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Research Proposal: Issues

and Approaches
21st January, 2019

Dr. Aashiq Hussain Lone

Post-Doc Research Associateship from Indian Institute of Management,
Ahmadabad (IIMA). Presently, Assistant Professor, AAAM College,
Cluster University, Srinagar (CUS).
Objectives of the session:

Genesis of a research topic;

Structure of a research proposal; &
Techniques of literature review.
Research Proposal: A statement of Intent for



Seeking funding (MRP/ MRP)

ICSSR, UGC other Agencies
Proposal Origination
• a general topic;
• a list of possible topics.

• chosen by researcher
and endorsed by
Scholar professor
Proposal Origination
• a general topic;
• with a list of possible
Professor topics.

• Chosen by researcher
and endorsed by
Scholar professor
Two Qs?

1. Why do you want to do it?

Be sure to answer the “So What?” question.
2. How are you going to do it?
Be sure that what you propose is doable.
Four Sources Protocol (FSP)
1 • Criticism

2 • Future research direction

3 • Historical Context

4 • Interdisciplinary insight
Six Mistakes to Avoid
1. Failure to be concise; being “all over the map” without a
clear sense of purpose.
2. Failure to cite landmark works in your literature review.
3. Failure to delimit the contextual boundaries of your
research [e.g., time, place, people, etc.].
4. Failure to develop a coherent and persuasive argument
for the proposed research.
5. Failure to stay focused on the research problem; going
off on unrelated tangents.
6. Sloppy or imprecise writing, or poor grammar.
Reaction of your audience!

“Wow, that's an exciting idea and I can’t wait to see

how it turns out!”
Structure of Research Proposal
Title Introduction Need for the Study

Suppositions and Research
Research Methodology Literature Review
Implications Questions/hypotheses

Conclusion Citations
Open Ended (Unqualified)

Close Ended (Qualified)

Two Variable titles

Three variable titles

Titles with controls

• Initial pitch of an idea.
• Thorough examination of the significance of a
research problem.
• A sense of your passion for the topic and excitement
about the study’ possible outcomes.

Note: that most proposals do not include an abstract [summary] before the introduction.
4 Qs?

1. What is the central research problem?

2. What is the topic of study related to that problem?
3. What methods should be used to analyze the research
4. Why is this important research, and why should someone
reading the proposal care about the outcomes of the proposed
Background and Significance

• More detailed explanation about the purpose of the

study if the problem is complex or multifaceted.
• Set the boundaries of your proposed research in order
to provide a clear focus. Where appropriate, state not
only what you will study, but what is excluded from
the study.
• If necessary, provide definitions of key concepts or
Need for the study

• Present the rationale of your proposed study and

clearly indicate why it is worth doing.
• Answer the “So What? Question” [i.e., why should
anyone care.]
• Describe the major issues or problems to be
addressed by your research.
Literature Review
1. Deliberate, review and synthesis of prior studies related
to the research problem under investigation.
2. Demonstrating to your readers that your work is original and
3. Trace the intellectual progression of the field, including
major debates.
4. Think about what questions other researchers have asked,
what methods they have used, and what is your
understanding of their findings?
5. Challenge the conclusions of prior research.
6. Assess what you believe is missing and state how previous
research has failed to adequately examine the issue that your
study addresses
Five C’s of writing a literature review

• Cite, so as to keep the primary focus on the literature pertinent to your

research problem.
• Compare the various arguments, theories, methodologies, and findings
expressed in the literature: what do the authors agree on? Who applies
similar approaches to analyzing the research problem?
• Contrast the various arguments, themes, methodologies, approaches, and
controversies expressed in the literature: what are the major areas of
disagreement, controversy, or debate?
• Critique the literature: Which arguments are more persuasive, and why?
Which approaches, findings, methodologies seem most reliable, valid, or
appropriate, and why? Pay attention to the verbs you use to describe what
an author says/does [e.g., asserts, demonstrates, argues, etc.].
• Connect the literature to your own area of research and investigation: how
does your own work draw upon, depart from, synthesize, or add a new
perspective to what has been said in the literature?
Ensure that you have ?
1. Placed each work in the context of its contribution to
understanding the research problem being studied?
2. Described the relationship of each work to the others
under consideration?
3. Identified new ways to interpret prior research?
4. Revealed any gaps that exist in the literature?
5. Resolved conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory
previous studies?
6. Located your own research within the context of
existing literature [very important]?
Types of Literature Reviews
• Examines literature selectively
Argumentative Review
• contrarian viewpoint

Integrative Review • Integrated way

Historical Review • Examining research throughout a

period of time

Methodological Review • What and How

Theoretical Review • Examine a corpus of theories


SDCP syndrome: Spot, Download, Copy and

Article Databases



• .la/.hk/.tw/.tv

• .la/.hk/.tw/.tv
Software for LitRev


Format for LitRev in Excel

Serial Name of the Sample Suggestions for

Title of the study Year Findings
no authors Size future research
Format for LitRev in Excel
Serial Name of the Suggestions for
Title of the study Year Sample Size Findings
no authors future research

1 Determinants of capital Lone and Nazir 2018 30 Mid-cap Location Control for
structure companies and country or state
rate as
Are there pay There is no
inequities between significant difference
males and females in salaries of males
prevalent in IT and females in the IT
sector of India? sector of India.
Are there pay There is no
inequities between significant difference
males and females in salaries of males
prevalent in IT and females in the IT
sector of India? sector of India.



Research Design and Methods
• Building upon and drawing examples from your
review of the literature.
• Be specific about the methodological approaches you
plan to undertake to obtain information.
• Describe approach (Inductive/deductive;
• Research Triangulations!
• Population, sampling method, sample technique,
attrition rate, administration, time factor, coding etc.
Preliminary Suppositions and Implications

The purpose of this section is to argue how and in

what ways you believe your research will refine,
revise, or extend existing knowledge in the subject
area under investigation.

1. What might the results mean in regards to the theoretical framework that
underpins the study?
2. What suggestions for subsequent research could arise from the potential
outcomes of the study?
3. What will the results mean to practitioners in the natural settings of their
4. Will the results influence programs, methods, and/or forms of intervention?
5. How might the results contribute to the solution of social, economic, or other
types of problems?
6. Will the results influence policy decisions?

Summary of preceding sections and answering:

Why your research study is unique, and how it should

advance existing knowledge?


Baumeister, Roy F. and Mark R. Leary. "Writing Narrative Literature Reviews." Review of General Psychology 1
(September 1997): 311-320;
Mark R. Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage, 2005;
Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage Publications, 1998;
Kennedy, Mary M. "Defining a Literature." Educational Researcher 36 (April 2007): 139-147;
Petticrew, Mark and Helen Roberts. Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide. Malden, MA:
Blackwell Publishers, 2006;
Torracro, Richard. "Writing Integrative Literature Reviews: Guidelines and Examples." Human Resource
Development Review 4 (September 2005): 356-367;
Rocco, Tonette S. and Maria S. Plakhotnik. "Literature Reviews, Conceptual Frameworks, and Theoretical
Frameworks: Terms, Functions, and Distinctions." Human Ressource Development Review 8 (March 2008): 120-
Sutton, Anthea. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2016.