How to write a good postgraduate research proposal


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Presented on 3rd June 2013 for postgraduate candidates under the Study Leave Division

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How to write a good postgraduate research proposal

  1. 1. How to write a good Research Proposal (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 1
  2. 2. Presented by B.C. Chew Research Methods Course 3/2013 Organised by Study Leave Division Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka on 7th November 2013 (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 2
  3. 3. Preface •You are going to submit a research proposal : (a)The application for admissions to a research degree. (b)Applying to internal/external bodies for postgraduate research funding. •Application processes are different for each university. Therefore, make sure you follow the guidelines provided in constructing your proposal. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 3
  4. 4. Question? Can I turn my research proposal to be parts of my thesis? Yes. That is why you need to construct a good quality proposal so that there is a continuity for you to adopt this proposal into your future thesis. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 4
  5. 5. Structure of a Research Proposal 1. Title 2. Abstract /Executive Summary 1.0 Introduction 1.1 Background of the Study 1.2 Problem Statements/Research Questions 1.3 Research Objectives 1.4 Scope, Limitations and Key Assumptions of the Study 1.5 Significance of the Study/Importance of the Study (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 5
  6. 6. Structure of a Research Proposal 2.0 Literature Review -Theoretical framework constructed (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 6
  7. 7. Structure of a Research Proposal 3.0 Research Methodology/Research Methods 3.1 Justification on the selected methods For social science and management studies, please refer on THE RESEARCH DESIGN. **Add in Research Philosophy-required in Postgraduate Studies 3.X Ethical consideration (if any) 3.Y Scientific Canons (if any) 3.Z Gantt Chart (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 7
  8. 8. Structure of a Research Proposal 4.0 Expected Outcomes 4.1 Contributions 5.0 Conclusion References *social science and management studies: use Harvard or APA Appendix (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 8
  9. 9. 1. Title •Provide a solid project title which should have the following components: (a) Theory (b) Contribution (c) Application (d) Location -combination of any these three •Ex: Strategic Green Marketing to Enhance Green Corporate Image of UMW Toyota Motor Sdn. Bhd. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 9
  10. 10. 2. Abstract/Executive Summary “Past tense” or “Future tense” Should have the components of: 1.Introduction or background 2.Aims and objectives 3.Methods 4.Expected Results 5.Expected Conclusion rite_a_Good_Abstract_A_General_Guide (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 10
  11. 11. 1.1 Background of the Study •Introduce the area of research (scope) •Meant to get your reader’s attention early. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 11
  12. 12. 1.2 Problem Statements/ Research Questions • “Problems that you wish to study” • Quality and substance. • Construct “evaluating and explanatory” type of questions Ex: How (how far, how effective) and why. • Remember, your proposed research project will add something new or being contributively. You should reflect this message here. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 12
  13. 13. Compare these two Research Questions: 1. How satisfied are employees with recent changes in the department's business strategy? 2. What are the implications of recent changes in the department’s business strategy for employee satisfaction and why? Which one you think is better? (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 13
  14. 14. 1.3 Objectives •Your research’s purpose •To guide/structure the research process, and •To operationalise the research question •TSRIAM -Transparency -Specificity -Relevancy -Interconnectivity -Answerability -Measurability bjectives (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 14
  15. 15. 1.4 Scope, Limitations and Key Assumptions of the Study • Define the context, which your research will cover and will not cover. • Define the limitations and assumptions. -Location of your research -Organisation of your research -Respondents -Time (seasonal) -others (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 15
  16. 16. 1.5 Significance of the Study •This is the part which you should highlight that: -Your research has not been done before -Your proposed research project will add something new or being contributively. (a) Empirically for undergraduate research projects. (b) Empirical and theoretical contribution for postgraduate projects. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 16
  17. 17. 2.0 Literature Review • Set the theoretical context of your research. • Demonstrate the good knowledge of the body of literature (what has been done) • Demonstrate the wider context in which your research belongs and you have awareness of: (a) Methodologies applied in the literature (b) Related theories (centralised around the main theories) (c) Supporting and Conflicting evidence (d) Scholars within this fields of study. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 17
  18. 18. 3.0 Research Methodology/Methods 3.1 Justification • Selection on: method(s)*, population vs samples, equipment(s) etc. • Justify your selections: Why they are the most appropriate to answer your research questions, to achieve your research objectives and fit into your research environment. • Good to implement: explaining what alternatives have been considered and why these have been disregarded. *According to various disciplines. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 18
  19. 19. 3.X Ethical Consideration (if any) • • • • • • • Planning Research Responsibility State and Federal Laws Inducement to Participate (respondents) Reporting Results Institutional Approval Informed Consent (P&C) (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 19
  20. 20. 3.Y Scientific Canons • • • • Reliability Internal Validity Construct Validity External Validity (Generalisability) (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 20
  21. 21. 3.Z Gantt Chart • To demonstrate your research activities versus time planning. • Put milestones on significant activities. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 21
  22. 22. 4.0 Expected Outcomes 4.1 Contributions • Who is my research going to benefit? (stakeholders or the end users) [empirical contribution] • Innovations: Is my research responding to a new trend? (new database, new field emerged, new technology/service) [empirical contribution] • *Is there evidence that my research will fill a gap in knowledge? [theoretical contribution] *for postgraduate studies, you need to have both empirical and theoretical contribution. For undergraduate studies, you only focus on empirical contribution. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 22
  23. 23. 5.0 Conclusion • For reviewer to identify important information. • Make it concise, clear and informative. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 23
  24. 24. References • According to different disciplines. Appendix • Attachments (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 24
  25. 25. Golden Rules for Research Proposals 1.Be clear, objective, succinct and realistic in your objectives (Time, Cost, Quality) 2.Ask yourself why should anyone fund or supervise this research. 3.Ask yourself why you are the best person for this project (to get the funding, to get the supervisor whom you want to work with). (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 25
  26. 26. Golden Rules for Research Proposals 4. Ask yourself why this research is important and timely (contributions) *state your research is interesting is not enough! 5. Think of this question: How will your research benefit the wider society (empirical contribution) and contribute to the research community (knowledge/theoretical contribution)? (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 26
  27. 27. Advice •If you have an idea for your research project or •If you are interested in developing your experience in an area of interest within the expertise of a prospective supervisor -then you should consider contacting your prospective supervisor(s) early on to discuss the possibility of doing a research under his/their supervision. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 27
  28. 28. Advice •Your proposal needs to be outstanding in order to have the best chance of being selected. •A rushed proposal will show. •No plagiarism. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 28
  29. 29. References • **Chew, B.C. 2013. General Format for Bachelor Degree Dissertation and Master Degree Dissertation. [online]. Available at: lor_Degree_Dissertation_and_Master_Degree_Dissertation_Busi ness_and_Management_Studies Lecture Notes Distributed in Research Method BPTP4103 at Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, on 9 September 2013. • L’Huillier, N. M. 2013. How to Write a Good Postgraduate Research Proposal. The University of Edinburgh. • Saunders, M., Lewis, P., and Thornhill, A. Research Methods for Business Students. Pearson. ** Is a general guide helping you to construct your postgraduate theses. At the end of the process, your thesis might have added elements, chapters etc to show the unique blueprint of your thesis. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 29