It Research Proposal by oup15696


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									Our Research Proposal
Components of the Research Proposal
•   Problem Description
•   Research Objectives
•   Importance/Benefits of the Study
•   Literature Review
•   Research Design / Data Analysis
•   Deliverables
•   Schedule
•   [Facilities and Special Resources]
•   References
•   Budget (Appendix)
          Problem Statement
• Convince the “sponsor” to continue reading
  the proposal
  – know the dilemma, its significance and why
    something should be done to change the current
    status quo
         Research Objectives
• Flows naturally from the problem statement
  – state your hypotheses clearly
  – give the reader a concrete, achievable goal
• Verify the consistency of the proposal
  – checking to see that each objective is discussed
    in the research design, data analysis and results
          Literature Review
• Recent or historically significant research
• Always refer to the original source
• Discuss how the literature applies, show the
  weaknesses in the design, discuss how you
  would avoid similar problems
• How is your idea different/better?
Importance/Benefits of the Study
• Importance of the doing the study now
• What are the potential impact on
  – Research in the area
  – Applications
  – Larger community
• If you find this difficult to write, then most
  likely you have not understood the problem
             Research Design
• What you are going to do in technical terms.
  – May contain many subsections
  – Be specific about what research methodology you
    will use and why
  – Provide details of your proposed solutions to the
    problem and sub-problems
  – Provide information for tasks such as sample
    selection, data collection, instrumentation,
    validation, procedures, ethical requirements
• Include the major phases of the project
• exploratory studies, data analysis, report
• Critical Path Method (CPM) of scheduling
  may help
•   Measurement instruments
•   Algorithms
•   Computer programs / prototypes
•   Comparative evaluation
•   Other technical reports
         Budget and Resources
•   Access to special systems or computers
•   specialized computer algorithms
•   Itemized Budget
•   Budget Narrative

• This part is usually an appendix.
         Proposal Characteristics
• Straightforward document
   – No extraneous or irreverent material
      • Don’t tell us why you became interested in the topic
   – The first words you write are the most important ones
• Not a literary production
   – Clear, sharp and precise
   – economy of words; no rambling sentences
• Clearly organized
   – Outlined with proper use of headings and subheadings
            Suggested Organization
• Title, Abstract, Keywords (problem statement)
• Introduction and Overview
    –   Background information; problem description in context
    –   Hypotheses and objectives
    –   Assumptions and delimitations
    –   Importance and benefits
•   Related Work/Literature Review
•   Research Design and Methodology
•   Plan of Work and Outcomes (deliverables, schedule)
•   Conclusions and Future Work
•   References
•   Budget (appendix)
   Strengthening Your Proposal
• After all the review is done
• Review checklist for features detracting
  from proposal effectiveness page 127 in you
  Practical Research Planning and Design
Weaknesses in Research Proposals

