Masters Dissertation Proposal Example
Natasha O'sullivan March 6, 2022 Proposal
Hi everyone. Today, we're going to tell about how to write research proposals. Now you might need a research proposal at different stages of your academic career. You might need it when applying to a PhD program, or when you're applying for a funding grant with an organization, or when you're finalizing your research topic for your master of PhD. Then, sometimes the committee also asks you to submit a research proposal first. So, how are you supposed to write a research proposal?
I am Natasha, and in this post we're going to first learn, what is a research proposal?. Then we're going to understand, what are the three requisites to research proposal writing?, then we will learn, what is the structure of a research proposal?, and what are the key elements that go in a research proposal?
What is A Research Proposal?
First, let's understand what is a research proposal. So, research proposal is an article that you shared with the academic committee to justify. Why that research problem is important?, and what are the practical ways through which you will investigate that research problem?. So, in simple words, it means you have to convince the academic committee that you identified a research problem. It's a good problem to solve, and you have an action plan as to how you're going to solve it.
Requisites To Research Proposal Writing
Okay, moving on to the prerequisites to writing a research proposal. Now, even before you start writing your research proposal, you need to choose a research topic and how do you do that. Well, you can either approach a professor to help you, or you can visit the websites of different universities to see what is the ongoing research in the field of your interest, or you can start from scratch and read a lot of review papers and research articles to identify the research.
Now, if you're submitting your research proposal for a master of PhD application, and if you don't have a lot of time to carefully choose a research topic. I would say no need to panic. More than the research topic, what the admissions committee is interested to see how well you are able to structure the problem, and give a clear part as to how you going to conduct your data studies. So let's look into that. Now, I'm going to share with you the structure of a research proposal.
Research Proposal Structure
So, the structuring of a research proposal is very similar to that of a research paper, except that, it does not have the results and discussion section because obviously your research proposal is still in the proposal stage and you haven't conducted research. Apart from that, a research proposal also consists of some additional sections, like the work plan budget, something that you will not find in a research paper. So, here are the key components of the key elements that go in a research proposal, starting with the title followed by the literature review and research gap, then comes the research objective and the research questions followed by the research methodology, after that comes ethical considerations, which is an optional section, then comes your timeline. The budget. The significance of the research and finally the references section, usually the word limit for research proposal is somewhere between 2000 to 3500 words. But sometimes the committee also shares the word limit with you.
Research Proposal Elements
So, do prepare your research proposal accordingly, and now let's deep dive into each of these elements.
1. Proposed title.
The title that you choose for your research proposal should be informative. Just by reading the title, people should get a broad understanding of what your research area is about. The title also needs to be concise, which means it can't be too long or too short, and at the same time the title should also capture the leaders attention.
So, let's look at some examples. The effect of heat on three grades of olive oil, or modeling Wifi propagation in an urban flat in in some developing countries, or reason for dropout in competitive sports among young athletes in Australia. All these statements clearly indicate the research topic along with being informative and to the point.
2. Literature review and the research gap
The purpose of this section is to share with the readers what is the existing research that has been carried out. What are some of the issues that the researchers have not been able to overcome so far? So, we start this section just like an introduction section of a research paper, where we explain the background of our study.
So, basically what was the rationale behind taking up the study, and why the study is important for the scientific community today. Then move on to the literature review where you explain. What is the existing research that has already been conducted in this field, and you critically evaluate their work. You can also use the 5c framework for your evaluation.
Which means that whatever work you are evaluating. You need to cite them in your research proposal.
Where you compare the work of different authors, different researchers in terms of their research methodologies, theories, arguments, and you also establish a contrast between them.
Where you critically evaluate their work, in terms of how successful or unsuccessful they have been in terms of their theories, methodologies, or arguments. You can also evaluate which work is reliable while which work fails to convince the reader.
Where you connect everything together with the research work that you are planning to do, and this brings us to the research gap. so after your literature review, you need to share what are some of the issues in the existing research that other researchers have not been able to overcome so far. Essentially, the shortcomings or the drawbacks in existing research forms your research gap.
3. The research objective and the research questions
So, what is the research objective, it is basically what you're proposing to do, in order to overcome or fulfill the research gap which you shared in the previous section. Now, there could be many issues that you would have identified, right? Which fall under the big umbrella of the research gap. So, all these separate issues form a research question of their own. And if you answer these research questions, you will achieve your objective now to answer these research questions. You would have some idea that if I do this, I will get the result. Now these ideas can come from anywhere. It could come from literature, survey your personal experience, or anywhere else. But you know that the assumptions that you are making, if you do them, you might get the result.
So, these assumptions are actually called as the hypothesis. So, in this section, you are going to include three things. One is the research objective, next is the research questions, and third is the hypothesis. Now try to simplify these terms as much as possible for you to understand them. So, if the definitions don't come out properly, please consider my apologies.
4. Research methodology
It's one of the most important sections, because here you share with the academic committee, how are you planning to tackle the problem. So you can start by sharing the theories on which your research studies are based. And then based on those theories, you could share a framework as to how will you tackle the problem. You can also share the different approaches to solving that problem and based on your understanding, or what according to you would be the best approach to address the research questions.
Now you should also share information about how you going to collect data, whether it's going to be through experiments, through service, or through simulations. Say, for example; you're going to collect data through experiments. Then you should explain; what are the materials that you are going to need? what is the step by step procedure that you're going to follow? or if you're going to collect data through survey, you need to tell the readers who are going to be the participants in your study. And after that, you should talk about how are you going to collect this data, how will you be analyzing this data, and finally the scope of the study. Basically, what are you going to investigate or not investigate in the study to lay out the boundary of your research that is called as the scope of your study.
5. Considerations Element (Optional)
Sometimes we are conducting some biological studies in which animals are involved, or if you're taking a survey where you're collecting some sensitive data, you need to ensure that ethical standards are maintained. And the participants have right to data privacy, confidentiality, etc. So, you need to include these things in this section.
6. Tentative Timeline
Here you need to share a reasonable work schedule, and explain to the academic committee how you going to manage your own progress and complete the project effectively. Now one thing to remember here is to not underestimate the demands of the project. Prepare a timeline, either a table or a bar chart and show how will you complete your project in the given time frame. Say, for example; if you're going for a PhD, you should show how in the span of four to five years, you will achieve all the research objectives which are mentioning in the proposal.
Some research proposals might also ask for a budget, especially if you're writing one for a funding grant. So, here you need to predict the costs that would be involved in all aspects of the research, like procurement of materials, equipment, traveling along with some scope for unpredictability, say experiment failures or increase in cost of raw materials, etc. But whatever cost you mention, make sure you're able to justify all of them
7. Sharing the significance of your research
Here you need to remind the academic committee reiterate why your research is important, and worth taking up shared with them what is the impact that your research is going to make, and what are the broader applications or implications of your study.
Here you need to list down all the sources that you refer to or cited in your research proposal. And with this, we come to an end of your research proposal writing. that's all I wanted to share with you today. Thank you so much for being our loyal reader, and I wish you all the very best for your research proposals.
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