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Lecture 2: Research Proposal Development

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Lecture 2: Research Proposal Development
Dr. Philip Vaughter (UNU-IAS)
2018 ProSPER.Net Young Researchers' School
5 March 2018

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Lecture 2: Research Proposal Development

  1. 1. Research Proposal Development Workshop Dr. Philip Vaughter, UNU-IAS ProsPER.Net Young Researchers’ School 5th March, 2018 Yokosuska, Japan
  2. 2. “Good Proposal” • Focused Objective – Addressing a current need • Well Structured • Methodologically rigorous • Achievable • Clearly defined, relevant outcomes for identified stakeholders
  3. 3. “Good Proposal” • Focused Objective – Addressing a current need • Well Structured • Methodologically rigorous • Achievable • Clearly defined, relevant outcomes for identified stakeholders • Fundable!
  4. 4. Focused Objective 4 • Develop four research proposals on topics we covered in this year’s YRS: Sustainable Urban Development for the World’s Megacities • There are four research groups that have been assigned to develop a research proposal on the following topics related to the this year’s theme: • Governance for sustainable development in megacities • Urban ecosystems in megacities • Housing and infrastructure in megacities • Urban planning in megacities • Aim to be interdisciplinary, focusing on cross-cutting issues that can tie together many of the themes that will be covered individually
  5. 5. Addressing a current need • What is a mega city? – There is no definitive definition, but most population scholars define a megacity as a metropolitan area with over 10 million inhabitants. – Some researchers define an area by administrative units (UN databases), while others use settlement patterns and commuting zones (OECD databases) – A megacity can be one metropolitan area, or two or more that have converged – just be consistent with the definition you use 5
  6. 6. Addressing a current need 6
  7. 7. Addressing a current need • Why are these important to the Asia-Pacific region? – Using either definition of megacities, the majority of the megacities currently in the world are in Asia – and all of these are still growing in population! 7
  8. 8. Addressing a current need 8
  9. 9. Well-structured 9
  10. 10. Why the big deal about methodology? • A clear methodology section is one of the most critical parts of a research proposal • It is also the part that even the most experienced researchers have difficulty in writing 10
  11. 11. Why the big deal about methodology? • Purpose of a methodology section I. To explain how the data was generated II. To explain how the data was analyzed When writing a methodology, it is critical to provide enough information so that others can repeat the experiment/study and reproduce the results, or understand the context the results were generated in so that the audience can judge whether your conclusions are valid. 11
  12. 12. Some tips for your methodology section • When writing a methodology section, it is best to be direct and precise • Try and operationalize any terminology you use so that your audience can follow your methodology clearly 12
  13. 13. Steps in writing your methodology 1) Research Background 2) Goals and Objectives of the Research 3) Propose Methodology 4) Determine Sources of Data 5) Develop a Timeline 13
  14. 14. 1) Research Background • This is a reference back to literature review on the given topic, explaining what methodologies have been used by other researchers to examine the same or similar topics. • These methodologies do not necessarily have to be incorporated into the study, but it is a good idea to acknowledge them and explain why or why not they are appropriate for the given study. • Note: This is an important early step, but is not research, it is review 14
  15. 15. 2) Goals and Objectives of Research • In this section, lay out the research objective of the given study • Try and avoid vague terms here – just clearly state what you will and will not be doing within the scope of your research 15
  16. 16. 3) Propose Methodology • Present a rationale for why a given methodology was chosen to investigate the field of interest. • Helpful tip: present a flow chart of some form of visual aid to illustrate the methodology being presented 16
  17. 17. 4) Determine Sources of Data • Explicitly state what your sources of data will be. Note, if you are collecting data on people or animals, you will need to get ethical approval both from the institution you are researching and potentially the jurisdiction you will be researching in. • Explicitly state what type of data you will be collecting from your sources. • Explain how this data will be gathered, including type of sampling techniques or equipment used in the collection process. • If any measurements or categorizations are made during data collection, explain briefly how these were made. 17
  18. 18. 5) Develop a Timeline • Develop a timetable for completion of the various stages of work for the methodology (e.g., methodology development, data collection/fieldwork, data processing, analysis, results interpretation, etc.) 18
  19. 19. Types of Data, Types of Research Methods Typically, researchers choose from three methodological approaches: I. Quantitative II. Qualitative III. Mixed 19
  20. 20. Quantitative Research Methods • Quantitative research methods are characterized by the collection of information which can be analyzed numerically • Results are typically presented using statistics, tables, and/or graphs • Because quantitative data is numeric, the collection and analysis of representative samples is commonly used • The more representative the sample, the more likely that the quantitative analysis will reflect results that can be generalized 20
