It is a plan that details a reasoned, rigorous and systematic enquiry into a topic in order to justify the need for the study and to gain a clearer understanding of the topic area.
The Research proposal must demonstrate:
· A worthwhile topic, that is, the findings will be of benefit to society
· That the design, method and timeframe are feasible and appropriate
· The risk-benefit for participants is acceptable
· Participant privacy and safety are protected
· Good writing skills, clarity, logic and commitment to whatever purpose for which the proposal is written.
· Evidence of the researcher’s skills in conceptualising the problem, understanding the literature, selecting an appropriate research design, data collection methods and data analysis techniques.
Structure of the Research proposal
· The title of the research project
· An abstract or summary
· A statement of the problem being investigated.
· The significance or importance of the project
· A literature review (knowledge so far about the subject)
· Assumptions and definitions
· The aims and objectives of the project
· The Research plan (including a timeline of activities)
· Ethical Issues (including the participant information sheet and informed consent form)
· Dissemination of the findings
· The budget
The title of the research proposal
· Concise & clear explaining the purpose of the research
· Explicit and unambiguous
· A working title may be used
· The title may be changed by the end of the writing of the proposal
Abstract or summary of proposal
· Begin the introductory paragraph with the original question
· Describe what the proposal is about
· Describe how the issue will be addressed
· Describe how the research question will be answered
· Sometimes, keywords are required
The statement of the problem
· Informs the reviewer of the nature of the problem
· Sometimes called the ‘plain language statement’ or ‘lay person description’
· It provides rationale and justification for undertaking the project
· Research question again stated
· Indication of the pragmatic value of the findings and implications of knowledge gained for the field
· Reviewing literature helps conceptualise the project
· What is known about the topic – current knowledge
· Summarise the previous research
· Analysis of the shortcomings of the reviewed literature
· Provide an argument as to why the proposed research is important (in light of the shortcomings)
· Substantiates the case for the project
· Usually, research cited is less than 5 years old.
The aims and objectives of the project:
· Aims are broad and are a statement of purpose
· The aims constitute the boundaries of the research
· The aims guide the ways in which the data are collected
· Objectives are specific and describe the activities employed to achieve the aims
· Both should be feasible and achievable
Assumptions and definitions:
· Clearly stated to avoid ambiguity or confusion
· Variables should be operationally defined where appropriate
o Example: Administration of a plan of self-care to patients. Definitions: self-care, health status, age, education, cultural background.
o Assumption is that people want to learn to care for themselves.
· Details the paradigm (research approach), design, proposed mode of study, exactly what is intended and how it will occur.
- Research questions (specification of the object of the study)
- Hypotheses (expectations concerning the research questions)
· Sampling & sample profile
· techniques to be used (interviews, tests, questionnaires etc.)
· datacollection procedure
- data analysis (including statistical procedures)
- projected timeframe.
· Ethical guidelines developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC)
· Framework includes the concepts:
o Respect for humans
o Research merit and integrity
o Beneficence (benefits).
Ethics: Informed Consent
· Consent to participate must be voluntary.
· It must be based on sufficient information and adequate understanding of the research and the implications of the research.
· Consent should be obtained in writing.
· The language of the consent form must be understandable, and at a level of comprehension suitable for the individual or group concerned.
· There should not be coercion of participants.
· Data cannot be collected on participants who have refused to be involved in a study.