Written Assessment Guidelines
The precise format of your research proposal will differ depending on the research design and approach you take. The following template is a guide to some of the sections typically found in a research proposal which you can use to help you organise the assignment.
Introduction: This should set out the area of research you are focused on and describe the project’s aims. You should introduce the research design and refer to the potential outcomes or benefits of your project. This section should make clear how the project makes an original contribution and how this relates to existing knowledge.
Main body: This should describe the project in terms of the question(s) or area you intend to explore and set out in more detail how your project relates to existing literature. This should include an understanding of other research that has been carried out on the topic, key authors, literature, and debates. While this work might well form part of your dissertation it is not expected that you have an answer to the research question nor that you produce a full literature review. However, you should demonstrate an understanding of relevant research literature and offer a critical perspective on its strengths and weaknesses.
The body of the proposal should also outline your project’s rationale and design and demonstrate that you have thought about the potential issues of research design and coherence in developing your proposal. It should include an account of the value of the study: why is it an important exercise, where does it fit within the discipline, and how you will handle any interdisciplinary aspects. You should make it obvious to the reader exactly what research question your research is trying to answer.
Methodology: Describe the methodology you intend to use. Explain why you have selected this approach and how your research will utilise, critique, or engage with quantitative or qualitative techniques. Explain the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen methodology and how you might seek to address any challenges. You should show an awareness of the kinds of claims that can be made based on different methods and set out the limitations of your study. If your research is purely theoretical and/or does not involve data collection or analysis, discuss how you will select, apply, develop and critique theory to develop your study.
Ethics: If your proposed research is likely to raise ethical issues, for example, if you intend to carry out research that involves human participants, these need to be addressed in the proposal. This discussion should show an awareness of the ethical issues your project may face, and how you will seek to overcome them. If your project does not involve human participants, you should consider whether it raises any wider ethical issues, and if you feel there are no ethical questions raised by your project, explain why this is the case.
Funding: A short section where you show familiarity with at least two funding sources relevant to your research, what their requirements are and some comment on the possible impacts of your research.
Peer Review: Select one recent peer reviewed journal article (one that will be important for your research topic) and undertake your own peer review of that article. (300 words approx.)