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Writing a Research Proposal

Writing a Research Proposal

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Published by malyn1218

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Published by: malyn1218 on Apr 13, 2009
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Reviewers of research proposals, whether they are faculty, funding sponsors, or  peer reviewers , want a clear idea of what the researcher plans to do, how and whenvarious task are to be accomplished, and whether the researcher is capable of successfullyfollowing the proposed plan of action. Proposals are generally evaluated on a number of criteria, including the importance of the research question, its theoretical relevance, theadequacy of the research methods, the availability of appropriate personnel and facilities,and, if money is being requested, the reasonableness of the budget. General guidelines for  preparing research proposals follow:
Proposals often begin with a brief synopsis of the proposed research. The abstracthelps to establish a frame of reference for the reviewers as they begin to read the proposal. The abstract should be brief (usually 200 to 300 words in length) and shouldconcisely state the study objectives and methods to be used.
The problem that the intended research will address is ordinarily identified earlyin the proposal. The problem should be stated in such a way that its importance isapparent to the reviewer. On the other hand, the researcher should not promise more thancan be produced. A broad and complex problem is unlikely to be solvable or manageable.
The proposal needs to describe clearly how the proposed research will make acontribution to knowledge. The proposal should indicate the expected generalizability of the research, its contribution to theory, its potential for improving nursing practice and patient care, and possible applications or consequences of the knowledge to be gained.
A section of the proposal is often devoted to an exposition of how the intendedresearch builds on what has already been done in an area. The background materialshould strengthen the author’s arguments concerning the significance of the study, orientthe reader to what is already known about the problem, and indicate how the proposedresearch will augment that knowledge; it should also serve as a demonstration of theresearcher’s command of current knowledge in a field.
Specific, achievable objectives provide the reader with clear criteria against whichthe proposed research methods can be assessed. Objectives stated as research hypothesesor specific models to be tested are often preferred. Whenever the theoretical backgroundof the study, existing knowledge, or the researcher’s experience permit an explicit predictions should be included in the proposal. Avoid the use of null hypotheses whichcreate an amateurish impression. In exploratory or descriptive research, the formulationof hypotheses might not be feasible. Objectives, in such cases, may be most conveniently phrased as question.
The explanation of the research methods should be thorough enough that a reader will have no question about how the research objectives will be addressed. A thoroughmethods section includes a description of the sampling plan, research design,instrumentation, specific procedures, and analytic strategies, together with a discussion of 
the rationale for the methods, potential methodological problems, and intended strategiesfor handling such problems.
Researchers often describe in the proposal their plan for managing the flow of work on a research project. The researchers indicate in the work plan the sequence of tasks to be performed, the anticipated length of time required for their completion, andthe personnel required for their accomplishment. The work plan indicates to the reader how realistic and thorough how realistic and thorough the researcher has been indesigning the study.
In proposals addressed to funding agencies, the qualifications of key project personnel should be described. The research competencies of the project director andother team members are typically given major consideration in evaluating a proposal.
The proposal should document the extent to which special facilities required bythe project will be available. Access to physiologic instrumentation, libraries, data processing equipment, computers, special documents or records, and subjects should bedescribe to reassure sponsors and advisers that the project will be able to proceed as planned. The willingness of the institution with which the researcher is affiliated toallocate space, equipment, services, or data should also be indicated.
The budget translates the project activities into monetary terms. It is a statementof how much money will be required to accomplish the various tasks. A well- conceivedwork plan greatly facilitates the preparation of the budget. If there are no inordinatedifficulties in detailing financial needs, there may be reason to suspect that the work planis insufficiently developed.

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