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Proposal writing fms research seminar series


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Proposal writing fms research seminar series

  1. 1. 1SALI@Poly 2014
  2. 2. What reviewers will look for? • How objectives relate to questions, • How methodologies relate to objectives and questions • How design relates to problem • How objectives relate to expected outcomes. • There will be other requirements 2SALI@Poly 2014
  3. 3. WHAT WHY & HOW? S. Ali, Faculty Of Management Sciences, Polytechnic of Namibia The Research Proposal 3SALI@Poly 2014
  4. 4. Why all the fuss • You mean I have to do a detailed proposal for my study before I even begin?. • But you said things are going to change once I get into the study! • YES, but you wouldn’t set off on a long road trip without a road map and some planning. 4SALI@Poly 2014
  5. 5. • A plan of action • Procedure for identifying your pathway • A prerequisite for Research investigation What is a Proposal? 5SALI@Poly 2014
  6. 6. What Research Is Not • Research is not information gathering: – Gathering information from resources such as books or magazines is not research. – No contribution to new knowledge. • Research is not the transportation of facts: – Merely transporting facts from one resource to another does not constitute research. – No contribution to new knowledge although this might make existing knowledge more accessible. While both of these are tools used during research, they are not sufficient for research. 6SALI@Poly 2014
  7. 7. What Research Is • Research is: “…the systematic process of collecting and analyzing information (data) in order to increase our understanding of the phenomenon about which we are concerned or interested.” 7SALI@Poly 2014
  8. 8. 1. Title page & table of contents 2. Introduction – Background & Context 3. Statement of the problem 4. Scope of the study 5. Objectives of the study 6. Hypothesis or research questions 7. Literature Review 8. Procedure of the study – Methods to be used 9. Limitation and delimitation of the study 10.Reference List or Bibliography What Your Research Proposal Should Include (10-12 pages) 8SALI@Poly 2014
  9. 9. Sample Masters TOC Unisa CONTENTS PAGE • • 1. INTRODUCTION 3 • 1.1 The research problem. 4 • 1.2 Rationale or purpose of the study. 4 • 1.3 The objectives of the study. 4 • 1.4 Research question(s). • • 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 5 • • 3. PROPOSED METHODOLOGY 6 • 3.1 Research design. 6 • 3.2 Data sources 7 • 3.3 Data collection techniques. 7 • 3.4. Issues of reliability and validity. 8 • 3.5 Sampling techniques. 8 • 3.6 Definitions of key terms, concepts and variables. 9 • 3.7 Data analysis and interpretation. 9 • 3.8 Ethical considerations. 10 • 3.8.1 Confidentiality. 10 • 3.8.2 Informed consent 10 • 3.8.3 Provision of debriefing, counseling and additional information. 10 • 3.9. Pretest or pilot study. 11 • • 4. MY PERSONAL WORK PLAN 12 • • LIST OF SOURCES 9SALI@Poly 2014
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  11. 11. Background of the problem [10%] The proposal must provide a well argued context to the topic under study. This should be backed up with appropriate references. Theoretical framework [25%] Appropriateness, Relevance and depth of analysis and interpretation Literature review must be based on topics rather than simply stating what various authors have said/ found. Is it in context and indicate need for study. Authoritative works have been cited. Recent work (post 2007) must predominate Statement of the problem [25%]  Linked to literature review  Clarity of the stated and identified problem With clear flow from study context and Lit Rev.  Study explanation  Statement of objectives for the intended research  Research Question(s) [and hypothesis if any]  Scope and delimitation of the study  How well do the questions address the problem and objective of research  Significance of the proposed study. A clear explanation of why this study is important  Is this study doable (too big/too small) Research methodology [25%]  Some background to the importance of methodology. Methodology design for research.  Explanation of data collection methods to be used – show link to research questions  Why were these methods chosen, showing evidence from literature that these are appropriate  What variables will be studied / measured and why  Appropriateness & relevance of the likely data collection methods, tools and strategies Referencing and overall quality of proposal 15% Adequate and correct in-text referencing (5) All reference included in Reference List and adherence to house style and Referencing (5) Quality of presentation (5) 11SALI@Poly 2014
  12. 12. UNAM MBA Proposal - Table of Contents 1. Introduction (2 Pages) 1.1 Orientation of proposed study 1.2 Statement of Problem 1.3 Objective of Study and/or Research Questions 1.4 Significance of Study 1.5 Limitations of Study 2. Literature Review (3+ pages) 3. Methodology (1+ pages) 3.1 Research Design 3.2 Population (if applicable) 3.3 Sample 3.4 Research Instruments 3.5 Procedure 3.6 Data Analysis 4. Budget (FOR SPONSORED STUDENTS ONLY) 5. Research Ethics 6. References 12SALI@Poly 2014
  13. 13. So is this the order of our progress? • NO • But it may depend on how experienced you are in doing research in the area. • If you are studying this course we assume you are starting on your research journey 13SALI@Poly 2014
