Research Proposal Writing: Prof. Vibhuti Patel

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"How to prepare good Research and Funding proposals ?” :

1 "How to prepare good Research and Funding proposals ?” by Dr. Vibhuti Patel Director, PGSR Professor and Head, University Department of Economics SNDT Women’s University Churchgate, Mumbai-400020 Presented at Workshop on Research Methodology on February 28, 07 organised by Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research, Mumbai

Proposal Writing as an Art & a Technical Craft:

2 Proposal Writing as an Art & a Technical Craft Representation of a programme A request Instrument of persuasion Promise & commitment plan

Slide 3:

3 Cycle of Research

Some starting points for a good research proposal:

4 Some starting points for a good research proposal Provides a realistic plan for investigation of your research question Provides justification of a methodological perspective, & methods of investigation Provides data which has the capacity to answer your research question Adequately considers relevant ethical issues

Vital Concerns:

5 Vital Concerns Objectives-SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely Contribution to human knowledge- USP- Unique Selling Point-innovativeness Clear thinking High level of motivation Substantiate goals with solid evidence Proper references Envisaged time scale Realistic budget Abstracts of proposal at the end

Method or Methodology?:

6 Method or Methodology? Methods are the techniques/ procedures used to collect and analyse data Methodology refers to discussions of how research is done, or should be done, and the critical analysis of methods of research

Important questions for consideration :

7 Important questions for consideration What’s my research question? What theories, concepts, models inform my research? What kind of data will I need to answer my question? How will I collect this data? What ethical issues are relevant to my research? What are the strengths and limitations of my research? How much can I reasonably achieve in my research? How will my work be judged?

Slide 8:

8 “a question well asked is a question half answered”: the way the question (or hypothesis) is stated shows what data will be necessary to answer (or test) it, and probably suggests also how and from where or from whom the data will be obtained Sharp, pointed and straight questions to be asked

Types of research questions:

9 Types of research questions These three types of questions usually form a sequence … What ?  Why ?  How ? What do you want to do? Why you will succeed? How much will it cost?

Developing a research question:

10 Developing a research question Having come up with some prototype questions now refine. Examine the scope of your question/s Separate major and subsidiary questions Is each question necessary? Refine the wording of your question/s

Consider carefully the verbs you use in your question:

11 Consider carefully the verbs you use in your question Explore (initial description) Describe (detailed account) Explain (establish the factors responsible) Understand (establish reasons) Predict (using an explanation to postulate future outcomes) Change (to actively intervene) Evaluate (assess if desired outcomes are achieved)

After finalising the research question - two questions ...:

12 After finalising the research question - two questions ... WHAT research strategy will be used? WHERE will the data come from? Official documents/archives Review of literature Translation Field survey/investigation/interviews/ FGD-Focus Group discussion

Induction:

13 Induction Form of reasoning – bottom up Observations Measures Identifying Patterns Tentative Hypothesis or proposition Theory

Deduction:

14 Deduction Top down reasoning Theory Hypothesis To test Observations to address the hypothesis Test the hypothesis with specific data Confirm/or disconfirm the original hypothesis

Strategies for Answering research questions:

15 Strategies for Answering research questions A Research Design needs to answer 3 basic questions: WHAT will be studied? WHY will it be studied? HOW will it be studied?

Where does your method sit?:

16 Where does your method sit? Field Research Literature/ Archive Unstructured Structured

Quantitative Research:

17 Quantitative Research Quantitative researchers attempt to be objective, meaning that they wish to develop an understanding of the world as it is ‘out there’, independent of their personal biases, values and idiosyncratic notions. Quantitative research involves numbers. Usually large volume of participants/ records Eg. Survey Research, Analysis of existing quantitative data sets Strength: Representivity Weakness: Depth of Understanding

Qualitative Research:

18 Qualitative Research Qualitative researchers view themselves as primary instrument for collecting data. They rely partly or entirely on their feelings, impressions, and judgments in collecting data. Qualitative research involves words Usually smaller volume of participants/records Eg. Ethnographic research, life history interviews, discourse analysis Strength: Depth of understanding, Reaching out where other methods can’t reach to give meaning to numbers Limitation: Representivity

Research Proposal:

19 Research Proposal Title Introduction (inc. statement of research problem/ question/ aims & objectives) Background/ Literature Review Research Design Method of data selection Instruments/ techniques to be used Methodological limitations Methodological significance/ innovation Data analysis strategy Ethical issues Timeline Resources required-Budget Expected outcomes of research

Plan your Proposal:

20 Plan your Proposal Decide how long each section will be Some sections will be quite short (eg limitations, timeline etc) while other sections (eg literature review will be quite long). The significance of sections will vary according to your particular project. You may even have some additional sections that are needed for your proposal.

A MUST:

21 A MUST Finalise your research question/ problem statement/ hypothesis Make sure your proposal is logical. Identify possible weaknesses in your research design, acknowledge them and explain why they are there. Critically review/ edit your own writing, seek others help with this Learn to read like a writer – examine structure, style, organisation etc

Remember:

22 Remember Write with authority (ie back up your statements). Write for clarity not ‘impressiveness’. Show that you are planning your research carefully (think about pragmatic issues – agency support/ ethics/ resources you may need/ potential hurdles). You are the expert on your topic. Help the reader to grasp your ideas. Edit for clarity (don’t just proofread).

References:

23 References If a list of references is to be included, it is placed at the end of the text proper and before the sections on personnel and budget. The items should be numbered and should be in the order in which they are first referred to in the text. In contrast to an alphabetical bibliography, authors' names in a list of references should not be reversed. In the text, references to the list can be made in various ways; a simple way is to use a raised number at the appropriate place, like this. Such numbers should be placed outside any contiguous marks of punctuation. The style of the bibliographical item itself depends on the disciplinary field. The main consideration is consistency; whatever style is chosen should be followed scrupulously throughout.

Some Ethical Issues::

24 Some Ethical Issues: Reason & purpose of research/programme Competence in doing it Consent-How informed? How free? Benefits & Risks Privacy preservation Confidentiality Anonymity Ownership of date Feedback to participants Use & Misuse of Results

Slide 25:

25 Interrelationship between conceptual terms Ontology Epistemology Methodology Methods Sources What’s out there to know? What and how can we know about it? How can we go about acquiring that knowledge? Which precise procedures can we use to acquire it? Which data can we collect ?

Budget:

26 Budget Research Personnel/staff Equipments Books and Journals Consultancy Contingency Material Travel & Field Work Institutional Overhead

Remember that your evaluator will check:

27 Remember that your evaluator will check Perspective Objectives Literature Survey Design Tools Plan for Analysis Research Questions Ethical Issues-informed consent Time Line References

Thank you:

28 Thank you

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