You are on page 1of 47

Debre Markos University

College of Technology

A SIMPLIFIED GUIDE TO WRITE TECHNICAL
RESEARCH

Prepared by:
Dr. Ruvel J. Cuasito, Sr.,
PECE and
Dr. Bimrew Tamrat

Date:
23/01/2015

Table of Contents
I. What Research Is...................................................1
1.1.Basic steps of a research project......................1
1.2.Selecting a Research Topic................................1
2. Developing Research Proposal..............................2
2.1.What is a research proposal?............................2
2.2.Where to start to develop a research proposal?3
2.3.What should be included in a research
proposal?.................................................................3
2.4.General pointers of research proposal..............9
2.5.What criteria are used to review my research
proposal?.................................................................9
3. Developing the Full-Blown Research......................9
3.1.Chapter 1 – The Introduction.............................9
3.2 Chapter 1 Activities:........................................16
4. Chapter 2 – Review of Related Studies................18
5. Chapter 3 – Methodology....................................18
6. Chapter 4 – Results and Discussions...................20
8. Bibliography........................................................23
9. Appendices..........................................................23

10......................................................Curriculum Vitae
23

Why o Define populationWho. Considerations in Selecting a Topic o Personal interest / Passion o Importance / Contribution to the field o Newness / Relevance . Basic steps of a research project o Find a topicWhat. Selecting a Research Topic o What are some considerations when selecting a research topic? I.2. What Research Is o Research is: “…the systematic process of collecting and analyzing information (data) in order to increase our understanding of the phenomenon about which we are concerned or interested.” I.2.1.1.I. When o Formulate questionsWhat. When o Select design & measurementHow o Gather evidenceHow o Interpret evidenceWhy o Tell about what you did and found out I.

Narrow your topic .Specifically and unambiguously define terms . Sources of Research Topics o Peer-reviewed journals in your field o Personal experiences o Work setting experiences o Existing literature “Recommendations for future research…” I. Refining Your Topic o Refinement needed for effective and efficient research .See if your idea has been tried .State research questions and hypotheses o A literature review will help you .3.Organizational support .o Feasibility .Availability of Subjects I.Tradeoff between rigor and practicality .2.Economic factors .Identify a theoretical framework .Ethical constraints .Time constraints .2.2.

Select instruments . The plan is essential to ensuring that careful consideration is given to why the research is needed. Developing Research Proposal 2.Anticipate common problems 2.1. and to what methods will best suit according to the purpose of the study. A research proposal typically includes the following:  Background and rationale of the study  Review of related literature/studies  Statement of the problem  Objectives and expected outcomes of the study  Methodology .Include all relevant constructs . What is a research proposal? A research proposal is a written plan for a specific research project. Proposals are developed to enable the researchers to design and organize a particular project..

Where to start to develop a research proposal? The preliminary point for developing a research proposal is to identify the research problem or questions. series of . It is also helpful to consult research adviser/experts for possible refinement of the research problem and to identify resources which may help in addressing the research questions. Ideas for research can come from many sources. including issues arising from the experiences. and challenges encountered by relevant practitioners and enthusiasts and or questions arising from relevant literatures and studies. The feasibility of the research idea/concept should be Breaking taken careful down research consideration questions into this time.2. it is important to start by undertaking a literature search and reading some relevant research works that has been written relative to the research concept of interest. Once an idea or research concept is considered. Work plan (Gantt Chart)  Proposed budget 2.

“Example: Unfortunately. What should be included in a research proposal? The overall structure of a research proposal is generally standard. structured with the programming progress technique.questions or identifying various stages which may be inherent in answering the research questions. funding bodies and other committees may have particular requirements that it is essential that this requirements carefully for specific should instructions to be read suit the fundamental requirements. The typical elements of a research proposal include:  Background and rationale of the study – this section answers the question: Why is this research needed? It includes the detailed review of relevant researches and the need for further study in some similar area of interests.3. of the most computer programmers have become very . 2. It should strengthen the argument as to why the research is important to be undertaken. However.

