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Process of writing academic research proposal for social science

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					POSTGRADUATE METHODOLOGY COURSE
UNIVERSITI MALAYSIA SABAH 5-9 JANAURY 2009

  WRITING AND PRESENTATION OF
 ACADEMIC PROPOSAL FOR SOCIAL
            SCIENCE

                          BY
    Associate Professor Dr. Jennifer Chan Kim Lian
    (PhD In Tourism and Hospitality Management)

          School of Business and Economics
               jkimchan@yahoo.co.uk
                   Ext 1624/ 1534

                    9th January 2008

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                Course/5-9 January 2009/JCKL         1
Presentation outlines
   Understanding of Research & Research
    Process & Research Proposal
   Content/criteria of good research proposal
   Discussions- Research topic/idea,
    Research problem statement, research
    objectives and questions, research
    method, timescale
   Practice sessions
   Questions and answers

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Introduction

   WHAT is research ?
   WHY we do conduct research ?
   HOW do we conduct research ?
   WHO ?
   WHERE ?




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Process of writing academic research
proposal for social science

   Understanding of research and research
    proposal
   Research Process
   Research ideas/topics
   Research questions and objectives
   Selecting appropriate research strategy
   Data collection
   Data analysis techniques


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                What is Research?

   Walliman (2001): Common perception of research means
    :
   Collecting facts or information , no clear purposes
   Assemble or reordering facts/information without
    interpretation

Research means…….
  To find out things in systematic way and increase
  knowledge!
 An explanation of methods used to collect data,
  meaningful results and limitations systematic : data
  collection, data interpretation
 Describing, explaining , understanding, criticizing and
  analyzing
 Clear purpose; to find things out …




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Basic and Applied research
  Basic Research :               Applied Research :
Purpose:                        Purpose:
-expand knowledge               -improve understanding
-result in universal            -results in solution to problem
   principles relating to
   process and outcomes         -new knowledge limited to
                                   problem
-findings of significance
   and value to society in      -findings offer practical
   general                         relevance and value to
                                   organizations /managers
  Context:
                                  Context:
-universities
                                -people based in variety of
-choice of topic                   settings-
   /objectives                     organizations/universities
-flexible timescales            -objectives negotiate with
                                -tight schedules
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**Characteristic of good research
   Interesting topic/current issues
   Good literature review
   Sound primary research
   Logical structure
   Analytical
   Theory integrated
   Underpinned by conceptual framework
   Integration between methodology,
    literature, analysis and conclusions

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                Research Process:
      Research is a multi-stage process

8 stages ( Saunder et al. 2003):

   Formulate and clarify research topic
   Critically review the literature
   Choose research approach and strategy
   Negotiate access and address ethical issues
   Data collection
   Data analysis
   Writing project report
   Submit report / presentation
Revisit each stage –activities and time
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       Research Process for Empirical Study : stages
       and research activities (Clark et al, 1998, p.59)
Stages                        Research activities
Initial stage/Beginnings      Check  institutional/departmental regulation
                              Topic, possible methods & Proposal and approved

Early development             Establish   contacts & permission for access & confidentially
                              rules
                              Secondary data-documents/reports

                              Confirms topics and methods

                              Scope of literature review, key sources and availability

                              Design of research protocol/proposal

First core activity stage               review /revision of hypothesis, research method
                              Literature

                              Developing contact & availability of respondents/samples

Second core activity stage    Pilottesting research
                              Final adjustment –hypothesis and research methods.

                              Main data collection, data analysis

                              Preliminary conclusions & further data collection ?

                              Relationship between methods sued, preliminary conclusions
                              drawn and issues arising from literature review
Writing up                    Drafts    & final draft
Delivery                      Correct   number of copies
Production & Publication      Oral    presentation & Manuscripts
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Research Proposal
-   Key success to your research project
-   plan with timescale
-   guides/ directions to complete your
    research project
-   shows the activities need to perform
-   Evaluation : standard , feasible project
   clear research questions & objectives
   Draft research proposal


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**Writing your research proposal
   Critical part of research process- why ??

   The general purposes of the research proposal: a)
    academic research; b) research funding

   Purpose of your research proposal : ???

