A research proposal is similar to dissertation proposal, student should clearly present the research aims and objectives clearly and concisely under the headings below:

  1. Title
  2. Research aims and research objectives
  3. Rationale
  4. Theoretical underpinning
  5. Methodology
    • Sample
    • Methods
    • Analysis
    • Anticipated limitations
  6. Timetable
  7. Resources
  8. Ethical considerations
  9. References

A full list references (in correct format) should be presented at the end of your work. A Bibliography is not normally required.

1 Title

This should be brief and to the point, encapsulating the essence of the dissertation.

2 Research aims and objectives

The research question should be clearly stated. There should be an overall aim and a number of specific, realistic objectives

3 Rationale

Present a brief justification for carrying out this research. You may wish to discuss who would be interested in such a study and/or what has been done to date in this area. A literature review may enable you to identify a gap in the research.

4 Theoretical underpinning

You should provide a brief overview of the key themes and concepts which you consider relevant to this area of study and the theoretical framework which you are planning to employ in your dissertation. Where appropriate, this should be referenced.

5 Methodology

What? How? Why?

You should identify the research approach you are intending to follow and clearly outline your research strategy. You should provide a rationale for this. An evaluation of your chosen methods should be presented, stating strengths and weaknesses and discussing possible alternatives. Your methodology should be linked to your objectives.

Each of the following should be considered:

  • Sample – Population of interest, sample size, selection strategy
  • Methods – Techniques and procedures to be used, triangulation, reliability, validity.
  • Data analysis – You will not have any data to analyse at this stage but should give some thought as to what you intend to do with your data. Your proposed analytical techniques may influence your methodology.
  • Anticipated limitations – No research is perfect! Highlight any limitations which you can foresee and suggest how these might be overcome.

6 Timetable

A detailed action plan of work to be completed throughout the duration of your dissertation should be prepared. A Gantt chart is the preferred method for presenting your timetable.

7 Resources

Itemise the human, physical and financial resources required for you to complete your research. Include any sources which have not already been mentioned.

8 Ethical considerations

Address issues such as health and safety, consent, confidentiality, competence.

9 Presentation

The proposal should be within the set word limit and presented clearly and concisely. It should be referenced throughout with a list of full references, in correct format, at the end of the proposal. NOTE: All headings listed in the stated format should be addressed.