Academic Writing Complete Guide

Purpose and Audience of this Guide
Why read academic articles?
Essay Writing
Report Writing
Oral Presentations
Finding Sources
Good Academic Scholarship
Understanding Feedback
Exam preparation and Techniques


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Research proposals

When undertaking a research degree in any discipline, you are likely to meet some of the best experiences in your life. You will get to meet notable researchers and even become part of the research fraternity. You will be able to develop skills that are applicable in the academic life, employment or even a variety of professions in and outside academia. The knowledge and skills that you gain along the way will help you for the rest of your life, you will become more confident and knowledgeable person.

Definition

A research proposal is a coherent and concise document, which summarizes the proposed research. It outlines the central ideas or questions that you intend to investigate. It gives a general area of study within which your research falls, referring to the existing state of knowledge and any recent discourse on the topic. It also shows your originality when with regard to the research that you have proposed.

This is part of the application process and shows that you have what it takes for the graduate level research. In other words, it helps you to communicate complex ideas in a clear manner, concisely and critically. With the proposal, you also get to be matched with an appropriate supervisor.

Types of research proposals

The nature and objectives of the proposals that you write are used to classify them. They include:

  • Academic research proposals
    This is a requirement for a thesis, dissertation, or a research paper. The elements within these papers are shared and vary depending on the field of study
  • Solicited proposals
    This proposal responds to a request and must demonstrate the attainment of every objective.
  • Unsolicited proposals
    The student upon request submits them.
  • Preproposals
    This is usually an abstract letter of intent for the review purposes before one can submit a full proposal.
  • Renewal proposals
    These proposals seek continued sponsorships for a project that would otherwise end.
  • Continuation proposals

What to include in your proposal

Regardless of the kind of research that you want to take, the paper that you write must include the following sections.

  • The title
    This is a tentative title for the intended research. You have to be flexible with it because it can change in the course of your research. You are required to choose a good topic for your research. The wording must be careful since it is a mini-abstract for your intended project. These essential words are the ones that come first accompanied by a suitable sentence structure.
  • The abstract
    This summarizes your proposed project and should be kept to a minimum of 100 words unless you have been addressed otherwise. You can include the main question that your proposed research seeks to investigate and resolve. Depending on your problem statement, this can be two statements.
  • Research framework
    This section comprises of several elements. First, you have to give a brief overview of the area that your research is going to cover. Flow the overview with the recent debate and the existing state of knowledge on the topic. You then provide a background information for your study and assist the audience to understand where you are coming from as well as what you intend to achieve. This secti0ons is supposed to demonstrate your familiarity with the subject as well as your ability to provide concise information from your study. Research framework features literature review and the gap that you have identified during the process and this is essential when you are trying to come up with the problem statement.
  • Research questions
    These are essential for any proposal. They are also referred to as research hypotheses. The audience must understand your problem statement and this is easily done using research questions. These central aims guide your study and once you have a list, review them. This is for the purposes of ensuring that they meet the criteria as well as ascertaining that they are not too broad. If you have a feasible and narrow project, you will be able to submit it I time as opposed to broad-based research papers. Narrowing the questions down can be hectic, which is why it is important you formulate primary items from which you can derive secondary questions for your research.
  • Research methods
    You have to give your research methods and show how they will help you in achieving the desired results. You can have several research methods for your paper since both primary and secondary methods are approved. On the other hand, most students prefer the library-based alternative in which you are supposed to provide a detailed reference. You can include the details of any fieldwork like questionnaires or interviews. Elucidate on how you are going to analyze your data using the data collection and analysis procedures. This is where you incorporate both investigation and research design methods that you have used to solve the problem.
  • The significance of the research
    State the importance of your research. This can add more to your knowledge on the area of study or you strive to solve a specific problem explaining why you need to address it.
  • Bibliography
    This important section helps in locating the most relevant areas of your research on your topic. The entries you make in this section should be traced in the text of your research. Use the recommended format of citation and referencing.

Important aspects to pay attention to when writing your research proposal

  • Your interests
    This is very crucial in any writing process. You cannot deal exhaustively with an area that you are not interested in. your passion should be demonstrated in the way that you write your paper. Writing or dealing with a topic that you are not interested in can be a challenging and the process can never be enjoyable.
  • Gauge previous research by different people
    There is a student who is never interesting in going through what others have researched in their field of study. This is not good for his paper since using previous research can enhance your insights as well as knowing what the existing knowledge has to offer to your topic. It will also enable you to identify the gaps that are there with regard to your study. You can use books and journals as well as online sources.
  • Available time
    You must know the amount of time that you are going to take to finish your research. Gauge the time expectation with the intended study and decide if it is feasible. If it is not, then find something else that will not compromise on the time or quality of your paper.
  • Availability of materials
    When writing your research proposals, you are supposed to apply study techniques that are supported by information from sources. You have to consider the availability of the resources for your proposed research. You can check out several different sources to ascertain that the available data is adequate for your paper.
  • Scope of work
    The type of topic that you select and the availability of information will decide that extent of your work. If you have a broad range, then you will have to narrow it down by revisiting your topic. Be ready to work with an area that you will not be overwhelming if you want to deliver good results.
  • The status quo of the problem
    Find out if someone has done anything about the problem that you are about to investigate. If you encounter one, find out what they have done and how you can improve the solutions available. Historical and current information about the subject is very essential at this stage. Find out if the study is worth the effort or it will lead to a dead end.

Aspects that every proposal is supposed to address

When you are writing your project, the following aspects should guide you:

  • the expected accomplishments of the study if it is completed on time and successfully
  • the implementation of the objectives
  • reasons behind the research and what the study entails
  • the time scope for carrying out the project and achieving the objectives
  • the person responsible for the implementation and management of the research
  • the resources required to achieve these objectives
  • the external factors that influence the implementation of the objectives
  • the intended beneficiaries of the project

Evaluation meters

Any type of writing is evaluated on grounds of the objectives or the intentions of the entire exercise. To classify a research proposal; as weak or strong there are several factors that come into play. They include:

  • the cost of the proposed research
  • the impact of the proposed study
  • the reliability of your proposal
  • the unit of analysis
  • acquisition of the required permission
  • proposed procedures

The length of the proposal

This depends on the regulation of the institution. The most important thing is to ensure that your proposal meets all the requirements. It should be objective and persuasive for the purposes of approval. Ensure that you have reviewed your proposal accordingly. You can also enlist the help of another person to make your work even much better. Your grades depend on how good you have presented your argument.


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