Research process and design

INSTRUCTIONS
Copy the Research Proposal Coversheet Template (see Blackboard) onto the first page of your report.
Create a Contents List for the report on the second page.
Include all necessary in-text citations and a list of References at the end of the report, using the Harvard
Referencing System.
Write an academic research proposal which addresses the following. The word count for each section is
indicative:
1. Title of the research proposal
2. An introduction to your chosen research area (400 words)
The Introduction should tell the reader what the report is about. It sets the project in its wider context,
outlines the structure and signposts the reader to the key points. This is followed by:
a. Background to the research (context of the research). This is the section, in which you should justify
why the topic you have chosen is of relevance and importance. You might provide some relevant
facts and figures regarding a particular industry – if possible, these should highlight any gaps in the
existing body of knowledge. There should not be a significant overlap with the literature review, but
appropriate references should be made. This part of your report should contextualise the research
and lead the reader logically to the research aim and objectives.
b. Research aim and objectives:
Begin this section by clearly stating the aim of your proposed research in one or two sentences (verbs
often used are: to investigate; to explore; to compare). Then provide a breakdown of the specific
objectives you will undertake in your research in order to meet the aim (there should not be more
than four objectives). Be as precise as possible. The objectives should link directly to the research
aim and be numbered (i.e. from 1 to 4).
Please note that if it is more appropriate to use an overarching research question, followed by a
subset of research questions (no more than four), you can do so. It is your personal choice.
3. Literature Review (650 words)
You must identify the main theoretical underpinnings of your work and the key authors in your field of
research. You should make references to the key authors and themes from the body of academic
literature that is relevant to your researched topic area. It is important to utilise a range of academic
sources (such as, journal articles, academic textbooks) and should be appropriately referenced.
4. Methodology: a description and justification of research methods for your study including (650
words):
a. Your philosophical position and methodological approach to your study
b. Research strategy, including data collection and a justification of their appropriateness
c. How you propose to analyse the data you gather
d. Any problems you anticipate and how you might overcome them
5. Ethical considerations (200 words):
a. How you intend to inform and gain access to the appropriate informants, data, and / or sites for your
study
b. How data and informants’ identities are protected
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6. Research timescales (50 words)
Either a short paragraph or a table indicating your planned research activity and research milestones. It
should demonstrate the viability of your research.
7. Any limitation of your study, for example, design or methods (50 words)
8. List of References (not to be included in the word count)
You need to include a reference list at the end of your report and adhere to the Harvard Referencing
Style (for in-text referencing and the reference list). All in-text references used in the research proposal
must be included in the References list.

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