One of these is the overhead in execution time and memory space used by a particular language to effect the module call (Stevens et al.concerned with programming standards regarding form and structure. In fact. Although these standards have contributed positively to reducing program complexity. This is especially true when the program in question is to be used many times. no matter how small may need to be avoided” . In this case. 1983). 1979). Overuse of these modules or subroutine calls on a program may be detrimental to its execution efficiency and this can bloat the cost of systems operation. and very little attention seems to be now given on how the program is actually coded. there are also some disadvantages on their applications. and some forms of overhead. a fast program is necessary. and if many of the program runs are given large amounts of input (Aho et al. there are times when the cost of running a program may far exceeds writing it.

While the study should have general statement of purpose. “Example: There is a need to determine the effect of subroutine calls and find out if it is indeed detrimental on the execution efficiency of a program. achievable and meritorious. Statement of problem and objectives of the study – this section answer the question: What do you want to accomplish? The purpose of any research study is to address a research problem or question. whether it is different hoped that program the question constructs or structures really affect the execution speed of programs and how much the effects of the subroutine calls are specific to language of implementation can be answered. measurable. By conducting performance evaluation experiments. it is also important to include specific objectives that must be specific.” . It should include a concise statement about the desired outcomes that will be achieved during the conduct of research.

. The research should present compelling arguments and clearly show its significant impact to various stakeholders. Significance of the study – this is brief section which should answer the question: Why is this research needed? This section should describe the importance of the research for the furtherance of learning and to the economy.

”  Objectiveso The function of objectives is to give direction to the research. in unit of time. This will give computer programmers and students an idea of the execution-costs.“Example: With the awareness on the effect of subroutine calls on the execution performance of a program. realizing the kind of effect that subroutine calls can cause to a program’s execution speed can give idea to future studies on how compilers should be developed to counter whatever these effects are. of some program structures as compared to the simple sequential structure. or how the costs of these subroutine calls can be reduced should these be proved to be very significant. Also. . programmers and students can be guided in the design and actual coding of their programs. This can help them attain a good program design to be able to save on the cost of program development or implementation depending on the nature of the software application.

The presentation should be neutral. Only one topic should be addressed by an objective. letters.  Objectives may be classified as general or specific. o As a manner of presentation.  The infinitive form of verbs should be used. the following are usually observe:  Objectives are written in listed form using numbers.  If an objective is dependent on another.o Its content includes statements of results the research is expected to achieve. or any form of separators or identifiers. “Example: This study aims to determine the effects of subroutine calls on the execution speed of a .  Objectives should be within the scope of the problem. clear presentation and distinction should be made.

7. the objectives of this study are to perform experiments to be able to: 1. investigate the run time behavior of a combinatorial algorithm when implemented with different program structures. and. Specifically. estimate the cost of a C function. determine different type the of performance Pascal of subroutines the in comparison with the sequential structure.  Methodology – . investigate the performance of some sorting algorithms when implemented in Pascal with and without a swap procedure. 6.” 5. 3. 4. estimate the cost of a Pascal procedure call and to compare the performance of the Pascal and C languages in effecting a simple subroutine call. estimate the cost of nested Pascal procedure calls and to compare this with the cost of procedure calls from the main program. 2. compare the performance of local and global variables when used in a Pascal procedure.program.

treatment/s. design.o The section on Methodology presents the materials and the steps to be followed in conducting the research. computers. sample size. interview guide. o It may contain any of the following:  research methods. technique/s. sampling techniques  operational definition of terms  respondents  instruments – questionnaire.  step-by-step procedure  statistical analysis to be done  population.  instruments and equipment – test tubes. plants. beakers. etc. chemicals. o It shows the soundness and the appropriateness of the materials and methods to meet the research objectives. etc. number of replications  materials – experimental animals. interview schedule  data to be gathered/that were gathered  sources of information . solutions.

