer ........................................................ 13 Literature search and reading ............................................. 14 Critical thinking ................................................................. 17 Debate ................................................................................ 19 Computers and the Internet ................................................ 20 Record keeping................................................................... 22 When can I begin to write my proposal? ............................ 23 What goes into a research proposal? .................................. 24 i

Describing a research problem .......................................... 25 Why the research is important............................................ 27 Literature review ................................................................ 29 Methodology ...................................................................... 33 Dissemination of research findings .................................... 38 Final comments on structure .............................................. 39 Some thoughts about writing.............................................. 40 Notes on style..................................................................... 41 How do I go about submitting? .......................................... 42 Use "Spider Diagrams" to structure your proposal............. 43 Common evaluation criteria ............................................... 44

ii

What should
I expect?

Expect...



to make mistakes and to learn.
to write and rewrite your research proposal several
times! Nobody gets it right the first time!
… to spend many hours reading books and journals relating
to your topic!
… to spend many hours discussing your research with other
researchers or your supervisor if you have one.
… to have your work criticized.
… to feel confused and perhaps even hopeless at times.
But, if you follow the guidelines in this manual carefully, you can expect ...
… to produce a highly professional research proposal.
… to have a happier and more successful research
experience.

1

Why do I need
a research
proposal?

Research proposals have many different functions. Some of
these are:
m

To convince other people, like other researchers, research
funding agencies, educational institutions, and supervisors, that your research is worth spending scarce resources on.
You convince people of the value of your work by showing
them how your research will make a difference to the world,
or by identifying a dilemma in existing theory which your
research will help resolve.

m

To demonstrate expertise in a particular area of study. You
want to convince people that you have enough
understanding of the research topic to be able to do the
research properly. You do this by intelligently summarizing, comparing and integrating all the relevant theory and
existing research pertaining to your topic.

m

To demonstrate competency in a particular area of study. It is also vital that your proposal convinces the reader that you
have all the necessary skills to carry out the proposed study. You do this by describing an appropriate and feasible
research method.

m

To serve as a contract. Research often involves contracts
between different individuals or groups or people. The
proposal states clearly what each party is expected to bring

2

to the research, how resources will be used,...


Bibliography: Alexander Pope, 1688 - 1744.
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