how to write a research proposal apa

how to write a research proposal apa

Writing an Effective Research Proposal in APA Style

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1. Introduction

APA format is the standard style of writing for psychology and some other sciences. There has been an issue with this type of writing because it crosses a few boundaries. People who haven’t taken its style course may find it a bit confusing because it often deviates from a more traditional style, the one they are more familiar with: the standard thesis. And there are others who might have a completely different type of format and wish to test an APA style on a new sector. This website is not here to criticize others’ writing format or to overly promote APA, but to provide a structure on how a research proposal should be written given a certain type of writing. It will be useful for both types of people writing research proposals based on their own format, and it is beneficial for those who are in a sector of social science where APA is the standard format. APA style focuses on complex cognitive and social details of phenomena, so this is the ideal format to use when writing a research proposal.

Writing an effective research proposal in APA style is a vital step in being able to undertake further studies at a higher level of learning. This website aims to show you, the research student, how to write a research proposal and further, it will teach you how to master the art of proposal writing. There are many different aspects of proposal writing, but this website just scratches the surface. It should be a useful guide that helps you write a proposal, no matter what the proposal is for. However, it will give you a taster of what a model proposal looks like and how accurate proposal writing can ultimately be achieved. Finally, it will teach you more about yourself because writing a proposal will force you to think and analyze. This website should give you a more in-depth knowledge of how to write a proposal based on how to improve a certain aspect of management at work.

2. Background and Significance

This section can be melded into your introduction or you can create a separate section to help with the organization and narrative flow of your proposal. This is where you explain the context of your proposal and describe in detail why it’s important. The majority of your proposal should prove that you’re competent to do the project and that it will be of some theoretical and practical significance. It will generally be structured around specific aims or research questions. These can be subheadings, and an occasional one-paragraph objective statement following a subheading will help define the scope and direction of your research. After this introduction, provide a comprehensive assessment of the background of the problem/issue. This may be a few sentences setting the context or a single, very concise paragraph. You can create a subheading for each individual background question. Be economical and explicit about the relationship of the background to the present. The following two to three sentences might broaden this to explain the historical development of the problem. The background should transition into the rationale for the study. This will make a fleshy, but well-structured background and significance of the problem. This can now be woven together into a main flow of your study—justifying and elucidating the details of the previously stated specific aims. Following on a specific aim or research question, give a small description of no more than a few concrete, focused, and feasible hypotheses. In the final paragraph, you should provide a very brief, concrete, and clear implication of the theoretical and practical outcomes of your study. All of the Background and Significance should be in concise form and address a broad audience. Note that this section is not an essay going over everything you have learned about the topic; instead, you must choose what is most relevant in explaining the importance of your research.

3. Research Methodology

For this assignment, you will write a 4-5 page, double-spaced, research essay that utilizes library resources to incorporate a controversial issue into a coherent argument. By this, we mean an essay that has a thesis and supports it with logic and evidence. The objective here is to set your argumentative essay within a larger, ongoing dialogue of which it is a part by showing the various views on your issue, and then arguing for the position you take. This is an important early step in the composition of your research argument. You need to take a close look at the current discussions on the issue you have chosen and learn about the various viewpoints on it. This will help you to see what ideas need to be addressed in your essay and to begin to develop your own position. In order to make this a feasible task, we are going to break it down into stages. Each stage will have an annotated bibliography with it in order to make sure you are on the right track. The first task is to write a research proposal in which you set out what you are going to write in the essay. This need not be long, just a paragraph or so but it should show that you have done a certain amount of thinking about the position you are going to take, and that you have some idea of how you might structure the essay. This will then be translated into an outline for the essay. You will then begin work on the annotated bibliography that will eventually lead to the final paper. Now it is important to check in with your professor if the issue you have chosen is appropriate. Some of them are too radical for an academic assignment, some are too obvious. Remember that our purpose is to change minds. Writing a research proposal is an excellent way to do preliminary work on your final paper. It is a way to make sure that your topic is worth doing in the first place as well as the opportunity to ask for some advice from people who will be able to spot both obvious mistakes and problems you may not have outlined yet. This is important because in an academic institution you have to be certain that the topic you choose has academic value.

4. Expected Results and Implications

Stress the originality of your research. If you’re proposing to do a study of a particular culture, a survey can be a powerful tool. What are the implications of the work? How will it affect the world or the intended audience? What use is going to be made of the results? What are the benefits to the groups, individuals, or organizations involved? These are the specific questions that your research proposal must answer, though briefly. A further function can be that of justifying the methods you plan to use for solving your research problem. The decision to use a quantitative or qualitative methodology can depend on a number of factors. These can include the impact that your work may have for practitioners or policy makers, the desire to effect change, or the time or resource constraints that make spending a great deal of time implementing a new method impractical. No matter what the motivation, it is extremely important to provide a clear rationale for the methods that you choose.

5. Conclusion and References

We conclude with a few thoughts on writing an effective research proposal, specifically a dissertation in clinical psychology or a related field. We have emphasized the importance of the research question and the question is indeed the key to this entire endeavor. We defined a good research question as one that is answerable, interesting, and leads to further inquiry. The problem is that what is interesting to the investigator may not be interesting to others. Therefore, it is important to have others review the research question. This is a theme that we have woven throughout this text. Good, sustained communication is the key to a successful research project. This involves talking to others, on a number of occasions, about the research question. This is what you must do with a mentor or advisor. Ask if the research question is a good one and if the answer would lead to further inquiry. This will clarify the question and its importance. This is also what is involved with a good literature review. The proposal is essentially a document that explains the what and the how of the research project, usually educationally. A well done literature review does the same, relating the what and how of a number of studies to the research question. This will aid in operationalization of the construct, that is defining specifically what is being measured. This is where people often go astray in research, doing studies that do not really test what they want them to test. This will also aid in formation of the hypotheses, if it is hypothesized that a study of method A will yield different results than a study of method B, and then it is clear what must be done. So a good literature review sets the stage for the study to be done. Finally, we have stressed the importance of flexibility. The best laid research plans can go awry, and the best researchers pivot on a dime. It is our hope that these ideas will be discussed and that this text will be thoroughly integrated into the research methods courses in clinical psychology. And finally, an effective research proposal is essential if you are to receive adequate research funding of any sort.

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