Research Proposal (100% of course mark)
Write a 3000 word academic Research Proposal for your chosen research topic.
The output from this assessment forms the basis for your Masters Dissertation.
Word limit: 3000 words with 10% leeway, not including title page, table of contents, references, and appendices.
STRUCTURE OF THE COMPLETED PROPOSAL
Word counts that follow are suggested parameters only. Students must develop their report in a manner appropriate to the topic and methods they choose.
Title page: the title page should include the following:
The title of the document (for example: “Research Proposal for a Masters Dissertation in COURSE YOU ARE STUDYING”).
Proposed title of your research.
Your name and student ID number.
The module name and code.
Abstract: A summary of your entire report (approx. 50 words).
Contents page: A table of contents.
Chapter One: Introduction
The introduction and aims of your project (approx. 450 words). Justify the importance of the proposed research and tell the reader why you feel the research / project you are planning is going to be worthwhile. Establish your research question early in the chapter. Be precise. Summarize your entire proposal. What is your research all about and how are you going to do it? The reader should be in no doubt as to precisely what it is that your research project hopes to achieve. A theory should be stated to explicate your expectations. Hypotheses should be stated for potential testing.
Chapter Two: Literature Review
A concise review of previous research in the area of study of your research proposal (approx. 700 words). Demonstrate your knowledge of the literature relevant to your project. Use the relevant literature to contextualize the specific problem within the wider literature. Ensure you use the Harvard referencing system. You should provide an overview of the key literature sources from which you intend to draw.
Chapter Three: Methodology
A description and justification of the data gathering methods you propose to gather your data to answer your research question (approx. 1500 words). It should include but is not limited to a thorough and specific description of your proposed research design/plan, a justification of your methods (including both a paradigmatic/philosophical justification and a data driven justification), all ethical issues considered and planned preparations for fieldwork (how will you be able to do it given real conditions?). Students need to demonstrate their understanding of research methods by explaining why their proposed research design is the most suitable method for answering their specific research question. Issues such as sampling design, reliability, validity, and delimitations should be explored. If you find it helpful, you may separate the methods chapter into the subsections described below.
3.1) Research Design: A detailed description of your research design. You need to provide enough specific information so anyone could understand your research plan and how you propose to accomplish your research. Specifics like a plan of when, where, how, with whom you plan to do your research should be included. What is your sample? How will you organise things? What deadlines will you place on yourself? You can think of some of this as a potential work schedule. Remember that the research needs to be realistic (‘do-able’). What are the delimitations of your research and design? How are you going to analyze the data? You should also discuss what you expect to find and why. What are the potential results? What would different results mean for the importance of your research?
3.2) Research Justification: Explain exactly why you are using your specific methods. What is your research paradigm and why? What specific data are your looking to acquire and why? Why are the methods you have chosen more appropriate than other methods? Why is the data you are targeting the best data for answering your question? What data (that might seem important) are you not gathering and why? (Depending on your writing style, you may want to combine this section with the previous section and write them together.)
(Most often 3.1 and 3.2 can be combined for ease of explanation, but make sure you have both a detailed and specific description of your research and a full justification.)
3.3) Ethical Considerations: Discuss the ethical issues surrounding your research and demonstrate that you have thought deeply about those issues. For example, how you plan to protect identities and ensure anonymity (confidentiality) if this is important for your research participants. Will you still be able to conduct your research if you are requested to protect commercially sensitive data?
Chapter Four: Conclusions
Briefly summarize the proposal. Then answer the question ‘so what?’. Revisit the justifications for the project. Why is this research important? Why are the potential results/findings important? How do the potential research and results pertain to the real world? (approx. 300 words).
Must be Harvard style. Source material must be cited both in-text and in the references page. See the Harvard referencing guide on Moodle for help (not applied to word count).
Generally not required, but may be supplied as desired to explicate materials discussed in the proposal. May contain sample interview questions, second source survey data, any other necessary data samples (not applied to word count). 7
You need not use BOTH qualitative and quantitative methods; you may use ONE or the OTHER or BOTH approaches.