-   Organizing your ideas
-   Convincing your audience
-   Contracting with your client- commercial project



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               Course/5-9 January 2009/JCKL            11
Writing your research proposal
Content of Research Proposal:
 Title
 Background
 Research Questions & objectives
 Literature reviews- key concepts and
  theoretical framework
 Research method
 Timescale/gantt chart
 Resources –time and financial
 References



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Criteria for evaluating research proposals


       Viability of the proposal – timescale and
        available resource

       Absence of preconceived ideas -Exciting
        journey into the unknown

       May use expert system –peer review
        process

       Interesting research topics

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          Research ideas/topics


   Ideas/topics, research questions
    and objectives are key ingredients -
    research proposal and completion of
    research project

   Research topics –starting point for
    research proposal; time consuming


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      Attributes of good research topic
   meet the academic standard-master, PhD
  Capability/feasible:
-interest/comfortable,
-current issues/ exciting project
-achievable - financial /time resources , accessibility to other
   resources

   Appropriateness/worthwhile :
-   issues link clearly to theory
-   clear research questions and objectives
-   fresh ideas?
-   Outcome of research
-   Career goals- expert in particular subject area/industry ; develop
    expertise

   Good knowledge of literature: defining research questions and
    objectives; fresh insights into the topics
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                       Course/5-9 January 2009/JCKL                 15
Checklist : good research topics
   Capability: is it feasible ?
-   Achievable , skills, on time
-   Access to data

  Appropriateness: is it worth while ?
-meeting academic standards
-issues clearly link to theory
-provide fresh insights
-likely outcome -
-match your goal goals

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Techniques to generate research ideas

  Rational thinking:
-own strengths and interests
-past project titles
-discussion
-searching the literature
 Creative thinking:
-notebooks of ideas
-exploring personal preferences –past projects/like and
   dislikes
-relevance tress-broad concept to specific
-brainstorming –group of people



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    Refining research ideas
   Preliminary study- greater understanding –
    refine research questions

   Integrating ideas: “working up and
    narrowing down”- research ideas –area, field
    and specific interest

   Topics given by companies/organizations :
    preliminary investigations

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   Turning research ideas into research projects:
        Research questions and objectives

-General focus research questions from your ideas-
  several detail questions or research objectives

-Research idea – break down the research questions from
  the original statement

-Focus research questions -generate new insights, “not
  too big or small, or too hot/sensitive” why ??

-just right for investigation at this time /within this
   research setting
 Generate new insights
   -relevant literature
 Progressive illumination –emerge during/untill the
   research process
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     Examples of research ideas and the
     research questions
    Research ideas:                         General focus research
                                              questions
                                         1.   How effective is recruiting for
1)   Job recruitment via internet             new staff via the internet in
                                              comparison with traditional
                                              methods?
2)   Guest satisfaction
     dimensions in hotel                 2.   What are the underlying
                                              dimensions of guest
                                              satisfaction in hotel ?
3)   The use of internet banking

                                         3.   What effect has the growth
                                              of internet banking had upon
                                              the uses customers make of
                                              branch facilities?




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    **Writing research objectives

  Research objectives:
-clear sense of purpose and direction
-operational/ measurement framework: variables/constructs
-theoretical basis ( link to theory)

   Develop from general focus research questions & specific learning
    objectives

   More rigorous thinking


  Good & sound research objectives:
-Specific – what?
-Measurable – what measures will you use?
-Achievable – target sets
-Realistic –time, energy and finance
-Timely- time to accomplish all the objectives
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    **Research objectives
   Develop from your research
    questions/problem/issues
   what the research aims to achieve???
   Exploratory, explanatory, clarification
   Theory/conceptual
   Problem –solving
   Predictive
   Words use : to explore, to determine, to
    identify, to study, to discuss, to investigate
    the relationships --

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    Research Questions/hypothesis
   Develop from research objectives

 Words in research questions use will determine if it is
  qualitative or quantitative research :
Quantitative- „what impact”, what is the pattern?”-cause
  and effect, „testing‟ –relationship of the variables
Qualitative- avoid use of words-effect, influence, impact,
  determine, -use open-ended questions, use single focus
  and specify research site, 1 or 2 research questions,
  words use – to explore, to examine, to describe, to
  highlight – use the word-” what or „how” and avoid use
  of word-”cause, relationship, association”

Each objective follows a research question/hypothesis –
  attempt to answer/to test ( finding and discussions-
  link to literature review)

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    **The importance of theory in writing
    research questions and objectives
   role of theory to decide your research design /
    approach to research
   What is a theory? – cause and effect relationships
    between 2 or more variables which may and may not
    have been tested ( Gill and Johnson, 2002: 229)
   -logical explanation ; explain the patterns observed
   Sutton and Staw ( 1995: 375) : theory is about the
    connections between phenomena, a story about why
    events, structure and thoughts occur- nature of
    causal relationships

