Formulating a research proposal
Formulating a research proposal to answer your aims and objectives and Watson's framework for crafting research
Your institution or course will almost certainly require you to produce a research proposal prior to setting out on your dissertation or research project.
This can vary from a simple statement of intent to a full-blown assignment or piece of assessment, which might include things like:
- A working title, encapsulating the aims, scope and strategy of your study
- A critical literature review of your research area, out of which you may be expected to derive research questions
- A short statement of your overall research perspective or strategy
- Specific aims and objectives for your study
- How you would intend to gain access to appropriate sites, data or participants for your study
- The methods of data collection you intend to use and a justification of their appropriateness, strengths and weaknesses in relation to your study, including relevant references to the literature
- How you would construct your sample frame and an outline of your sampling strategy
- An indication of what type of analysis you would wish to perform on your data
- Any problems you might anticipate (e.g. in access or sampling, etc.) and how you might resolve these
- A consideration of any ethical or professional issues raised by your proposals
- A research timetable or timeline
To see video clips of students talking about their experiences of formulating a research proposal, click here
General advice on writing proposals:
- You should avoid making your research ideas too vague as this generally leads to too wide a range of issues to cover - your overall task will probably be to present a coherent review which should enable you to refine your possible research ideas into specific and viable research questions
- Just because you don't yet have a clear idea of what you want to do does not mean you cannot write a clear research proposal, you can still present a coherent plan which should enable you to address your questions realistically
- Though it may be impossible for you to accurately predict levels of access available to you and consequently to determine a precise sample frame, you should still be able to propose what kinds of access would be needed and rough estimates of the ideal sample frame and sampling strategy needed in order to collect the kind of data you propose
http://studymore.org.uk/reports.htm - Research Proposal - advice on developing research proposals or outlines from the ABC Study Guide by Andy Roberts.
A 'What, Why, and How' Framework for Crafting Research
Source: Watson (1994b: S80). Reprinted with permission of Wiley Publishing. see Figure 4.3
Exercise: Doing a Research Project
Consider the following situation:
Developing a turnaround strategy for Amber Products Ltd.
For the last three years, Amber, a manufacturer of standard engineering parts based in Honley, has been losing market share. Its share declined from 10% of the UK market in 2012 to 4% in 2017, with associated loss of turnover and profits. This proposal is designed to address this problem and to recommend an appropriate turnaround strategic plan to regain long-term market share and company viability. This project is of particular interest because the author is Marketing Manager of the company and, unless the appropriate action is taken, the company will cease trading with the resultant loss of jobs.