  21. 21. Quantitative Research Methods • However, even if sample is representative, quantitative data can be useless unless the data collection instruments are appropriate, well designed, and clearly explained to the users of the data • Example: Data collected using poorly designed questionnaires may solicit a huge amount of data, but result in much of it being unusable because it is impossible to generalize • All too often, designers of data collection tools frame qualitative questions quantitatively and vice versa 21
  22. 22. Quantitative Research Methods • Strengths of Quantitative Data Analysis  Numeric estimates  Opportunity for relatively uncomplicated data analysis  Data which are verifiable  Data which are comparable between different communities and locations  Data which do not require analytical judgment beyond consideration of how information will be presented in the dissemination process 22
  23. 23. Quantitative Research Methods • Weaknesses of Quantitative Data Analysis  Gaps in information – ex., data which are not included in collection cannot be included in analysis  Labor intensive data collection process  Often, limited participation by populations affected in the information collection process 23
  24. 24. Qualitative Research Methods • Qualitative research is by definition exploratory • It is used when we don’t know what to expect, how to define an issue, or there is a lack of understanding of why and how variables are affected • Qualitative data is useful for both exploring both groups and individual entities, and can generate case studies and summaries rather than lists of numeric data • Qualitative data are often textual observations that portray attitudes, perceptions, or intentions 24
  25. 25. Qualitative Research Methods • Qualitative methods and analysis provide added value in exploring intangible factors • Ex., cultural expectations, gender roles, individual feelings • Sample size must be big enough to assure inclusion of most or all of the variance in the data • Often times, the number of sample sites, groups, or categorizations becomes obvious as assessment progresses and new categories, themes, and explanations stop emerging from the data (theoretical saturation) 25
  26. 26. Qualitative Research Methods • Strengths of Qualitative Data Analysis  Rich and detailed information  Perspectives that can include specific cultural and social contexts (the human voice)  Inclusion of diverse cross-section  Data collection which can be carried out with limited resources  Data collection which can be carried out with limited respondents 26
  27. 27. Qualitative Research Methods • Weaknesses of Qualitative Data Analysis  Results in data which are not objectively verifiable  Requires a labor intensive analysis process (categorization, recording, etc.)  Needs skilled data collectors for consistency and nuance 27
  28. 28. Mixed Research Methods • A combination of both quantitative and qualitative research methods for investigating a given research question • Teams are often composed of an expert in quantitative research, and expert in qualitative research, and an expert in mixed research to help with dialogue 28
  29. 29. Mixed Research Methods • Strengths of Mixed Methods Data Analysis  Narrow views are often misleading, so approaching a subject from different perspectives (paradigms) may help to gain a more holistic view  There are different levels of social research, and therefore different methodologies may have particular strengths for different levels  Mixed methods fit well with pragmatism – the idea that knowledge is useful when it has practical uses; therefore, different recipients of the knowledge can either engage from a qualitative or quantitative perspective, widening the researchers’ potential audience  Also potential for multiple types of validations! 29
  30. 30. Mixed Research Methods • Weaknesses of Mixed Methods Data Analysis  Some research perspectives (paradigms) may be seen as at odds with each other, and therefore incompatible for a research team  Cultural issues affect world views of researchers, and this may impact comparable analysis in mixed method research  It is often easier for researchers to move from quantitative to qualitative methodologies in their training, and not the reverse 30
  31. 31. Achievable • All proposed activities for a research proposal should be achievable with the time and resources available to the researcher or research team • Often, researchers think they can take on more than they can finish in a given timeframe • Remember, just because it is important does not mean you or your team have the capacity to do it – Take careful stock of who can do what by when • Remember, it is better to under-promise and over- deliver than over-promise and under-deliver
  32. 32. Achievable • Scoping/brainstorming (Use free time tonight and tomorrow to discuss ideas) – What themes are emerging in the group in relation to your assigned topic? • Scoping (Work on this Tuesday - Friday) – Develop your research question(s) and how you will investigate it (them)
  33. 33. Achievable • Focus on research questions • Research objectives and focus questions for each objective • What methods and data will you use • Assemble a timeline 33
  34. 34. Key Deliverables: Proposal Presentation Saturday, March 10th (Preparation: Monday, March 5th - Friday, March 9th) • Background and statement of the research area/field • Insight from field visits/lectures • Research questions • Methods • Impacts and Outcomes • Timeline 34
  35. 35. Key Deliverables Research Proposal • Send the final proposals and completed templates to Philip by Monday, April 16th • Should also achieve the following: – Increase communication skills and problem solving – Develop management skills, including delegation – Work to deadline 35
  36. 36. Research Plan Development Exemplar – Delhi Metro Project Christopher Doll, Osman Balaban ProsPER.Net Young Researchers’ School 3rd August 2011 Hosei University – Tama Campus
