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The Elements of Research Proposal

The proposal proposes the study the student would like to conduct. Therefore, it is important for the proposal to present clearly what the topic is? Why it is important to study? And how it should be studied? The NUM’s research proposal for doctoral/muster students must follow the following sections:

1. Background

This section provides readers with the background information for the research. Its purpose is to establish a framework for the research that create readers interest in the topic, lay the broad foundation for the problem that leads to study and place the study within the larger context of the scholarly literature.

2. Statement of the Problem

A problem statement should be presented within a context, and that context should be provided and briefly explained, including a discussion of the conceptual or theoretical framework in which it is embedded. Effective problem statements answer the question of “why does this research need to be conducted.” This is of major importance in nearly all proposals and requires careful attention. It is essential in all quantitative research and much qualitative research.

3. Purpose of the Study

The purpose statement should provide a specific and accurate synopsis of the overall purpose of the study. Try to incorporate a sentence that begins with “The purpose of this study is…..” This will clarify your own mind as to the purpose and it will inform the reader directly and explicitly. Briefly define and delimit the specific area of the research. You will revisit this in greater detail in a later section.

4. Review of the Literature

The literature review provides the background and context for the research problem. It should establish the need for the research and indicate that the writer is knowledgeable about the area. The literature review provides a framework for establishing the importance of the study, as well as a benchmark for comparing the results of a study with other findings. I frames the problem earlier identified.

5. Questions and/or Hypotheses

Questions are relevant to normative or census type research. They are most often used in qualitative inquiry. Hypotheses are relevant to theoretical research and are typically used only in quantitative inquiry. A research question poses a relationship between two or more variables but phrases the relationship as a question; a hypothesis represents a declarative statement of the relations between two or more variables. Deciding whether to use questions or hypotheses depends on factors such as the purpose of the study, the nature of the design and methodology, and the audience of the research.

6. Research Methodology

This section is really the heart of the research proposal that indicates the methods or procedures of the research. The activities should be described with as much detail as possible, and the continuity between them should be apparent. The elements of the research methodology should be included research design, sampling method, instrumentation, data collection and data analysis.

7. Scope and Limitation

The scope identifies how this study will be narrowed or how it is bounded. This is the place to explain the things that you are not doing and why you have chosen not to do them. A limitation identifies potential weaknesses of the study. Think about your analysis, the nature of self-report, your instruments, and the sample.

8. Significance of the Study

This section indicates how your research will refine, revise, or extend existing knowledge in the area under investigation. Most studies have two potential audiences: practitioners and professional peers.

9. References

Follow APA (2010) Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. Washington, DC.

10. Appendixes

The need for complete documentation generally dictates the inclusion of appropriate appendixes in proposals.

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