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week of April 4, 2011 The purpose of a research proposal is to identify a problem that needs to be researched and explain how you would proceed to examine it. This means that the research proposal should do the following: (A) clearly state your research problem (B) explain why the problem should be studied (C) explain how you are going to investigate the problem While the format used in writing a research proposal may vary among researchers, all proposals should contain the items below. The following is a suggested format for organizing a research proposal. Ask yourself the following questions while you work through the exercise. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------START: Identify an area of interest NOTE: Your topic must fall into one (1) of the following categories (i) (ii) (iii) CHAPTER 1 Topic or Title: Concise statement which tells the reader exactly what you are studying. Introduction and Background to your study: Historical overview for the study. This helps the reader to understand the context in which the study is taking place. Statement of Research Problem and Research Question: Rationale: Reason (s) for doing the study. 1 Modified September, 2010 Family Health Technology
Objectives/Aims: Clear statements outlining what one wishes to accomplish throughout the study. N.B. All points made must be supported by credible evidence and ideas should be logically connected. (Points: 5) Chapter 2: Review of literature – critical analysis of what others have said about the issue. It is a search of the scholarly literature for answers to the research question and should be written and structured to reflect that. (N.B. Material taken from sources that do not abide by the standards the standards of scientific rigour, such as newspapers and most websites, are not acceptable in this section.) It has two aspects: a) Review of conceptual literature i.e., How others have defined the subject area. This includes the treatment of the issues in relevant social scientific theory b) Research literature – what relationships others have identified between variables. (Points: 4)
Hypotheses/ Research Question NB. Not all studies require hypotheses. These are used in explanatory research designs. Hypotheses are tentative statements about the relationships between two or more variables.
Methodology i. Research Design Choice of research method/ design. Is the study going to be explanatory, exploratory, or descriptive? Is it going to be a longitudinal (trend, cohort or panel) or cross-sectional. You should also justify your selection of the particular design. ii. Variables 2
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a. Conceptualization – specifying the meaning of the concepts and variables to be measured b. Operationalization – specifying how your variables or concepts will be measured c. Would also like to see variable identification. A chart showing direction of relationship between dependent and independent variables iii. Population and sampling – who will be observed in the study, what is my sample size and how will the sample be chosen are critical questions. Explain why a given probability or nonprobability technique is best for this study. iv. Instrument of data collection – how am I going to record the information? Give a brief description of the questionnaire design and types of questions, i.e. open-ended or close- ended. Provide an example of the interview schedule or questionnaire being used.
Data Collection – explain the process of data collection. Over what time period will the data be collected?
Use of Data a. Data processing – how am I going to prepare my data for analysis? b. Data analysis - what statistical techniques will I use to test my research hypotheses? In the case of qualitative research, how best can I identify and summarise the major themes in the study? c. Data presentation – how am I going to present my finding visually?
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Expected time for completing each task of the study. How long will it take to identify your sample? How long to train data collectors? How long to collect the data? viii. Budget - what will it cost to undertake the study? Identify all research activities that will incur costs and provide reasonable estimates for each. (Points: 9) References: Minimum of three (3) scholarly journal articles or books All newspaper articles used are equivalent to one reference Use APA 6th Edition format or Chicago Style (Points: 1) Appendices: Any additional material including any data collection instrument, any tables, graphs or pictures. Presentation: Font size: 12 Line spacing: 1 ½ - 2 All subheadings must be clearly identified NB: Proposal writing involves only saying how you will conduct your research/study, not actually carrying out the research. (Points: 1)
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