   References, data, lists of variables, diagram and
    hypothesis that do not offer explanations of the
    relationships occurred- NOT A THEORY
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Theoretical framework

   State clearly any theories or
    assumptions you are using,
    constructs /variables
   Justify why do you use this theory
    or constructs /variables – proven by
    other researchers and use before …




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Research title
   Title-may change as work progresses;
    reflect the content of proposal
   May reflect research problem/main issues
   General and research interest
   Short, brief /precise and simple
   Not more than 12 words
   Measurable, time , access , potential
    outcome, capabilities and interest
   Value and scope of the research
   Brainstorming sessions

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             Course/5-9 January 2009/JCKL   26
Research Problem/Issues
   Clearly stated -1/2 sentences long, be
    specific
   State why the research is of interest and
    or importance
   Literature review- journals
   Fill in the gap of previous studies
   New area/ideas/emerging area
   Problem solving type
   Develop from your background of the
    research
   Identify the degree of the problem/issues

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             Course/5-9 January 2009/JCKL   27
    Background

   Important part of proposal
   why you feel the research is worth to conduct /significance
    of the research:show the evidence; demonstrate the
    relevant literature, show a clear link between the previous
    work done and content of your proposal

   Start from literature review
   Tell the importance of the research topic
   Your curiosity
   Sufficient interest to sustain
   Previous studies/evidence
   Knowledge of relevant literature
   Clarify where your proposal fits into the debate in literature
   Clear link between previous work done and your research
    interest and content of proposal


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                  Course/5-9 January 2009/JCKL               28
      Research method
   Longest section of proposal: research design- method
    chosen

   How you intend to go about achieving your research
    objectives

   Justify your choice of method –based on your research
    objectives
   2 sections :
   a) research design- where, unit of analysis, research
    population/sectors of industry with justifications; general way
    to carry out research- questionnaire, interviews, combination
    of data collection techniques and why , secondary data
    sources, method chosen & justification

   b) data collection -types of data collected, sample size,
    ethical guidelines in research setting; data analysis and
    presentation, statistical tests – quantitative approach,
    qualitative data analysis procedures /techniques
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Timescale, Resources and References
   Timescale: Determine the viability of research
    proposal; divide research plan into stage
   Gantt chart –activities vs time

  Resources: finance, time ,data access and
   equipment, skills
 -travelling costs –field work , research assistants, data
   analysis
-convince the access to the data needed
-” large –scale data collection “ and no idea how data
   will be analyzed

  References:
-key literature sources: background section , research
   method

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Factors attribute to the success/completion of
the academic research

 1) Motivation :
 -commitment to conduct and complete the research work
 -motives of researchers: learning, personal growth, solve
   real problems ( managerial skills)

 2) Support
   academic research project :
   -supervisors or tutor –technical expertise
   -relationship with supervisor – coping with the different
   stages of the research process
   - availability
   -mutual commitment
   -emotional support


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Personal qualities-qualities of
competent researchers
   3) Style and creativity : quality and originality
   -curiosity, persistence of researcher
   -prepared mind
   -individualized action-hobbies/lifestyles
   -open system of thought ( Philip and Pug, 1987)
   -generalize the research

   4) Personal qualities-qualities of competent researchers
   a) Knowledge
   -awareness of different assumptions
   methods of data collection
   subject of study
   key networks and contacts


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    Factors attribute to completion of research
   b) Skills
   -ability to plan, organize and manage the time
   -gain support and cooperation
   -structure and argue in writing
   -defend and argues views
   -ability to learn from experience


   c) Personal qualities
   -strengths, weaknesses, values
   -clarity of thoughts
   -sensitivity to events and feelings
   -flexibility
   -creativity


                      Postgraduate Research method
                      Course/5-9 January 2009/JCKL   33
                          Research qualities and skills


                              Communications

                                                              Intellectual skills
     Independences



                                 Perseverance

                                                             Information technology
          Motivation                                                  skills




                                Organizational skills
Source:Hussey & Hussey,
1997, p. 3.
                              Postgraduate Research method
                              Course/5-9 January 2009/JCKL                          34
End of session
 Questions ?




 Postgraduate Research method
 Course/5-9 January 2009/JCKL   35

				
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