what is research proposal

what is research proposal

Understanding the Importance of a Research Proposal

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1. Introduction

Research is a series of planned activities aimed at knowledge development in a given topic. It is a logical, systematic search for new and useful information on a particular topic. Research is essential in all fields, including marketing, social science, healthcare, journalism, and other professions. There are two categories of research, which are basic and applied research. A research proposal is considered to be the beginning of research because the nature and quality of a proposal determine the success of a research project. A research proposal is a concise and coherent summary of a plan that is prepared for a particular research. It is a written statement of the research design that includes an explanation of the research problem, aims to show how the specific questions that define the problem will be answered, a discussion of the methodology to be used, and an explanation of the data or findings that are expected to prove or disprove the problem. A research proposal done for an advanced level dissertation (e.g. MPhil or PhD) and other research-based postgraduate courses are considered to be a research degree student’s most important work and therefore prepare the foundation for the final dissertation. Even for an undergraduate, a research proposal is an explicit activity in that it is an opportunity to convince others that they have the competency and the work plan to complete the research. This activity requires an organized mind and the will to learn, so it is a good opportunity to improve these skills. A good understanding of the research problem will lead to a form of realistic research. Many of the failures to carry out and report a good research are related to inadequacies in the design caused by a poorly thought-out research. This, therefore, is significant. Failure to develop a coherent and persuasive argument for the proposed research.

2. Objectives of a Research Proposal

By now, you should understand the enormous importance of writing a good research proposal. Producing a good proposal will have a number of positive effects. Firstly, the time and effort put into the proposal will result in the student doing work that will be in close touch with the supervisor’s interests. Thus, the finished report or research thesis will be highly focused and relevant. The chances are that it will enable the student to gain new data on the topic, data of which the supervisor will feel some ownership. This is important as it will build a feeling of common interest and accountability. Furthermore, the student will have to take his proposal through a number of draft stages, which involves a keen interaction with the supervisor. Agreement on what the proposal contains is confirmation about what the subsequent report will examine. A clear understanding of the research topic is not something that can just be assumed. Frequently, students will discover that what seems an obvious research topic is actually quite a complicated issue with information scattered across a number of sources. The process of drafting the proposal will enable the student to clarify if he has that clear understanding and will also reveal any misconceptions. Finally, a research proposal often forms a vital part of a student’s assessment exercise. It can have a great bearing on what marks or grades are achieved. This is a strong motivation for taking the proposal seriously.

3. Components of a Research Proposal

3.2 Abstract You should think of the abstract as a condensed version of the whole proposal. It is a summary of the proposal’s content. In a similar way to that in which it is often described in dissertations, an abstract is a very short summary of your entire research project.

3.1 Title This is a short (one or two sentence) description of what you want to do. The title should be informative, and should give some indication of what the proposed research is about.

There are a number of different components to a research proposal. One way of going about writing your research proposal is to take it as a series of papers, with each section being a paper. An alternative way of viewing the different components is to think of them occurring in a sequence, with the first few being put in place before you have thought in any detail about your research, and the others being completed after you have thought about your research in some depth, but before the research itself is carried out. The first way of doing it is akin to cooking a dish for which you have a recipe, the second is akin to cooking something by first gathering all of the ingredients available and then working out what to do with them. The two strategies will be discussed in sequence.

4. Writing a Research Proposal

As you well know, your research should lead to a hoped-for result or conclusion. In the process, you must convince your readers that the result is necessary and important. A research proposal does this by providing a clear plan and outline of your research ideas and the strategy you will adopt in carrying them out. The first step in writing a research proposal is to provide a clear, well thought out idea or area of study you wish to pursue. This may range from as general as “I want to understand the effect of X on Y” to as specific as “I want to find out how secondary school teachers in New Zealand handle students with ADHD in their classes and what strategies they employ to meet the needs of these students”. Though research proposals can be as or more specific in their direction than in the second example, it is important to remember that the more specific you can be the better, as it will keep your research focused and clear. Once you have a clear research idea, you must decide whether the information you have found on the topic or your own beliefs about the topic lead to a hypothesis. The hypothesis does not have to be one you will prove or disprove, but potentially a new angle on the topic or an educated guess on the result of your research. A clear hypothesis is central to your proposal as throughout the implementation of your research this is what you will be searching for or testing. With a clear research idea and hypothesis identified, this is where most research proposals should begin to take shape in a written outline.

5. Conclusion

It is advisable for a student to spend around 6 months to take and analyze any information from references, whether in the library or from the internet. The proposals cover all stages and each decision that is taken must be recorded with an appropriate explanation. A quality proposal shows the student’s ability to read and understand the information from each reference that was found. In this case, the student can record plain characteristics information from the chosen reference so that they can integrate it in making decisions when they use the reference to finish the final project.

The proposal is a detailed plan or ‘blueprint’ for the intended study, written in the form of research. The research is an important task that involves full effort from the researcher. The proposal happens before the research because it is a testing ground to find out whether a particular kind of research is worth doing or if it can show any good results. The proposal also prepares the researcher in the art of scientific investigation. The proposal is very detailed because the researcher has to clearly present each step in doing research, making it easier to be implemented. They can also skillfully anticipate any problems that are likely to arise in the study and find a way to solve them. If a problem is anticipated, there are a few alternative solutions that the researcher can choose. The right method for the research can be clearly selected. The proposal is good training for basic skill development and in preparing the report of a research. So, the proposal can help and guide the researcher in doing the research.

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