5. performance of the C function call. 4.e. 3. performance implementations of of the Pascal some sorting algorithms with and without a swap procedure. “Example: This study is composed of experiments designed to determine the following: 1. performance of the nested Pascal procedure calls. and . performance of the Pascal subroutine calls with parameter passing (i. sometimes in paragraph form. 6. performance of the Pascal procedure call. Presentation uses indicative mood. or a combination of both. detailed schedule of activities or work plan o As a manner of presentation. 2. performance of the Pascal procedure call when local and global variables are used. function and procedure). a numbered list form is often used. and in future tense.. passive voice.

how and where? The methods chosen should be relevant to the questions to be answered. create a work plan to help you manage your time. and should be feasible. assess and renegotiate your work plan . set goals. The methods should clearly explain the description about:  The design  The development process  The implementation  The evaluation It must be noted that the methods used are rigorous enough so that they achieve the objectives of the study. this section should answer the question: What is to be done. calls performance of the Pascal procedure as applied to a combinatorial algorithm.  Work plan.Early in the thesis process. As your project evolves.”  Generally. on whom. and work productively during the many stages of the dissertation.7. It is helpful to provide timeline and target dates for each research stages.

Creating a work plan will help you to:      Break down the large.as necessary. overwhelming process of writing a research into manageable steps Keep a "daily commitment" with your research Discover and take advantage of your most productive work habits Set goals and reward yourself for achieving them Balance research writing with the other aspects of your life Sample Work Plan Main Activities Literature reviews Mathematica l Modeling Work (Conceptual) System Simulation Prototype Manufacturin g Experiment Work Writing & Compilation Time in Weeks (March 2015 to Rem June 2015) ark 2 4 10 12 16 .

components. General pointers of research proposal . 2. If in case the study requires resources beyond what is being offered by a particular funding body. The budget presentation should be justifiable and demonstrate accountability. communications and others inherent to the conduct of research. However. documentation. It must be insured that the budget allocation is sufficient to achieve the research objectives.4. a detailed strategy may be well presented as to how the remaining cost requirement may be acquired and allocated for the successful completion of the research project. a proposal revision may be undertaken to address only to some specific component of the proposed study. Budget – this section should answer the question: What are the costs associated with the study? A budget for research can include cost of personnel services. equipment.

What criteria are used to review my research proposal? Reviewers will generally ask the following questions:  Is the research well planned?  Is the research important?  Is the applicant aware of other research in the area?  Does the applicant have the ability to complete the project?  Is the support requested appropriate for the project? .5. they should agree that it is:  Clear  Coherent  Convincing  Concise  Complete 2.When others read your research proposal.

Chapter 1 – The Introduction  The purpose of the introduction is to give a solid background of the phenomena being studied.3. technical justification.1. This information may include the need to replicate previous studies due to some shortcomings or to apply previous research to a different population. advantage of what is being proposed and . Developing the Full-Blown Research 3. The introduction generally covers the following: problem to be identified and defined. New theory can also be discussed including the qualitative and the quantitative data that led to new idea about a relationship. the reader should be able to understand the need for the present study and have concrete understanding of the researcher’s theory. In general. It provides information that will lead into the statement of problem.

presents the value of the project (impact). Example – May be written using some fundamental technical definitions. The aforementioned may be well presented using the following sequence:  Brief latest evolution of the technology – describes how the technology surfaced and its motivational factors of its development. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica a robot is "any automatically operated machine that replaces human effort. or "forced- . 2008). though it may not resemble human perform beings in functions appearance in a or humanlike manner." which means "slave-like labor "(Encyclopaedia Britannica." The word "Robot" comes from the Czech word "Robota.

Merriam-Webster (2008) describes a robot as a "machine that looks like a human being and performs various complex acts (as walking or talking) of a human being". Example – write the reason why robotic technology is developed. The application of .  Significant impact of the technology – describes the significant impact of the technology in terms of economic. or a "mechanism guided by automatic controls". or a "device that automatically performs complicated often repetitive tasks". Robots are developed to mimic human dynamics through microcontroller-based control and programming. academic and social impact.work". The example above used technical definitions extracted from legitimate sources to jumpstart the foundation of the research subject (robotics).