  14. 14. Developing your IDEA • The first question for you is: – What is my area research • Second question is: – How familiar are you with this area of research • Assume you are not familiar • Problem for you is how do I get myself familiar? 14SALI@Poly 2014
  15. 15. Situations to Avoid When Considering A Research Problem • Research projects should not be a way of achieving self-enlightenment. • A problem whose sole purpose is to compare two sets of data is not a suitable research problem. • Calculating a correlation coefficient between two sets of data to show a relationship between them is not acceptable as a problem for research. • Problems that result in a yes or no answer are not suitable problems for research. 15SALI@Poly 2014
  16. 16. Finding a Legitimate Research Problem 1. Look around you. 2. Read the literature. 3. Seek the advice of experts. 4. Choose a topic that intrigues and motivates you. 5. Choose a topic that others will find interesting and worthy of attention. 6. Consider feasibility 16SALI@Poly 2014
  17. 17. Literature Review • What is the current body of knowledge in this area? Work already done. • It’s safe to always start with the literature review • Inform you about why this was done • Alert you about what methods were used in similar studies • Alert you about what variables are important 17SALI@Poly 2014
  18. 18. LR – Solution found? Gaps Identified? • The available literature is reviewed to determine if there is already a solution to the problem. • BUT…times are a changing – Existing solutions do not always explain new observations. – The existing solution might require some revision or even be discarded. – It may relate to a different environment – It may relate to a different time or place 18SALI@Poly 2014
  19. 19. Literature Evaluation • You may discover that the literature review has yielded a solution to the proposed problem. – This means that you haven’t really done research. – Change your topic / area of research • On the other hand, if the literature review turns up nothing, then additional research activities are justified. • Keep in mind that just because you didn’t find a solution today, doesn’t mean that one won’t show up tomorrow. This is one of the reasons that researchers are always reading and trying to keep up to date with current trends. 19SALI@Poly 2014
  20. 20. EXAMPLE – Find the Gap • Much of the research relating to indigenous knowledge has focused on agriculture, land management ( Olson, 2013; Dweba & Mearns, 2011; Derbile, 2011, David, Braby, Zeidler & Kandjinga, 2013), bio-diversity (Popova, 2014, Harvey, 2001; Zerbe, 2002) and more recently on environment and climate change (Chun, 2014; Popova, 2014; Gilles, Thomas, Valdivia, & Yucra (2013); Ani (2013) . However, research is lacking on the domestic knowledge underlying food preparation practices which transform crops into edible meals (Madge, 1994). 20SALI@Poly 2014
  21. 21. It communicates researcher’s – intentions, – clarifies the purpose of intended study, – provides a context for the study – give its justification and significance –provides a step by step plan for conducting the study. What is a Proposal? REVIEW 21SALI@Poly 2014
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  23. 23. Introduction – Background - Context • Introduction should provide the background of the research study. • May include subsections. • Must be clear. • Initially you should write as much as possible and when you are clear in your own mind you summarise your arguments 23SALI@Poly 2014
  24. 24. Why are you doing this? • Once you have done the Introduction you should be able to: • Explain why you are doing this • What you are trying to achieve • This needs to be crafted in a concise form 24SALI@Poly 2014
  25. 25. What to include in CONTEXT 1. Describe the field you will be researching 2. Tell us why this field is important 3. Describe the current (and relevant) "hot topics" in the field 4. Describe the specific area will you be researching in the field 5. Tell us how your research will add to the field (explain why your work is important--does it address any unanswered questions in this field?) 6. Summarize the current research base in your specific area of interest and highlight any gaps in the research that you plan to address with your 25SALI@Poly 2014
  26. 26. Purpose - Objectives • Action oriented words such as, “to determine”, “to find out”, “to ascertain” • Objectives should be attainable, measurable, achievable and testable. • Objectives need to be specific in nature. • Each sub objective should delineate only one issue. • The purpose states succinctly what the researcher proposes to investigate. 26SALI@Poly 2014
  27. 27. Justification: Question to address  Have I identified the specific research problem I wish to investigate?  Have I indicated what I intend to do about this problem?  Have I put forth an argument as to why this problem is worthy of investigation?  Have I made my assumption explicit? 27SALI@Poly 2014
  28. 28. Significance of the Study Significance of the study contains three paragraphs based on three questions: • Why the study is important? • How the study is important? • For whom the study is important? 28SALI@Poly 2014
  29. 29. Delimit the Research • Delimitations of the research are statements about what the researcher is not going to do. • What the researcher will not do is to become involved in data unrelated or irrelevant to the research problem. • The researcher must distinguish between what is and is not relevant to the problem. 29SALI@Poly 2014
