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Research Proposal Writing and

Reporting Research Results

(Academic Writing)
The need for research proposal
The need for research proposals:
• To show the sponsor/advisor about what you intend to
do and help them get information on the following:
– The nature/scope/relevance/significance of the research
– The research problem/gap/objective
– The proposed methodology
– The proposed budget and time frame
• Based on the proposal, the sponsor makes informed
decisions. For example:
– Approve or reject the proposed research
– Modify the title, scope, objective, methodology, etc
– Amend the proposed budget and/or time table
The need for research proposal….
• The proposal also serves the researcher as a blue
print for expediting the research so that the
researcher conducts the research with
– Well thought/relevant/significant research topic
– Well articulated problem/objectives/scope, etc
– Well developed theoretical/conceptual framework
– Well designed methodology that:
• Ensures construct, internal & external validity
and reliability of the research.
• Considers data, time and budget constraints
The structure of research proposal
Generic structure of research proposal
• Preliminary pages: title page, table of contents, acronyms, etc (page no I,ii,,iii,
1. Introduction
1.2.Statement of the problem
1.3.research questions
1.5. scope
1.6. limitation
2.Literature review
2.1 Theoretical Literature
2.2. Empirical Literature
2.3. Conceptual framework
3.Research methodology
Time table and proposed budget.
• Annex: Data collection instruments
The Proposal: (A) Preliminary pages
A. The Cover page:
• The title should be as short as possible
• However, it should adequately represent the topic and
the research problem/objective & if possible, indicate
the nature of the enquiry
• Include table of contents (TOC)– MS Word can help
you in automatically producing & updating the TOC
(see next slide).
• Include list of acronyms – include only those that are
frequently mentioned in the paper
The Proposal:(A) Preliminary pages ….
Using MS Word to prepare and update your TOC
• First, specify the heading level (i.e., level 1, level 2,
level 3 or just a text).
– Step 1: Select the heading
– Step 2: click at “References “
– Step 3: drop down “Add text”
– Step 4: Select the heading level (1, 2 or 3) for
headings that you want to appear on the TOC or
select “do not show on table of contents” for texts
(sentences and paragraphs) that should not appear
on the TOC.
– Step 5: Complete steps 1 – 4 for all headings.
The Proposal:(A) Preliminary pages ….
• Then, produce the TOC.
– Step 1: put the cursor on the page in which the TOC
will be produced
– Step 2: click at “References “ … “table of contents”
…. Select one of the options that drop down
– Output: the TOC will produced automatically.
• Update the TOC when there are changes.
– Step 1: Right click on the TOC and select “update
field” or click “References” & ”Update Table”.
– Step 2: Select one of the options: i.e., “update page
numbers only” or “Update entire table”.
The Proposal:(A) Preliminary pages ….
Using MS Word to prepare list of tables/figures/boxes
• First, write the heading of the table/figure/box using
the software.
– Step 1: Click on top of the table/box or below the figure
– Step 2: Click on “References” & then “Insert Caption”
– Step 3: In the dialog box, drop down & select the correct
label (i.e., Table, Figure or Box). If you select Table, then
“Table 1” will be written
– Step 4: Then write down the heading of the
table/box/figure after a colon.
– Step 5: Complete steps 1 – 4 for all headings of
The Proposal:(A) Preliminary pages …
Using MS Word to prepare list of tables/figures/boxes
• Then, produce the list of tables/boxes/figures
– Step 1: put the cursor on the page in which the list will be
produced (on a page next to the TOC page).
– Step 2: click on “References “ & then on “insert table of
figures”. The list will be produced automatically.
• Update the list of tables/figures when there are changes.
– Step 1: Right click on the TOC & select “Update field” or
click “References” & ”Update Table” (the option below
“Insert table of figures”.
– Step 2: Select one of the options: i.e., “update page
numbers only” or “Update entire table”. The list will be
updated automatically.
The Proposal:(B) the body
B. The Body - Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 General Background: giving a highlight/overview
• Establish the importance of the topic for the world or
society (e.g., policy/practice) & for the discipline
• Provide a synopsis of literature and highlight a
controversy/debate in the field of study
• Highlight the research problem in broader terms
• Highlighting inadequacies of previous studies & a
knowledge gap in the field of study
• Indicate the purpose of your research and how it
contributes to the debate or problem.
• Reasons for the writer’s personal interest in the topic.
The Proposal: (B) the body…
1.2 Background to the study area:
• Provide a brief relevant contextual background
– For example: Geographic/spatial, demographic,
socio-economic, administrative/governance,
institutional, etc information.
• You may also provide a further overview on the issue.
Example: in assessing policy/program implementation:
– The background information may be about the
policy/program such as its rationale/objectives,
components, mechanisms, stakeholders, etc).
• Note: Do not miss important contextual information –
understanding the context is very important!
The Proposal:(B) the body…
1.3 Statement of the problem:
• Avoid redundancy: Do not repeat what is stated in the
general background or background to the study area.
• Focus on articulating the research problem – stating
what is happening/known & what is not known
(research gap).