however the ideas presented may be re-enforced through collaborating facts and information from various credible sources with proper citation. Teleoperation and . The example above is written per the author’s intellectual ascent/idea/intuition.robots are sought not just to substitute human labor but also to safeguard humans from hazardous environments. Baudoin and Habib (2010) in their book “Using Robots in Hazardous Environment: Landmine Detection. The application of robots are sought not just to substitute human labor but also to safeguard humans from hazardous environments. Example .Robots are developed to mimic human dynamics based control through and microcontroller- programming. Demining and other Applications” review the development of robotic systems for de-mining and other risky activities and discusses the development and applications of sensors for mine detection using different robotic systems.

assisting surgeons during surgery to participating in remote telesurgical procedures (Lee. are designed Accuracy for and precision reliability are essential characteristics of any mechanical system. Robots applications.autonomous robot navigation were highlighted in the development review. It must be noted that some trade-offs may have been experienced in the utility of the technology which can be related in the following sequence:  Global scene  National scene  Local scene Example – Building robots that learn to perform a task has been acknowledged as . and with the evolution of machines capable of precise movements. Stoianavici and Kavoussi. Cadeddu. 1999).  Challenges of the technology – describes the various challenges posed by the development. the integration of medicine and machine is achievable. Robots have evolved from the assembly line to the operating room.

mobile humanoid robots manipulators can be and potentially dangerous should a collision occur. In the near future. i. van den Berg. Bekris. their guaranteed ability to avoid collision (Fraichard. grasp acquisition. It is therefore critical to assert and characterize their motion safety.e. A key need in robotics is reliable prediction of actions involving intermittent contact such as legged locomotion over rough terrain. The aforementioned example mentioned about development challenges in robotics. it may also be considered to mention other challenges in other . 2011). 1993). it is expected that robotic systems will share the human living and working spaces. and multi-robot assembly (Trinkle. However. Shridhar. 2011). automated vehicles. Mahadevan.. manipulation.one of the artificial major challenges intelligence facing (Connell. While moving (especially at high speed).

 Interventions challenges and – initiatives describes that some mitigate prevailing interventions and initiatives imposed by other scientists to alleviate challenges based on technology innovations and/or technology-based treatment which can also be in the following sequence:  Global scene  National scene  Local scene This section may highlight some relevant studies conducted so as to provide benchmark information to some mitigating measures/approaches/strategies to arrest the challenges. training deficiencies. and material availability. Osentiski and Rusu (2011) explores new approaches to mobile manipulation with . Katz. Klingbeil.areas of important concerns: learning tools inadequacy. Example – Brock.

It requires perceptual and manipulation skills which are robust against sparse. manipulation in human environments is challenging because of the associated high dimensional state space and its inherent uncertainties. oftentimes resulting from the robot's own interactions. incomplete and noisy information. leveraging past experience. In such environments.  Problem Statement – this section should recognize and acknowledge the aforementioned arguments presented as challenges and interventions that can be utilized as motivating factor for some potent solution based on technology innovations and or other forms of technology-based treatment. promises an increased robustness and reliability.an emphasis on the relationship between machine learning interaction in Autonomous and human successful environments. .

Example arguments – The aforementioned provided compelling motivation to undertake the development of an educational and entertainment mobile robot that performs intelligent navigation utilizing an Arduino microcontroller in C-Language as a test bed in microcontroller programming. The study therefore seeks to address the following questions: . development. The design and development of this mobile robot will enhance learning across basic mobile robot autonomous navigation and control. it provides better solution and resolution to stakeholders. The study therefore should seek to address some prevailing issues and or questions with respect to the design. development. implementation and evaluation of the proposed project/study. Presentation of proposed solution – presents that through the design. implementation and evaluation of the proposed technology-based treatment.

What design parameters should be considered in the development of mobile robot relative to its control functionality? 2. May contains implications for empirical testing Example . What control parameters should be used to efficiently navigate the mobile robot with respect to its input and output relationship? 3. What are the evaluation parameters to be used to measure the performance.1.The general objectives of the study is to provide mitigating measure to instructional tool inadequacy in the academe . acceptability and pedagogic capabilities of the mobile robot?  Research Objectives (Main & Specific Objectives) May be a statement of an outcome of the study in terms of variables.