  37. 37. 37 RESEARCH PLAN TEMPLATE 1 Research Questions and Outcomes AREA/FIELD OF RESEARCH: identify broad topic area and brainstorm a list of possible questions, issues and problems that you will need to investigate. Then try to narrow this down to a more specific Research Focus. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM: While it is known that …………………………….. Research has yet been conducted to ......... PURPOSE: Therefore the overall goal/purpose of this research is to ……… RESEARCH QUESTION: Therefore the research question to be answered by this research is ……… OUTCOMES/DELIVERABLES : The expected outcomes of this research will include: Global and local environmental problems are pressing for sufficient attention and prompt actions. The growth of cities and continual increase in urban population in developing countries are expected to intensify these problems under business-as-usual scenarios. However it’s not easy to convince developing countries to leave BAU scenarios and undertake actions to tackle both global and local environmental problems. Even if they are willing to do so, their economic and human resources may not suffice to create a significant change. Considering this challenge, several new concepts are being developed specifically to address the multiple urban challenges in coordinated and less costly manner. In this respect, ‘co-benefits approach’, which promotes the implementation of policies that bring multiple benefits at a time, has started to gain attention of researchers and policy-makers. The approach is argued to overcome the current challenges in cities of developing countries at relatively lower costs when compared to the costs that were borne by today’s developed countries. Hypothetically we know that policy initiatives in certain sectors can generate global and local environmental benefits simultaneously. The two main sectors in which policies and initiatives could result in co-benefits are solid waste management and transportation. However in present we know very little about the current level of co-benefits generated by certain initiatives and also we have limited knowledge and instruments to calculate or quantify co-benefits. Sufficient research has yet been conducted to find out the extent to which current projects have generated co-benefits and to develop methodologies to quantify co-benefits. Therefore this research set out to address and fulfill this gap in our knowledge and to improve our understanding of the links between co-benefits approach and policies in certain urban sectors To develop a methodology to quantify the environmental co-benefits of urban transportation initiatives and to apply this methodology to calculate the co-benefits of Delhi Metro Project. What have been the environmental co-benefits of Delhi Metro Project and how can these benefits be calculated? 1. Calculations on different environmental benefits generated by Delhi Metro Project. 2. A methodology or an evaluation tool that can be used to assess the effectiveness of transportation projects in generating co-benefits in different contexts. 3. A sound understanding of the role of urban transportation sector in tacking global and local environmental problems.
  38. 38. 38 RESEARCH PLAN TEMPLATE 2 Goals and Objectives RESEARCH QUESTION (from T1): OUTCOMES/DELIVERABLES (from T1): OBJECTIVES: To achieve the research goal or answer the research question, the study will address the following objectives: 1. To 2. To 3. To What have been the environmental co-benefits of Delhi Metro Project and how can these benefits be calculated? 1. Calculations on different environmental benefits generated by Delhi Metro Project. 2. A methodology or an evaluation tool that can be used to assess the effectiveness of transportation projects in generating co-benefits in different contexts. 3. A sound understanding of the role of urban transportation sector in tacking global and local environmental problems. find out/calculate how many tones of GHG emissions have been reduced after Delhi Metro started to operate. find out/calculate how much of air pollutants (SOx, NOx, PM10 etc.) have been reduced after Delhi Metro started to operate. develop a methodology or a tool for quantification of global and local environmental co-benefits of a metro system.
  39. 39. 39 RESEARCH PLAN TEMPLATE 3 Specific research questions Identify the specific research questions that you will need to ask to find and analyse the information that will help you achieve each objective. They may include a range of What, Why, Impact and Action focused questions and should reflect a sequence that can guide the sequence of data collection and analysis steps. In the third column, reflect on any issues you are aware of either in initial scope or implications if for whatever reason a certain question cannot be fully answered Research objectives (from T2) Specific research questions What are the assumptions or known issues involved and therefore the limitations with this approach; is that satisfactory to set the boundary of the thesis? 1. 2. 3. To find out/calculate how many tones of GHG emissions have been reduced after Delhi Metro started to operate. 1.1 What is the linkage between a metro system and GHG emissions? 1.2 What specific aspects of a metro system could help to reduce GHG emissions? 1.3 How and which GHGs could be reduced through the operation of a metro system? To find out/calculate how much of air pollutants (SOx, NOx, PM10, etc.) have been reduced after Delhi Metro started to operate. 2.1 What is the linkage between a metro system and air pollution? 2.2 What kind of air pollutants could be reduced by a metro system and how? 2.3 What are the annual amounts of reduction in different air pollutants due to the Delhi Metro? To develop a methodology or a tool for quantification of global and local environmental co-benefits of a metro system. 3.1 What are the current tools and methodologies available to make such quantification? 3.2 What are the strengths and weaknesses of current tools and methodologies? 3.3 What kind of data is required to develop such methodology and what are the possible ways of collecting that data?
