Chicago Style Research Proposal Sample by xad14601

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									Developing a Research

       Dr Annemaree Lloyd
   Sub Dean (Graduate Studies)
       Faculty of Education
 Adapted from original slides by Jennifer Sumsion

              August 2010
    What is a research proposal?
•   A research proposal maps out a research problem and identifies an
    approach to its investigation

•   Clear progressive statement

•   An important first step to get your study off the ground.
         Importance of the Proposal
From your perspective
    – solidifies thinking and plans
• a tangible product
    – major milestone / achievement → worthy of celebration
    – marks new phase and rhythm in your candidature

From your supervisory team’s perspective
    – feedback from broader scholarly community

From the University’s perspective
      a quality check on clear aims, sound methodology, integrity,
      likely contribution to knowledge and understanding prior to
      giving the go-ahead
         Please keep in mind:
• There is no one right way to write a proposal

• There are:
  – disciplinary differences
  – differences in Faculty requirements / expectations

• Essentially a proposal answers the questions:
  – What do you think you are doing? [What?]
  – How are you going to go about it? [Now what?]
  – Why is it important? [So what?]
     Purposes of the Proposal
• To help you clarify your thinking

• To provide a ‘road map’ of / for your project

• To assist in evaluating the feasibility / worthiness
  of your plans

• To provide you with feedback so that you can
  fine-tune your plans
          Clarifying your thinking:
1.   This study builds on and contributes to work in …
2.   Although previous studies have examined…, there has
     not been …
3.   This study provides additional insight into … by…
               Processes / Phases
             (usually concurrent, not discrete)

• Identifying your research question(s) / aim(s)
• Developing an argument for value / significance of the
• Determining the type of study you want to undertake
• Reading the literature
• Writing a critical (not descriptive) literature review
• Identifying your (current) theoretical / conceptual frames
• Outlining your methodology / methods and justifying your
• Thinking through ethical implications / complications
• Thinking through feasibility of your plans
  Determining the type of study you want to
 (The list below is not exhaustive or mutually exclusive)

• Theoretical exploration
• Historical
• Empirical
  – experimental
  – predictive
  – explanatory
• Action research
                   Generic Structure
    (varies according to discipline / nature of the study)

• Abstract- briefly state what, why and how of your study.
  Needs to be tight and will take a few drafts.
• Introduction
• Introduce your topic
   – give some context to the study
   – Identify the problem/issue to be addressed ( problem statement)
   – Needs to be straight forward

• Significance of the study
   – What will it contribute?
   – Why is it important ( a process of sequential unpacking)
   So why is that important?
       So why is that important?
            So why is that important?
• Research aim(s) / question(s)/
  hypothesis. That will define and drive the study.
   – Need to be clearly articulated
   – Set the boundaries of your study
   – Take your time developing these, thinking about them
     and discussing them with your supervisor

• Research interest → topic → questions / aims (focussing
• When thinking about your questions ask yourself:
   – ‘Do-able’ (‘researchable’, expertise, time, resources)?
   – Worthwhile doing (depth, contribution, relevance)?
   – Will it sustain my interest for X years
• Literature review
  – Needs to inform readers of developments in the
  – Needs to identify gaps in the literature
  – Issues and problems that need to be addressed
  – Is not just a descriptive or a passive piece of writing
  – Key tasks:
     • Map out the nature of the field relevant to your inquiry
     • Identify major debates and define terms
     • Establish which studies, ideas or methods are important and
       pertinent to the study
     • Identify the gaps which allows you to create the warrant for
       the proposed study and identify the contribution your study
       will make
                         Reading the literature
• Enjoy the luxury but don’t overindulge
• Know your line of inquiry and stay focused
• Be disciplined in your reading
   – Above all: Is what I’m reading relevant to my research question / aims?
   –   Develop a rubric for reading:
         •   What are the writers’ aims?
         •   What assumptions do they make?
         •   How do they pursue their aims?
         •   How are the conclusions arrived at?
         •   What questions are answered / not answered?
         •   What are the strengths l limitations of this study / approach / argument?
         •   What implications might there be for my study?
• Always combine reading with writing (notes in the margin
  don’t count!). Be systematic about note taking.
• Use ENDNOTE or similar program from the beginning.
• Keep a list of keywords to help with your searching.
      Writing the literature review
• Essentially an argument
  for why the project is
• Conceptual/theoretical frames
  – Situate your study.
  – Articulate the theoretical perspectives that
    underpin or inform your ideas.
• Methodology –clearly articulate how you are
 going to do the study
  – Approach/method e.g. action research, grounded
    theory, ethnography, or random control trials?
  – Sample, what processes/techniques will you use to
    obtain a field sample? How big might this sample be?
  – Data collection techniques – how are you going to
    collect data e.g., surveys, interviewing, document
  – Analysis- how are going to analyse the material that
    you collect? Thematic analysis, statistical analysis
• Limitations/Delimitations
  – Conditions that limit or impact on the study
  – Constraints e.g., time, money, resources, access to
    site, organizational issues.
  – Be up front about these now
• Delimitations
  - Boundaries/parameters of the study?
  - What will be included or excluded?
  – Be very clear in your justifications about why you have decided not
    to do or cover certain things in your research.
• Ethics- very important
   – Consider issues related to
      • integrity of your research
      • Responsibility for the well being of participants
• Timeline-
   – Timeline enables readers/supervisors to see that your
     plan is realistic and that all elements of the research
     have been ‘time costed’
• Budget
  – Account of study costs and who will pay for them.
  – Be realistic about costs
     • e.g., interviews ( one hour of interview time = four
       hours of transcription costs)
     • Travel to do fieldwork
     • Cost of laboratory equipment or specific tests?
     • Software/ hardware
• Tentative overview of thesis structure
• References
  – Citation is important, don’t forget it!
  – Get use to the CSU style of referencing or the style required by
    your Faculty right from the start and stick to it!
  – Reference list must be included at the end of the proposal
  – Use Endnote or some other bibliographic management system
    right from the start
  – It saves lot of heartache and stress at the end
• Recommended readings about research
• Booth,W.C Colomb, G.G,Williams, J (2003) The craft of research,
  Chicago University Press :Chicago.
• Leedy, P.D, Ormond, J. E. Practical Research; Planning and design.
  Pearson: London.
• O’Leary, Z (2010) The essential guide to doing your research
  project, Sage: London

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