• Research Problem
  –unimportant (done before!)
  –more complex
  –limited relevance
Weaknesses in Research Proposals
• Research Design
  –so vague it prevents evaluation
  –inappropriate or impossible data
  –procedures inappropriate for
  –lacking controls
    A Sample Research Proposal
• Read (and study) the sample proposal,
  pages 129-132, in Practical Research
• Fill in the critique on page 298 for this
  – Since it was made for the REPORT, simply
    change the tense for most questions.
     • Is the sample size adequate? -> Will the sample size be
  – For questions which clearly need the final
    report skip (step 9, the first question)
Guide to Writing the Research
        Purpose of the Problem
• Your statement of the problem
• Represents the reason behind your proposal
• It specifies the condition(s) you want to change
• Supported by evidence
• Show your familiarity with prior research on the
• Even if the problem is obvious, your reviewers
  want to know how clearly you can state it
  5 Key Questions to Answer in
    Your Problem Statement
• Does your problem statement:
  – Demonstrate a precise understanding of the problem
    you are attempting to solve?
  – Clearly convey the focus of your project early in the
  – Indicate the relationship of your project to a larger set
    of problems and justify why your particular focus has
    been chosen?
  – Demonstrate that your problem is feasible to solve?
  – Make others what to read it further?
       Purpose of the Research
         Objectives Section
• Specify the outcome of your project, the
  end product(s)
• Keep you objectives
  – Specific: indicate precisely what you intend to
    change through your project
  – Measurable –what you accept as proof of
    project success
  – Logical – how each objective contributes to
    systematically to achieving your overall goal
  5 Key Questions to Answer for
     Purpose and Objectives
• Does this section
   – Clearly describe your project’s objective, hypotheses
     and/or research question?
   – Bury them in a morass of narrative?
   – Demonstrate that your objectives are important,
     significant and timely?
   – Include objectives that comprehensively describe the
     intended outcomes of the project?
   – State objectives, hypothesis or questions in a way they
     can be evaluated or tested later
    Writing Tips for Objectives
• Don’t confuse your objectives (ends) with
  you methods (means).
• A good objective emphasizes what will be
  done, whereas a method will explain why or
  how it will be done.
• Include goals (ultimate) and objectives
 Purpose of the Research Design
• Describes your project activities in detail
• Indicates how your objective will be
• Description should include the sequence,
  flow, and interrelationship of activities
• It should discuss the risks of your method,
  and indicate why your success is probable
• Relate what is unique about your approach.
                    Data Analysis
Data Analysis is essentially a four step process
1.   Identify precisely what will be evaluated. If you wrote measurable
     objectives, you already know.
2.   Determine the methods used to evaluate each objective. More
     precisely, you will need to describe the information you will need and
     how you propose to collect it.
3.   Specify the analyses you plan to make and the data you need to
     collect. Your design may be simply to observe behavior of a
     particular population or something more complex like a rigorous
     experimental and multiple control group design.
4.   Summarize the resulting data analyses and indicate its use. Consider
     mock data tables that show what your resulting data might look like.
  Key Questions to Answer for
 Research Design/Data Analysis
• Does the research design and data analysis section
   – Describe why analysis is needed in the project?
   – Clearly identify the purpose of your analysis?
   – Demonstrate that an appropriate analysis procedure is
     included for each project objective
   – Provide a general organizational plan or model?
   – Demonstrate what information will be needed to
     complete the analysis, the potential sources and the
     instruments that will be used to collect it.
Writing Tips for Research Design
• Begin with your objectives
• Describe the precise steps you will follow to carry
  out each objective, including what will be done,
  and who will do it.
• Keep asking and answering the “What’s next?”
• Once you have determined the sequence of events,
  cast the major milestones into a time-and-task
Additional Considerations
           Scientific Writing
• Prosaic
• Clear, accurate, but not dull
• Economy – every sentence necessary but
  not to the point of over condensing
• Ego less – you are writing for the readers
  not yourself
            Scientific Tone
• Objective and accurate
• To inform not entertain
• Do not over qualify – modify every claim
  with caveats and cautions
• Never use idioms like “crop up”, “loose
  track”, “it turned out that”, etc.
• Use examples if they aid in clarification
        Scientific Motivation
• Brief summaries at the beginning and end of
  each section
• The connection between one paragraph and
  the next should be obvious
• Make sure your reader has sufficient
  knowledge to understand what follows
         Other Writing Issues
• The upper hand – inclusion of offhanded remarks
  like “ …this is a straightforward application …”
• Obfuscation – aim is to give an impression of
  having done something without actually claiming
  to have done it
• Analogies – only worthwhile if it significantly
  reduces the work of understanding, most of the
  time bad analogies lead the reader astray
              Writing Issues
• Straw men – indefensible hypothesis posed
  for the sole purpose of being demolished
  – “it can be argued that databases do not require
• Also use to contrast a new idea with some
  impossibly bad alternative, to put the new
  idea in a favorable light
      Unsubstantiated Claims
• Example:
  – Most user prefer the graphical style of interface.
  – We believe that ….
• Example
  – Another possibility would be a disk-based
    method, but this approach is unlikely to be
  – Another …, but our experience suggests that …
       References and Citation
• Up-to-date
• Relevant (no padding)
• Original source
• First order: books and journal articles
• Second order: conference article
• Third order: technical report
• No private communications or forums ( material
  cannot be accessed or verified) if you must leave
  as a footnote not in the bibliography
• Do not cite support for common knowledge
       Reference and Citation
• Carefully relate your new work to existing
  work, show how your work builds on
  previous knowledge, and how it differs
  from other relevant results.
• References – demonstrate the claims of
  new, knowledge of the research area,
  pointers to background reading
             Citation Style
• References should not be anonymous
  – Other work [6] -> Marsden [6] has …
• In self-references, readers should know that
  you are using yourself to support your
  argument not independent authorities
• Avoid unnecessary discussion of references,
  Several authors …., we cite …
              Citation style
• Ordinal-number style, name-and-date style,
  superscripted ordinal numbers, and strings.
• Use anyone, but use one!
• Entries ordered
  – By appearance of citation
  – alphabetically
Text from another source
If short – enclosed in double quotes
If long – set aside in an indented block
Long quotations, full material, algorithms,
   figures may require permission from the
   publisher and from the author of the original
Use of quotes for other reasons is not
• Anyone who made a contribution
• Advice, proofreading, technical support,
  funding resources
• Don’t list your family, unless they really
  contributed to the scientific contents
• Don’t
  –   Present opinions as fact
  –   Distort truths
  –   Plagiarize
  –   Imply that previously published results are original
  –   Papers available on the internet – authors put out an
      informal publication and becomes accepted as a formal.
      It is expected that the informal version will be removed

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