To design an educational and entertainment mobile robot using an Arduino/PIC/Zilog/C8051F330D microcontroller in C-Language. general methodology and .  Scope and Limitation – describes the specific coverage of the study bearing the enabling technologies involved. To evaluate the performance of the mobile robot according to established test instrument. To implement the established control concepts relative to its corresponding input and output relationship and control framework. To develop accordance a to mobile robot established in design parameters. The specific objectives are: 1.through the development of educational and entertainment mobile robot using indigenous materials as pedagogic intervention to enhance learning interest across science and technology. 2. 4. 3.

the project setting. and line following capability. Servo/DC motors are the preferred drivers which triggering elements are input dependent on appropriate switches/sensors. Other technologies may be mentioned and classified under the limitation of the study. Example: The premise of the study covers the design. computational design Machine and other mathematical functionality model are not included in the study.  Theoretical Framework or Conceptual Framework or Organization of the Study – (input – process – output ) framework . Relevant information which is withheld may also be classified under the limitation. development and evaluation of a pedagogic mobile robot utilizing Arduino/PIC/Zilog/ C8051F330D/etc. The fundamental control function is anchored on the ability of the robot to detect object. evade obstacle. microcontroller in C- programming language.

The study is anchored on the system framework as shown in Figure 1 where input/output devices are connected to the microprocessor modules. Table 1: The MoBot Input/Output Control Framework is .Example: The control framework used in the study follows the input – process – output relationship as shown in Table 1. The input and output relationship and or action of the prototype depend on the designed system truth table. Switches and other sensing devices are connected to the appropriate input module of the microcontroller while output devices are connected to the designated output module of the controller. system programming accomplished in through C-language an interfacing circuit. Electronic instructions via C-language programming contribute to the mobile robot artificial intelligence anchored in the system truth table shown in Table 2.

Input Process Output Switches/sen Microcontroll Motors. LED. direction turn right or (reverse or left forward/stop Software Programm ing and Interfacing Input Devices System Processor Output Devices Figure 1: Control Systems Framework . Motor forward or rotational reverse. sors er Camera Table 2: The Fundamental System Truth Table System Truth Table Input Output Switches/sen LEDs (On or sors Action Move Off).

 Substantiate information from various sources relative to the arguments presented with proper citation. 3.2Chapter 1 Activities: 3.2.  Supplement available information through written discussion with own . you should be able to:  Describe the fundamental content of the background and rationale of a research. 1 – Writing the Fundamental Introduction of the Research Objectives: After completing this chapter guide.  Write an introductory premise of your research interest benchmarked using technical available information about the subject.1 Activity No. Definition of Terms – technical terminologies that are significantly used in the study are defined explicitly to provide the reader the fundamental understanding of the terms utilized.

2 – Enhancing the introduction through information reinforcement. you should be able to:  Enhance and expand existing essay by incorporating other relevant collaborating information and . Use relevant references to jumpstart the essay with proper citation. Objectives: After completing this activity. 3.2. 3. 2.intuitive ideas to corroborate or in conflict with the information at hand. Develop a short introduction describing the fundamental definition and or current evolution of a particular technology of interest by following the suggestions/guidelines presented above. Express in writing your intuitive understanding of the information at hand and supplement the ideas that have been organized so far.2 Activity No. Methods: 1.

3.3 Activity No. Expand the essay by discussing the significant impact of the technology of interest with proper citation. 2. Expand write-up and by enhance your incorporating corroborating information initial additional from other references with proper citations.  Describe the milestone and challenges of the technology of interest. Describe the significant impact of the technology in terms of social. 3.3 – Writing transitional sentences. economic and academic influence with proper citation.Chapter 2 – Review of Related Studies  Brief current evolution of the technology . 4. Write the significant milestone and challenges met relative to the technology utilization.2. Methods: 1.

