Writing a sound proposal PROF. DR. MOHAMED AMIN EMBI Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Task 1:Individually, write your own definition of ‘Research’.Task 2:In groups, list at least THREE characteristics / attributes of Scientific Research
Characteristics of Scientific Research• Objectivity – unbiased, open-minded, not subjective.• Precision – validity & reliability in measurement, research design, statistical significance.• Verification – the results can be confirmed or revised in subsequent research.
Characteristics of Scientific Research• Empiricism – guided by evidence obtained from systematic research methods rather than by opinions.• Logical Reasoning – using prescribed rules of logic (through deduction or induction).
Guiding Principles of Scientific Inquiry• Pose significant questions.• Link research to theory.• Use appropriate methods.• Provide coherent reasoning.
Pose Significant Questions That Can be Investigated Empirically• Have an impact on the current state of knowledge.• Fill a gap in prior knowledge.• Seek new knowledge.• Identify the cause(s) of some phenomenon.• Formally test a hypothesis.• Reframe a prior research problem in light of newly available methodological or theoretical tools.
Link Research to a Relevant Theory or Conceptual Framework• CF or theory guides the entire research process.• CF or theory suggests possible questions or answers to questions posed.• CF influences the research process in the selection of what & how to observe.
Use Methods That Allow Direct Investigation of the Research• Method used must fit the question posed.• The link between question & method used must be clearly explained & justified.• Scientific claims are strengthened when they are tested by multiple methods.• Different methods should be used in different parts of a series of related studies.
Provide a Coherent & Explicit Chain of Reasoning• A logical chain of reasoning is important.• Validity of inferences is strengthened by identifying limitations & biases.• Detailed descriptions of procedures and analyses are crucial.
Task 3:In groups, identify the main processes involved in scientific research.
Research Process• Select a General Problem• Review the Literature on the Problem• Decide the Specific Research Problem, Question, or Hypothesis
Research Process• Determine the Design & Methodology• Collect Data• Analyze Data & Present the Results• Interpret the Findings & State Conclusions/ Summary regarding the Problem
Research Problem• How clearly is the problem stated?• Does it have sufficient practical or theoretical value to warrant study?• Does it have a rationale?• Has the problem been studied before?• Is the study likely to provide additional knowledge.
Statement of the Problem• Statement of the problem introduces the importance of the problem, significance of the study & the research questions or hypotheses to follow.
Hypotheses or Questions• Are any assumptions advanced with respect to the hypotheses or questions?• Are hypotheses consistent with theory or known facts?• Are the hypotheses testable?• Do the hypotheses provide expected results?
Questions Formulation• Descriptive RQ – asks What is? and imply a survey design.• Relationship RQ – asks What is the relationship between 2 or more variables? & imply a correlational design.• Difference RQ – asks Is there is difference between 2 groups or 2 or more treatments
Hypotheses Formulation• RH is a tentative statement of the expected relationship between 2 or more variables.• RH should state the direction of the relationship.• RH should be testable.• RH should offer a tentative explanation based on theory or previous research.• RH should be concise & lucid.
Purpose of Literature Review• Define & limit the problem.• Place the study in proper perspective/context.• Avoid unintentional & unnecessary replication.• Select promising methods & measures.• Relate the findings to previous knowledge & suggest further research.• Develop research hypotheses.
Steps in Writing Literature Review• Analyze the problem statement to identify concepts & variables that suggest topic areas & key terms to search.• Read secondary literature to define the problem in more precise terms and to locate primary literature.• Decide the search strategy for primary literature.
Steps in Writing Literature Review• Transform the problem statement into search language & conduct a search.• Evaluate the pertinent primary literature for inclusion in the review.• Organize & logically group selected literature.• Write the review.
Review of Literature• How adequately has the literature been surveyed?• Does the review critically evaluate previous findings & studies, or is it only a summary of what is known?• Does the review support the need for studying the problem?• Does the review establish a theoretical framework for the problem?• Does the review relate previous studies to the research problem?
Methodology/ Methods & Materials• Are the procedures, design & instruments employed to gather the data described with sufficient clarity to permit another researcher to replicate the study?• Is the population described fully? Did the researcher use the total population, or was there a sample used? If a sample is used, is it representative of the population from which it was selected?
Methodology/ Methods & Materials• Is evidence presented about the validity & reliability of the scores?• Was a pretest used? Was there a pilot study?• Are there any obvious weakness in the overall design of the study?
Task 4:In groups, identify the main elements/components of a postgraduate research proposal.
Components of a Proposal• Title• Introduction/Overview/Background• Statement of the Problem• Research Objectives• Research Questions• Research Hypotheses (Correlational Research)• Operational Definitions
Components of a Proposal• Literature Review• Conceptual Framework• Methodology/ Methods & Materials Research Design Population Sample & Sampling Technique Instrumentations Data Collection & Analysis Procedures
Components of a Proposal• References• Gantt Chart