Writing The Proposal

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Writing The Proposal

  1. 1. Level 3: Independent Study <ul><li>Writing Your Proposal </li></ul>
  2. 2. Today’s Session <ul><li>Purposes of the ISPs </li></ul><ul><li>Core elements and criteria for success </li></ul><ul><li>Research Questions in ISPs </li></ul><ul><li>Literature Reviews in ISPs </li></ul><ul><li>Methodologies in ISPs </li></ul><ul><li>Time Frames </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why a research proposal? <ul><li>To convince your supervisor and/or external examiner of the value of the study </li></ul><ul><li>To demonstrate initial expertise </li></ul><ul><li>To demonstrate competency </li></ul><ul><li>To serve as a ‘contract’ </li></ul><ul><li>To assist you as a planning tool </li></ul>
  4. 4. Core components <ul><li>A description of the research question/problem/creative enterprise </li></ul><ul><li>An indication of why this is important/relevant to communication </li></ul><ul><li>A preliminary survey/review of relevant literature </li></ul><ul><li>A description of the proposed methodology </li></ul><ul><li>A time frame </li></ul>
  5. 5. Or in plain English... <ul><li>What do you want to do? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you want to do it? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is it important? </li></ul><ul><li>Who has done similar work? </li></ul><ul><li>How are you going to do it? </li></ul><ul><li>How long will it take? </li></ul>
  6. 6. A Good Proposal … <ul><li>Clearly defines a research question/creative issue relevant to ‘communication’ </li></ul><ul><li>Shows how appropriate literature provides a background to the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Uses other sources to identify/support the problem/issue </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly specifies the objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a conceptual framework and clearly states theoretical assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Outlines an appropriate design and methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Shows that the necessary resources to complete the study are available </li></ul>
  7. 7. A Bad Proposal … <ul><li>Is too long </li></ul><ul><li>Is poorly structured with weak language use </li></ul><ul><li>Is too ambitious </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t provide a preliminary survey/review of the literature </li></ul><ul><li>Fails to integrate theory into the literature review </li></ul><ul><li>Fails to provide a conceptual/theoretical foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Is unclear about the methods to be used </li></ul><ul><li>Outlines inappropriate methods </li></ul><ul><li>Fails to include references or a preliminary bibliography </li></ul><ul><li>Is guilty of plagiarism </li></ul>
  8. 8. Marking scheme 15% Discretionary: innovativeness of proposal, thoroughness of research to date 20% Link between initial aims of the study and proposed method/procedure 35% Systematic support: evidence, argument and other forms of justification 30% Clear and detailed description
  9. 9. Finding a Question <ul><li>Observation of the world </li></ul><ul><li>Concern with theory </li></ul><ul><li>Previous research </li></ul><ul><li>Practical concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Personal interest </li></ul>
  10. 10. Choosing a Question <ul><li>A broad area of study is not a research question </li></ul><ul><li>Draw up a list of possible questions </li></ul><ul><li>Examine the advantages and disadvantages of each </li></ul><ul><li>Show evidence in the proposal that you have considered the issues </li></ul>
  11. 11. Strategies <ul><li>The question interests you </li></ul><ul><li>It is neither too extensive nor too limited to be of value </li></ul><ul><li>You have the resources/skills to explore it </li></ul><ul><li>You are aware of the theoretical background which informs the question </li></ul><ul><li>It is ‘researchable’ </li></ul>
  12. 12. Limiting a Question: Definitions <ul><li>Define your terms </li></ul><ul><li>Define the use of those terms in different disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>Think about your reader </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t provide ‘dictionary’ definitions </li></ul>
  13. 13. Limiting a Question: Boundaries <ul><li>Make it clear what you are going to study and what you are not going to study </li></ul><ul><li>Specify limits to space, time, size, approach etc. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Why Review the Literature? <ul><li>A preliminary review positions your study in a conceptual framework </li></ul><ul><li>It provides an overview of the area for the reader </li></ul><ul><li>It may clarify the research question/area </li></ul><ul><li>Shows evidence of reading </li></ul><ul><li>-> interest </li></ul><ul><li>-> commitment to the study </li></ul>
  15. 15. How to do the review <ul><li>Survey a range of relevant literature in the general area of your study </li></ul><ul><li>This literature should be academic not journalistic to add to the credibility of your study </li></ul><ul><li>Select from that survey literature which informs your research question/problem/issue </li></ul><ul><li>Show you have understood the issues by synthesing the findings into the proposal </li></ul><ul><li>A good review provides an argument </li></ul>
  16. 16. How not to do the review <ul><li>Show no evidence of reading </li></ul><ul><li>Fail to include a preliminary bibliography </li></ul><ul><li>Describe a number of books/articles you have read without showing how they connect to each other or to your study </li></ul><ul><li>Plagiarize from the back cover of books or from Amazon </li></ul>
  17. 17. Why a methodology? <ul><li>It shows the reader what you are going to do in order to answer your research question/explore your issue including materials and methods </li></ul><ul><li>It shows you are considering the nature of appropriate methodology for the question you are interested in </li></ul><ul><li>It demonstrates that you are capable of answering the question </li></ul>
  18. 18. How to write the methodology <ul><li>Think about the question and how it might be answered </li></ul><ul><li>Think about how the artifact you make reflects on the nature of the issues you identified </li></ul><ul><li>Examine the ways that data could be generated </li></ul><ul><li>Examine the ways that such data could be analysed </li></ul>
  19. 19. Why a Time Frame? <ul><li>It helps you to plan </li></ul><ul><li>It helps you to stay focused </li></ul><ul><li>It acts as a disciplinary mechanism </li></ul><ul><li>It acts as part of the contract between you and your supervisor </li></ul><ul><li>But remember there is a tendency to be over-ambitious. Time frames change. Showing how you deal with such changes is a measure of your research competence. </li></ul>
  20. 20. How to do a Time Frame? <ul><li>Month by month plan </li></ul><ul><li>Tasks list </li></ul><ul><li>Updated lists </li></ul><ul><li>Logs </li></ul><ul><li>Link to research diary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Note: non-submission of the research diary will incur a 30% penalty. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In conjunction with your supervisor. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Using a Blog as a Research Diary <ul><li>Web logs (known as blogs) are free online journals which can be used to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make notes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop arguments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exchange ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stick & paste thoughts/links </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Some advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chronological archive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Immediate response </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community of learners – network of resources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// cmcgoun.wordpress.com </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Conclusion <ul><li>Word length – 1500 words </li></ul><ul><li>The proposal contributes 10% of your final mark for the Independent Study </li></ul><ul><li>Submission is a requirement for the successful completion of the unit. </li></ul><ul><li>See Calendar for the submission date for the proposal </li></ul><ul><li>See Calendar for the submission date for the completed Independent Study project </li></ul><ul><li>See supervisors pages for information on who is available and what their research interests are </li></ul>
  23. 23. To do … <ul><ul><li>Identify possible supervisors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Arrange preliminary tutorials – present your work to date – record feedback, suggestions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complete and submit the supervision agreement form (See Calendar) to the Inter-professional Programmes Office </li></ul></ul>

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