A research proposal

A research proposal

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Assignment Question

You are required to write a research proposal.

Before carrying out research for a funding body, government department or simply in-house, university researchers have to put together a proposal, noting what they want to uncover and how they would go about doing the project if they were successful in gaining funding. Going through the process of thinking about the research focus and the manner in which it will be carried out is part of the research and helps the researcher to get at the core of what they want to uncover.

The aim of the assignment is for you to demonstrate your understanding of the theories and practices involved in carrying out a piece of research. It must include at least one example of:

(i) a qualitative method of research

(ii) a quantitative method of research

You may wish to use this assignment as a chance to develop a proposal for your dissertation research.

The research proposal should be organised and submitted under the following headings:

The Research Problem

This is the introduction to the proposal. It should give the context of the research problem and highlight why the topic you are going to research is important. You might like to identify why the gap exists that your research will fill. You should detail the specific research question(s) you seek to answer and set out a short list of clear aims and objectives.

Theoretical Perspectives

You must make sure you justify your research with a rationale grounded in existing academic literature; in other words, you will need to conduct a preliminary review of texts, journal articles and research studies which cover the same or similar areas that form the subject area of your research.

Research Methodology

You should describe in detail the methods you propose to use (e.g. documentary evidence, questionnaires, interviews) and why you consider them to be most suitable for gathering the necessary information to address your research problem. You should also suggest how you will analyse all the data you collect. You will need to refer to your research methods textbook and any other relevant literature to support your choice of methods and analysis.

Anticipated Problems

You should be able to anticipate problems in conducting your research and also be able to offer solutions as to ways of overcoming them (e.g. how to gain access to an appropriate sample). In this section you also need to address the ethical issues associated with your research.

You should aim to achieve a balance between all of the sections of your proposal and do not allow the discussion of one area to dominate over all the others; for example, if you are conducting a library-based study you may think that you have relatively little to say about research methods or ethics but do bear in mind that critical and extended literature reviews are as valid a form of research as any other and you should explain, evaluate and justify this choice of method .

Do remember that you are not required or permitted to actually gather any data. This is a proposal for a piece of research which you could undertake in the future.

You must make sure that all in-text and end-text references conform to the style set out in the course referencing guide which you will find here

Recommended Reading

Bell, J. (2010) Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science (5th Edition), Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods (4th Edition), Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Crow, I. and Semmens, N. (2008) Researching Criminology, Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Davies, P., Francis, P. and Jupp, V. (2011) Doing Criminological Research (2nd edn), London: Sage.

Leedy, P. and Ormrod, J. E. (2012) Practical Research: Planning and Design (10th edn), New Jersey: Pearson.

May, T. (2011) Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process (4th edn), Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Oliver, P. (2010) The Student’s Guide to Research Ethics (2nd edn), Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Punch, K.F. (2006) Developing Effective Research Proposals (2nd edn), London: Sage.

Robson, C.R. (2011) Real World Research (3rd edn), Chichester: Wiley.

Please consult the list of additional readings and resources for unit-specific books and articles.

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