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How to write a good
Research Proposal

(C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013

1
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
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
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
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
Structure of a Research Proposal
2.0 Literature Review
-Theoretical framework constructed

(C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013

6
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
http://bcchewteachingblog.blogspot.com/p/reflectionon-research-methods.html 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
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
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
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
http://www.academia.edu/2044035/How_to_W
rite_a_Good_Abstract_A_General_Guide
(C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013

10
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
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
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
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
http://www.academia.edu/2912798/Verbs_Used_to_Write_Research_O
bjectives

(C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013

14
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
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
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
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
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
3.Y Scientific Canons
•
•
•
•

Reliability
Internal Validity
Construct Validity
External Validity (Generalisability)

(C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013

20
3.Z Gantt Chart
• To demonstrate your research activities versus
time planning.
• Put milestones on significant activities.

(C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013

21
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
5.0 Conclusion
• For reviewer to identify important
information.
• Make it concise, clear and informative.

(C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013

23
References
• According to different disciplines.

Appendix
• Attachments

(C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013

24
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
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
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
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
References
• **Chew, B.C. 2013. General Format for Bachelor Degree
Dissertation and Master Degree Dissertation. [online]. Available at:
http://www.academia.edu/4060424/General_Format_for_Bache
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

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How to write a good postgraduate research proposal

  • 1. How to write a good Research Proposal (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 1
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. Structure of a Research Proposal 2.0 Literature Review -Theoretical framework constructed (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 6
  • 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 http://bcchewteachingblog.blogspot.com/p/reflectionon-research-methods.html 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. 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. 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. 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 http://www.academia.edu/2044035/How_to_W rite_a_Good_Abstract_A_General_Guide (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 10
  • 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. 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. 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. 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 http://www.academia.edu/2912798/Verbs_Used_to_Write_Research_O bjectives (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 14
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 3.Y Scientific Canons • • • • Reliability Internal Validity Construct Validity External Validity (Generalisability) (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 20
  • 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. 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. 5.0 Conclusion • For reviewer to identify important information. • Make it concise, clear and informative. (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 23
  • 24. References • According to different disciplines. Appendix • Attachments (C)BCChew2013 7th November 2013 24
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. References • **Chew, B.C. 2013. General Format for Bachelor Degree Dissertation and Master Degree Dissertation. [online]. Available at: http://www.academia.edu/4060424/General_Format_for_Bache 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