what is the purpose of a research proposal

what is the purpose of a research proposal

The Importance of a Research Proposal

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1. Introduction

Ordinarily, a research proposal requires you to successfully identify a theoretical basis for your undertaking. This may be derived from a variety of sources, including: peer reviewed research and academic texts; professional or government guidelines; theoretical literature such as works on management or psychology; and your personal experience and insight. In turn, an effective theory is the coherent explanation and organisation of a collection of related constructs and is presupposed on the basis of established assumptions. The literature which you use as the basis of your proposal is the source of your theory, and will also shape the theoretical framework of your proposal and indeed project. This is a critical element of any proposal because reviewers use an application’s theory as a gauge to how well your project has been thought out and whether it is feasible. A well thought out and presented theory will also serve as a guide to how your methodology should be designed.

2. Purpose of a Research Proposal

Every proposal should have a purpose. The purpose of the research proposal is to show your examiners that you have thought through your topic, and that you are not just reporting, but you are proposing a study. A research proposal is a document in which you outline the case for undertaking the research project, your dissertation or thesis, and present your plans for carrying out the work. It is needed to enrol for a higher research degree, but to a lesser extent for postgraduate study (MPhil/PhD, MRes, EngD). It is a crucial and in-depth part of the first year confirmation process (PhD MPhil confirmation) and must be completed satisfactorily before you can proceed to the second year. The proposal will also be used to assess your expertise in the area in which you would like to conduct research, your knowledge of the existing literature (and how your project will enhance it) and your ability to express complex ideas critically, logically, and concisely. Your oral presentation of the proposal will be assessed at the same time, and this will also contribute to your final mark. Your research proposal in its entirety may be a little long to present to someone outside of the academia. You may therefore need to use several drafts with different groups of people to fulfill your proposed outcomes. A very useful way of improving it is to learn from someone else’s work, which could be a model/demonstration on a similar topic. This can be done at any point in the proposal, and may be beneficial if the results of one section influenced what you can do in others. An example is a music research proposal I once used for myself. This was due to my study being related to it so the results of one could help with the other. For example, part of the music research proposal could be used as a source for improved activity on music therapy studies. Any constructive feedback would help to improve the proposal so it better suits your intentions. Remember to ensure that the proposal is exact and closely meets the aims and objectives of your research project. This is important because the criteria on which you are assessed are those that will be used to assess your mark in any formal piece of work that is part of your degree.

3. Components of a Research Proposal

There are a few views on how the research proposal should be structured and written. But what works effectively is linked to what one wants to achieve. A postgraduate student will definitely need a well-structured research proposal than an undergraduate. But both may be applying the same principles and techniques. This is simply because a postgraduate student is aspiring to do a more complex research if being an MPhil or PhD student. For example, if a PhD research project intended to find a cure for a new strain of virus, compared to an undergraduate writing an economics essay. Both would be required that the research questions be answered effectively, but the PhD student will need to add that extra detail since the research is a more complex and asking questions that are not easy to define.

This has been taken directly from an information sheet about a research proposal from Leeds University. It clearly defines the aim of preparing a research proposal. Although the purpose of a research proposal is clear, there are always questions as to what should it include and how much detail should be given. Most lecturers or tutors would outline the specific requirements they want from the research proposal. But here we are going to use advice given from “Punch, K.F.” and his book “Developing Effective Research Proposal” (2000) to identify and explain the content and questions the proposal should answer.

The research proposal is a detailed plan that outlines a research project. It provides a clear understanding of what the research intends to accomplish. The research proposal is used for two things: a) to see if the research will fit in the advisor’s preference and the intended program, and b) to see if the research the student wants to explore is worthy enough to do a dissertation on.

Title: “3. Components of a Research Proposal”

4. Benefits of Writing a Research Proposal

This section covers the primary purpose of research proposal writing. Research proposals are designed to initiate a research project. They provide a detailed description of the proposed plan, which is then assessed and evaluated. It is an opportunity to convince the evaluation board that the proposed study is important, worth doing, and feasible. It is an application process and one of the best ways to test whether the research is viable and whether the researcher has the capacity to carry it out. If the answer is in the negative, it is better to find that out at the outset rather than when much time and effort has been invested with disappointing results. Having to know that what is written needs to be convincing, the researcher is forced to make a plan – sometimes decisions about the research are made on the spot with little thought, which can be a waste of time and effort. Thus, a research proposal can act as a safety net. The benefits of writing a research proposal go beyond being a requirement for a PhD application; it can also determine the success of the research.

5. Conclusion

In other words, writing a research proposal is nothing more than a fairly simple series of logical steps. Can anyone do that? Of course they can. The issue is that doing it successfully and documenting all steps in a way that is useful in the future are two very different things! For many researchers, this is a hard task. Many have trouble expressing the rationale of their problem. They find it difficult to translate their best understanding and insight about the topic into a method for studying it. Time and time again, some see this as a wasted effort with little direction. The end result might not be a success for the person carrying out the research. Unfortunately, this little failure can have long-term effects. It can be the difference between funding and no funding, the difference between a good grade and a great one. Just because one cannot write a good research proposal does not mean the research itself is subpar! All these factors come from poor preparation and failure to make clear the dynamic spiral.

In conclusion, a research proposal is important to communicate to others what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. It gives a detailed explanation of your interested field of topic, your research question, the significance of your research idea, and how far you think your research idea will go. It also explains the method and process of how you are going to collect and later analyze the data, and how far your information can provide a rational explanation and solution to the topic being studied. A clear research proposal written allows the possibility of adapting your work at a later date. It lays the foundation for the thesis or dissertation that will come from it. If you can develop an action research proposal, ceteris paribus, you can more successfully complete the steps that follow. A clear, concise, and well-documented research proposal can begin to prepare you for the written report or thesis.

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