  40. 40. 40 RESEARCH PLAN TEMPLATE 4 Sources, Collection, and Analysis of Data Plan for data collection and analysis to provide evidence for answering the research questions defined for each objective Specific research questions (from T3) Techniques of data collection Source of data Techniques of data analysis/ model development 1.1 What is the linkage between a metro system and GHG emissions? Interviews to collect data Delhi Metro Rail Corporation System boundary identification 1.2 What specific aspects of a metro system could help to reduce GHG emissions Literature review, expert interview Literature, experts System analysis 1.3 How and which GHGs could be reduce through the operation of a metro system? Literature review, expert interview Literature 2.1 What is the linkage between a metro system and air pollution? Literature and interview on the metro DMRC, City officials, published literature 2.2 What kind of air pollutants could be reduced by a metro system and how? Mode share and shift data Literature, Central Road Research Board, primary data 2.3 What are the annual amounts of reduction in different air pollutants due to the Delhi metro? Air pollution data Delhi Committee on Pollution Control, primary data collection Trend analysis, source apportionment study 3.1 What are the current tools and methodologies available to make such quantification? Literature review Literature Collect and classify 3.2 What are the strengths and weaknesses of current tools and methodologies? Literature review, expert interview Literature, experts, researchers’ own evaluations and observations Comparative analysis, sensitivity analysis, SWOT analysis 3.3 What kind of data is required to develop such methodology and what are the possible ways to collecting that data? Literature review, expert interview, panels Previously collected primary and secondary data Survey of data availability and access
  41. 41. RESEARCH PROPOSAL TEMPLATE 5A Plan for data collection and analysis to provide evidence for answering the research question Research objectives Focussed research questions Techniques data collection Source of data Techniques data analysis 1. To find out/calculate how many tones of GHG emissions have been reduced after Delhi Metro started to operate 1.1 What is the linkage between a metro system and GHG emissions? Interviews to collect data Delhi Metro Rail Corporation System boundary identification 1.2 What specific aspects of a metro system could help to reduce GHG emissions? Literature review, expert interview Literature, experts System analysis 1.3 How and which GHGs could be reduced through the operation of a metro system? Literature review, expert interview Literature 1.4 What is the annual amount of reduction in GHG emissions due to the Delhi Metro? Interviews to collect data Delhi Metro Rail Corporation System/Line calculation 2. To find out/calculate how much of air pollutants (SOx, NOx, PM10 etc.) have been reduced after Delhi Metro started to operate 2.1 What is the linkage between a metro system and air pollution? Literature and interview on the metro DMRC, City officials, published literature 2.2 What kind of air pollutants could be reduced by a metro system and how? Mode share and shift data Literature, Central Road Research Board, Primary Data 2.3 What are the annual amounts of reduction in different air pollutants due to the Delhi Metro? Air pollution data Delhi Committee on Pollution Control, Primary data collection Trend analysis, source apportionment study, 3. To develop a methodology or a tool for quantification of global and local environmental co- benefits of a metro system. 3.1 What are the current tools and methodologies available to make such quantification? Literature search Literature Collect and classify 3.2 What are the strengths and weaknesses of current tools and methodologies? Literature review and expert interviews Literature, experts, researchers own evaluations and observations `Comparative analysis, sensitivity analysis, SWOT analysis 3.3 What kind of data is required to develop such methodology and what are the possible ways of collecting that data? Literature search, expert interviews and panels Previously collected primary and secondary data Survey of data availability and access 3.4 What are the opportunities and barriers to develop and apply such methodology? Literature review and interviews Literature, experts, researchers own Cost analysis of acquiring data, potential
  42. 42. SDGs as focus for integration? • http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/focussdgs.html 42
  43. 43. Some themes • Co-benefits – Air pollution, occupational health • Relative roles of the public and private sector • Role of industrial clusters – Linkages with hinterland • Design vs. technology – Cooling, lighting.. • Poverty alleviation – Community cooperation and incentives for doing so 43
  44. 44. Thank you! 44

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