Chapter 3 – Methodology  The method section is often the most precisely written part replication of and a research analyzing report. methods Since is so important. Significant Impact of the current technology  Challenges of the current technology o Global scene o National scene o Local scene Interventions and initiatives to mitigate  challenges o Global scene o National scene o Local scene 5. The methods section should look for information regarding the subjects and the manner in which . a good deal of time should be spent analyzing this section. It is imperative to understand the foundation of each study and be able to critically analyze how the data that will lead to the results the section was derived.

data collection. specification of variables. represents conduct the his way the observation researchers or collects information includes specifics as the location of the study. analysis of data.the subjects were selected. The strengths and weaknesses of the type of design used and how the researchers used control groups or group that were not equivalent should be well understood. the methods should have the following: describes the overall plan and strategies for attaining the stated objectives of the research. Generally. sampling design.  describes how the following contributes to the technical design:  power supply . Should describe how the following are undertaken:  Design.

x) Development. Implementation  describes the preliminary testing and troubleshooting techniques used and the observations inherent to system commissioning. 3D models. etc. .x or Table x.  describes how the sub-components are to be interlinked or interconnected in accordance to the pre-established systems design (system’s integration). microcontroller board  interfacing circuit  microcontroller pin assignments  machine elements  motor mounting  control design (system truth table/action table) (Google sketches. schematic diagrams. must be well presented and marked as Figure x. Inter-system relationships are expected to be explained..

time speed. mobility.  Descriptive Statistics may be used to measure frequencies or percentages and the mean responses through the five point rating scale (Likert scale).49 - . operability. cost and pedagogic capability. sensing. efficiency.  The five Point Rating Scale (i. Likert Scale) Adjectival Rating Scale Range 1 – Not Applicable below 1.  Performance through can be measured functionality. Evaluation  Describes how the project outcome may be tested and or evaluated in terms of performance. angular displacements real linear or accuracy and etc. controllability.e.

49 5 – Very High 4.50 – above 6.49 3 – Fair 2. prototypes Photos/pictures must be of well presented/marked and explained. compared and accomplished discussed.50 – 4.50 – 2.2 – Poor 1.  Example presentation of percentages Range of Mechatronics Industry survey suggests that the range of mechatronics as presented by Craig (2009) is present and is actually being utilized by . Designed drawings and accomplished designs must be well presented.49 4 – High 3.Chapter 4 – Results and Discussions The results and discussions should be in conjunction with the stipulated methodology.50 – 3.

Among the core courses validated.3 of shows mechatronics the percentage core courses adapted by the industries that indicate the mechatronics core courses application in Robotic industries. there were respondents that are not keen on doing systems modeling and simulation .industrial practitioners in Mindanao industrial zone. software affirmation of and their electronics usefulness in received their 80% fields of disciplines. the use of mechanics and microcontroller are overwhelmingly affirmed by practitioners with 90% rating. However. Table summary 3. The use of sensors.

 Sample presentation of summary of mean responses. .33% and 33. System modeling and simulation are usually performed in the design or engineering department.having ratings of 43.33% respectively which may be attributed to their nature of assignment. The initial findings points that the technical application of knowledge relative to the mechatronics core courses strengthen the theory of Van Brussel (1996) that mechatronics has become the concurrent engineering thinking framework in process of designing complex machines.

most respondents rated very high marks on the mechatronics applied technologies except for Distributed Control System (DCS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) which are identified to be more prominent in the power industry.3 shows the mean responses of applied mechatronics range in the industry. Chemical. metal and power industries in the region signified utility in SCADA and DCS.Table 4. . the contradicting utility of machine networking. DCS and SCADA operate effectively through machine to machine communication network system. wireless Machine system to communicate compatible automated industrial process machines. As shown in the table. DCS and SCADA in the M and FB industries might have been attributed to the misinterpretation networking utility in office networking allows wired and of computer automation. However. DCS and SCADA applications are preferably utilized in highly microcontroller-based flexible control and advanced industries industrial machines management of wherein demands redundant systems.

Conclusions and Recommendations The over-all summary must bear the highlights of the research chapters.Chapter 5 – Overall Summary. The recommendations may be presented in question form.7. Bibliography Appendices  Survey Instruments  Test Instruments  Algorithms  Technical Specification Sheets  Pictorials Curriculum Vitae . The conclusions must be based on the significant test/assessment/evaluation results of the conducted. The recommendations should address the least significant results of the test/assessment/evaluation.