Identify a topic of your choice that is relevant to your degree discipline; review the literature on this topic to identify a gap in knowledge. Develop a research question and identify a suitable methodology (qualitative or quantitative), research design and sampling strategy that would enable you to answer this question. Design a data collection instrument (i.e. questionnaire, focus group/interview schedule, diary, observation checklist or rating scale) that will address your research question. Provide a rationale for instrument development in your literature review. Discuss the strengths and limitations of your data collection tool in the discussion.
Assessment brief and links to learning outcomes
Your research proposal should follow an academic writing style and be correctly referenced throughout. Specifically, your proposal should be written report style, in the third person with headings and subheadings where appropriate. Your proposal must contain information under the following headings in sequence:
Title (Not included in the word count)
Your proposal must have a title of no more than 12 words. It must convey a clear and accurate idea of what the study is about within the constraints set by the word limit.
Abstract/Synopsis (200 words)
An abstract or synopsis provides a brief summary of your research proposal. The abstract or synopsis always appears at the beginning of the proposal to help the reader quickly ascertain the purpose of the proposed study. The abstract/synopsis should include the following subheadings: Background, Aims, methods, conclusion. Do not provide references in the abstract.
Contents page (not included in the word count)
Introduction and rationale (200 words)
The introduction must provide a clear and accurate idea of what the proposed study is about and explain why the topic was chosen. The topic can be self-selected but it must be related to your degree discipline and agreed with your supervisor.
Literature review and rationale for instrument development (2500 words)
The purpose of the literature review is to appraise the relevant background literature. It should have a good mix of classic and up-to-date literature. The literature review must contain a minimum of six research articles accessed from good quality academic journals. The literature review will lead to you identifying a gap in knowledge in your chosen topic. You must also provide a rational for instrument development in your literature review. Your rationale may look something like this…
“To explore the relationship between psychosocial factors, the environment and physical activity, this study seeks to develop a Theory of Planned Behaviour questionnaire to assess physical activity cognitions in children. Since no standard Theory of Planned Behaviour questionnaire exists, research is required to construct a questionnaire suitable for the behavior and population of interest” (Thomas, 2011).
Research question, hypotheses and aims (100 words)
Your research question will be formulated from the gap in knowledge you have identified, whilst the aim will provide a concise statement setting out the purpose of the study and desired end accomplishment. If you are proposing a quantitative study, then you will need to provide a research hypothesis.
Methods (1500 words).
The methods section should include the following subheadings (where appropriate):
Methodology: The methodology section should identify the methodology you would use to answer the research question. You will discuss qualitative vs. quantitative methods and provide a rationale for your choice.
Research design: The research design (e.g. descriptive, correlational, phenomenological etc.) should be described clearly and accurately and should align with the chosen research method.
Participants and sampling strategy: Describe the participant inclusion/exclusion characteristics, i.e. who will take part in the study, how many participants will be involved? Identify what type of sampling strategy you will use and make sure it aligns with your chosen research method.
Measures/materials/apparatus: Provide details of any measures, materials or apparatus you will need to conduct the proposed study, e.g. existing questionnaires, pedometers, weighing scales etc. Here you should also provide a brief description of your data collection tool. Is it a questionnaire, a focus group schedule or semi structured interview schedule? How many questions or items does it have? How is the tool administered, face-to-face/over the telephone? How is the questionnaire scored or what type of data will the measure produce, e.g. numerical or narrative? What type or format are the questions in – two way dichotomous, e.g. Yes/No, Multiple choice, scaling, checklist etc.?
Tool Development: Here you describe how you developed your data collection tool. How did you select/develop the questions? How did you select the format of the questions? Justify your design choices by linking to relevant theory and research.
Analysis: This is where you outline the procedures you will follow to analyze your data (either quantitative analysis – i.e. statistical tests – or qualitative analysis – e.g. thematic analysis)
Procedure: Describe how you plan to conduct the proposed study.
Ethical Considerations: Identify any ethical issues raised by the proposed study and how these will be addressed.
Discussion (500 words)
Discuss the strengths and limitations of your proposed study and data collection tool. Discuss the technical, practical and ethical issues involved in tool design and construction.
References (Not included in your word count)
You must reference your work throughout the assignment (excluding the abstract) and provide a reference list at the end of your proposal. Your references must follow the Harvard referencing system.
Appendices (Not included in your word count)
Include a copy of your data collection tool and scoring system (if appropriate) here.