  30. 30. The method • This is an upward moving process • Start from what data you need to address the research problem / questions • Work out how best to acquire this data (procedure) • Look at similar studies and justify your method • Tell how you will analyse the data 30SALI@Poly 2014
  31. 31. Problem vs Method • You should start by identifying all the possible methods you can use to collect data that will help address the problem. • Draw a diagram linking Questions to data required 31SALI@Poly 2014
  32. 32. Common Methodologies • Methodologies are high-level approaches to conducting research. – The individual steps within the methodology might vary based on the research being performed. • Two commonly used research methodologies: – Quantitative. – Qualitative. • Be mindful of ethics and informed consent. 32SALI@Poly 2014
  33. 33. Methodology Comparison Quantitative • Explanation, prediction • Test theories • Known variables • Large sample • Standardized instruments • Deductive Qualitative • Explanation, description • Build theories • Unknown variables • Small sample • Observations, interviews • Inductive 33SALI@Poly 2014
  34. 34. Features and characteristics of research Quantitative methodology Qualitative methodology Role of values Value neutral; value-free inquiry Normativism; value-bound inquiry Researcher’s role Detached; passive; separate from subject Active; interactive and inseparable Research problem Who – how many? What – how much? How? Why? Literature review Explanatory – what are the previously identified and measured variables. Relationship between variables. Hypothesis and propositions are developed Exploratory – what are the variables involved. Constructs are messy. Research issues are developed Methodology Description and explanation; e.g. - survey or experiment Understanding and interpretation; e.g. case study or action research Source: Summarised from: Sarantakos, 1993, pp.53 & 99; Healy and Perry, 2000. 34SALI@Poly 2014
  35. 35. Methodology must be justified - EG • The understanding of an individual’s attitudes and motivations, as well as the complexities of the human or organizational conditions remain unexplained by quantitative and statistical means (Hughes, 1990; Creswell, 1994; Hill and Wright, 2001). • Qualitative research studies tend to acquire data in natural setting (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994; Creswell, 1998), where the researcher is the data gathering instrument. The focus of the outcome is inductive and interpretative (Healy and Perry, 2000). A range of empirical material is gathered and studied through case study, personal experience, life story, interview, observation and other methods to describe and analyse “ routine and problematic moments and meaning in individuals’ lives” (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994, p.2). 35SALI@Poly 2014
  36. 36. • Qualitative studies are justified where the nature of the research question is such that the topic cannot satisfactorily explain the motivation or behaviour of individuals without deeper insights being explored (Creswell, 1998). Furthermore, where the variables are not easily identifiable and when the emphasis is on how a particular outcome is produced, rather than the outcome itself, then a qualitative approach is more appropriate (Patton, 1990). 36SALI@Poly 2014
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  38. 38. Ethical issues - EXAMPLE • Studies involving interaction with a human sample will usually have some ethical implications. It is important to establish trust with the research participants, and this was achieved by ensuring anonymity and confidentiality to all respondents; carefully explaining the research process and how the data were presented; providing as much information on the project and it’s aims and objectives without influencing responses. In some cases an extra degree of sensitivity was required when conducting focus group sessions, especially with reference to the card sort exercise, for example, where participants had a visual impairment, the card exercise would not have been appropriate and would have been left out of the session. (source: AHRB) 38SALI@Poly 2014
  39. 39. Checklist • Overall, was the information presented clearly and goal driven or in a very scattered manner with no apparent direction? • Was the argument obvious throughout all the sections of the proposal ? • Was the choice of citations appropriate with respect to the discussed argument ? • Did you describe and explain all the relevant aspects of previous research? • Did you structure the Method section clearly? • Will the method, as proposed, be appropriate to deal with the argument suggested in the introduction? • Do you see any obvious design flaws? • Are there any alternatives to study design? What is the justification of your choice? • Can one person (you) conduct suggested amount of work? • And finally: is this project exciting? 39SALI@Poly 2014
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  41. 41. References • The format is often specified by the institution. If not, select one and consistently stick to it. • In-text referencing (see example) • Reference List vs Bibliography 41SALI@Poly 2014
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