Writing Research Proposals
and Issues of Academic
Raúl A. Mora, M.A.
University of Illinois at Urbana-
The Review Process - Conferences
Make sure you include a good
description of study – make reference
to theory and how theory informs
If you’re cutting and pasting, be
careful! Reviewers can tell when you
Everything should be tied together.
The Review Process: Journals
Blind review process.
Revise and Resubmit?
Address them in cover letter, explaining
why you did/didn’t address them.
Under review, in press.
Miscellaneous comments on
If It’s Your Research, Flaunt It!
Who’s behind the projects?
Acknowledge the researchers’
existence, don’t be so shy!
In Qualitative Research, the
researcher IS an important part of the
Use I or We to address yourselves.
It’s YOUR study!
However, avoid impersonal “we.”
Dude, Where’s Your Voice?
“Are you a student or a scholar?”
Take a stand before your research, make a
strong case for it, and show us you are
“The Chosen One.”
Citing people is good, but we need to know
how you define and plan to use the
theories (The Gospel According to You).
However, Other People’s
Voices Are Important!
Lack of references
Assumptions and claims about
learning and research that someone
has probably made
A good amount of references
validates your work
You Know Who They Are, We
Don’t Have To
Anonymity is crucial to the success of a
You’re using real names and giving out
too much information.
Remember, it’s human subjects we’re
dealing with, and they can get “hurt.”
My suggestion: Use pseudonyms and
more general information to describe
On the Theoretical Framework
If you mention a theory, it has to be
seen EVERYWHERE in your study.
Don’t mention theories/theorists just
to score points.
Your framework affects your data
sources and analysis, as well as your
Try to use primary sources.
Watch your research questions. Ask
yourself, “Can I really address this
question in the time frame I have?”
How do the questions relate to my
Explain how you plan to analyze the
data. Make your categories explicit
and tell us where they come from.
About categories: Categories don’t
emerge, you impose them! They can
be fine-tuned as you read the data,
Also, when you explain your data
analysis, make sure I can do that too,
don’t be selfish!
Don’t say subjects, participants is
Your Studies Aren’t Perfect,
Qualitative studies are never perfect,
but don’t take for granted we know that.
Proposals and reports must
acknowledge the limitations of the
Also, address your biases as
researcher, who you are affect your
Addressing limitations strengthens your
Use ACTIVE VOICE! Passive voice is
unwelcome in academic writing
Run-on sentences and one-sentence
Proofreading, at least for spelling and
Proposal for Sections of a
Introduction: State the problem and your
purpose. Make a compelling case for the
need for your study
Theoretical Framework: Define the theories
you’ll use; mention sources and then take
Methodology: Research questions;
Participant and Settings; Data sources;
Data analysis procedures; Limitations
Findings: Describe what you found; in a
case study, provide plenty of room for
participants’ voices, but go back to the
Discussion: Explain your findings using
the theoretical framework as your lens.
A lot more interpretation here.
Implications: For research, for ELT, for
American Psychological Association (2003).
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