• Provide a further justification for your research -
Indicate if similar studies have been conducted and
their limitations. Example:
– Gaps in scope, methodology, time span, data
quality/adequacy, bias, etc); you may also stress the
significance of the context in your study area as a
• Include 3 - 4 research questions. You can also state the
hypotheses here.
The Proposal:(B) the body…
1.4 Scope/delimitation of the study:
• Thematic scope – the scope content-wise.
– For example, if you are assessing the selected good
governance principles, the thematic scope indicates
those principles that will be of interest and those that
will not be addressed.
• Geographic scope – specifying the site
• Time scope – specifying the time period the study
– In time series and panel data analysis, indicate the time
range that will be covered(e.g., 1970 – 2013)
– In cross-sectional studies, indicate the year & month(s)
in which the study will be conducted (e.g. this study will
be conducted in May & June 2015.
The Proposal: (B) the body…
1.5 Significance of the study for positive social change:
• Policy significance (e.g., in filling policy gaps)
• Practical significance (e.g., in overcoming implementation
• Theoretical or empirical significance - How it contributes to
the existing body of knowledge. For example, you cold
state if:
– A new theory will be proposed, or
– An existing theory will be revised/refined, or
– The conformance/relevance of an existing theory to a
particular context will be tested.
– New empirical evidence will be provided
– New research methodology will be proposed
The Proposal: (B) the body…
1.6 Limitations of the study:
• Limitations are weaknesses (errors, uncertainties,
problems, biases, etc) of the study. For example, these
may include limitations in terms of:
– The research objective/scope – e.g., unaddressed
– The research approach and depth of analysis (e.g.
unanswered questions – e.g., root causes, the
“why” or “how” part might not be addressed
– Methods – e.g. limitations in generalizability of
findings due to the sample size or sampling
technique adopted.
– Quality data- possible errors, uncertainties, bias in
data collection, etc.
The Proposal: (B) the body…
1.6 Structure/Organization of the paper
• Indicate how the proposal/paper is organized.
• Mention which part/chapter deals with what…
1.7 Definition of key terms
• Key terms in you paper need to be defined in a
way they will be used through out the paper.
• This helps the reader gain clarity of what you
mean by a certain term right from the
The Proposal: (B) the body…
Chapter Two: Literature Review
• As discussed in previous units, provide a
summary of:
– Relevant theory (theories) in relation to the topic
and the research questions/objectives
– Related empirical studies conducted in other but
relatively similar contexts
– The conceptual framework – diagram & description
– Working (testable) hypothesis – to be tested later
after data collection.
• Site sources appropriately
The Proposal: (B) the body…
Chapter Three: Research Methodology:
3.1 Research type/approach – You can describe
the research type/approach in different ways:
• You can mention whether it is:
– Descriptive or explanatory/analytic, or both
– Quantitative or qualitative or both
– Time-series, panel or cross-sectional
– Survey research or case study
The Proposal: (B) the body…
3.2 Data type, source and methods of data
collection – indicate:
• Data type (primary and secondary data)
• Data sources – who are the respondents? What
are the secondary data sources?
• Methods of data collection - Interview,
questionnaire, FGD, Observation, etc
– Indicate which method will be used to collect which
• Data collection procedure to be followed with
respect to the data gathering methods. Example:
– What procedure will you follow in conducting a
personal observation or interview?
The Proposal: (B) the body…
3.3 Sampling method and sample size:
• Indicate your sampling unit(s)
• Indicate if the probability/random sampling method
will be used. If so, which techniques will be used to
draw a sample from which sampling unit?
• Indicate if the non-probability/non-random sampling
method will be used. If so, which techniques will be
used to draw a sample from which sampling unit?
• Indicate the population size and the sample size;
show how the sample size is determined.
The Proposal: (B) the body…
3.4 Method of data analysis:
• Indicate how you are going to analyze the
quantitative and/or qualitative data.
• Specify the techniques and statistical packages
you will use (if applicable).
• If explanatory, specify the model (e.g., regression
3.5 Timeline and budget:
• Identify the major activities in your research and
put a time line (a start and finish period).
• You may use the Gant Chart
• Then, attach a budget to the activities.
The Proposal:(C) References & Annex
List of References
• Include all citations (cited in main body) into the list.
• Exclude references from the reference list if they are
not cited in the main body
• Covered a range of sources, latest information
• Arrange the references in alphabetical order. Follow
the APA referencing guide for consistency.
• Include annex after the list of references
• The data collection instruments – questionnaire,
interview/FGD guiding questions, observational design,
• Other relevant/supplementary information.
Research report writing : structure
• Preliminary Pages: anything before chapter one. Contains:
– Title pages, declaration page, approval, acknowledgment,
acronyms, abstract, TOC, list of tables/figures/boxes, etc.
• Main body:
Ch 1-3 of the
• Chapter 1: Introduction
research proposal.
• Chapter 2: Literature review
NB: Language
• Chapter 3: Methodology
changes from
• Chapter 4: Results
future to
• Chapter 5: Discussion/Interpretation,
Conclusion and Recommendations
• List of References and
• Annexes – data gathering instruments, summary of raw
data in a table, pages of documents, results tables, etc.