WRITING RESEARCH PROPOSALS/COMPLETING THE RESEARCH

 

I.                    Introduction.

A.     After you have designed a research project, before you actually begin the research, you typically will write a research proposal.

B.     The purpose of writing a proposal is to:

1.      Get approval to carry out the project.

2.      Obtain funding for the project.

C.     Basically, proposals are designed to:

1.      Demonstrate that the research is worth doing.

2.      Demonstrate that the study is carefully planned and can be carried out.

3.      Demonstrate that the researcher is competent to do the research.

 

II.                 An Outline of a Quantitative Proposal.

A.     State the research problem.

1.      State clearly what the project is about.

a.       Indicate the projects central subject or topic.

b.      Provide any necessary background information on the topic.

c.       Indicate why the topic needs to be studied.

d.      Indicate the major goals of the project.

2.      State why the study is worth doing.

a.       Indicate who would be interested in and/or affected by the results of the study.

b.      Indicate what kinds of useful information are likely to be produced and what the individual, social, and political implications of the findings are likely to be.

c.       State how the study will reach its goals by briefly describing the research to be conducted.

B.     Review the relevant literature and state your hypothesis.

1.      Provide an integrated review of substantively relevant literature.

2.      Provide an integrated review of the theoretically relevant literature.

3.      State your research hypothesis.

C.     Discuss the methodology in detail.

1.      Discuss the method of data collection to be used.

a.       Identify and discuss your chosen method.

b.      Justify your choice.

2.      Discuss the operationalization of concepts.

a.       Define key concepts, including a discussion of their relevant dimensions.

b.      Identify and discuss indicators.

c.       Present your measurement instrument(s), often as an appendix.

3.      Discuss your sampling strategy and administration procedures.

a.       Define your population.

b.      Identify your sampling strategy and discuss how your sample will be drawn.

c.       Discuss how the data will actually be collected.

4.      Discuss how you will process and analyze the data.
   a.  Where and how will the data be entered and stored?
   b.  What software will be used to manage and analyze the data?
   c.  Discuss checking and cleaning the data.

         d.  Discuss recoding existing variables and computing new ones.
   e.  What analyses will be performed.  Specifically, what tests will be used to evaluate your hypotheses?

5.      Discuss the ethics of the project by either integrating ethics into the methodology section or discussing ethics in a separate section.

a.       Discuss possible risks to subjects and what procedures are in place to reduce the risks.

b.      Discuss anonymity and confidentiality.

c.       Discuss informed consent and voluntary participation.

d.      Discuss any deceptions and manipulations.

e.       Discuss the need for IRB approval.

    1. Provide an estimated budget, often as an appendix.
    2. Discuss the time frame of the project, either as an appendix or integrated into the methodology discussion.
    3. Provide a list of references at the end of the proposal.

 

III.              Doing the Research.

A.     Carrying out the project.

1.      Gaining approval.

2.      Obtaining funding and other resources.

3.      Implementation.

4.      Writing up and presenting findings.

a.       Writing the research report.

b.      Presenting research findings at professional conferences.

c.       Publishing research findings in academic journals.

                        d.   Presenting findings as a report to a sponsoring agency.
B.     The political and social context of research.

1.      The scientific community.

2.      Research sponsorship and funding.

3.      The political and social context.

4.      Cultural values.

5.      Class, race, and sex.

6.      The uses and abuses of research.