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Submit your final research proposal. Note: You will not actually carry out your research project (i.e. operationalize your research design) in this class. You are writing a proposal for this assignment (which is often used to obtain funding such as a grant to complete the research). It is not a complete research paper. Thus, you will propose the collection of data to test your hypothesis, but you will not actually get to do it. Your proposal should have the following sections:
Title Page: Your title page should include the working title of your research project proposal, your name, date, and course title.
Introduction: The introduction is where you identify your specific research question and where you set the general context for the study. In this section you need to include:
a research hook (something like a statistic or interesting fact) that will encourage the reader to keep reading;
an introduction to the topic and its larger context, including a discussion of why it is important to study. It provides the current state of accumulated knowledge as it relates to your specific research question.
a statement of the problem and context leading to a clear statement of the specific research question. (The research question for this paper is: [fill in the blank]);
background and contextual material justifying why this case or topic should be studied; and
a purpose statement.
promote the importance of your own research. How will your research fit within this larger body of knowledge? What are you doing differently? What gaps will your research fill?
Theoretical Framework: The theoretical framework tells the reader what your basic theoretical lens is. It’s an opportunity for you to tell the reader where you are coming from. If, for instance, a realist viewpoint would help the reader understand your perspective, include a summary here. Same goes for a Marxist or liberal viewpoint. The theoretical framework is not always necessary. If you want to use a theory to derive variables for the lit review, that would go in the literature review, not the theoretical framework. This is simply a way to explain your model and starting point for the research.
- a summary of the theory or model to be used in the study, including a diagram of the model if appropriate;
- comment on the kinds of questions this theory has been used to answer in the past and why it is appropriate to use in this proposed study
- Literature Review: The literature review tells the reader what variables you want to include the data when you collect it. The literature review focuses on discussing how other researchers have addressed the same or similar research questions. In this section you should:
- Summarize the general state of the literature on the research topic. For example, if you discuss other studies that have been conducted you would summarize the researcher’s findings, how those findings were obtained, and conduct an evaluation of biases in the findings.
- The literature is the DEDUCTIVE part of the deductive research project. This is where you will deduce the variables and hypothesis from previous research and/or theory. You will derive those elements from peer reviewed research in the literature review.
- This section should provide a broad overview of the primary arguments related to the topic and organizes the general views on the main aspects of the topic by theme or variable, which could be the prevailing arguments or schools of thought, commonly held beliefs that incorporate your particular topic, elements that may influence the phenomenon you are studying; demographics and variables that may be a part of the answer to the research question.
The literature review MUST be organized around the variables that you will propose measuring in the data that you will propose to collect. These are the parts of the hypothesis.
Include a short conclusion and hypothesis.
REMEMBER TO USE HEADINGS AND SUBHEADINGS!
NOTE: Literature reviews can be a bit tricky to write. Think back to how you wrote your short theory lit review in week 4. Chances are you already started to write in a style similar to what one does when completing a literature review. This will not be the last time that you are asked to write a literature review in your academic career, so it is important to master this skill.
- Research Design and Methods: Describes how you will answer your research question by testing the hypothesis. This section describes your overall research design and how you plan to collect, synthesize, and interpret your data. It should include:
- identification and operationalization (measurement) of variables;
a sampling plan (i.e., study population and sampling procedures, if appropriate);
justification of case studies used;
data collection/sources (secondary literature, archives, interviews, surveys, etc.);
a summary of analysis procedures (pattern-matching, etc.); and
- the limitations of study and bias discussion.
- Conclusion: Reemphasizes the importance of your study and ties the proposal together. Just remember that you will NOT answer the question in the conclusion. The conclusion will review what you have already said about the proposal. It will summarize the hypothesis that you want to test in the data that you propose. It is not the answer to the research question. The answer to the research question can only come from data. The hypothesis came from the lit review, but the answer comes from the data that you are proposing to collect in this proposal.
- Reference List: As with all academic papers you need to reference the works that you have cited (direct quotes or paraphrases) in the text of your document and incorporate a complete reference list at the end. This list needs to be in APA. Please identify the preferred method on the title page.
- Remember that the references you use demonstrate your knowledge of the topic area. This research proposal is meant to convince your professor that you not only have identified a worthy question in need of investigation, but that you are also capable of carrying out the research involved to successfully answer that question. At the very least you should have referenced 12-15 peer-reviewed sources in this proposal. Data can come from databases and news accounts for the facts, but the lit review should be entirely from peer reviewed sources.