EGR9045M Compose an appropriate research question that reflects an issue within the subject area of their programme

Learning Outcome 1: Compose an appropriate research question that reflects an issue within the subject area of their programme
Learning Outcome 2: Design a programme of research and investigation that can be undertaken within a given resource envelope to master`s level
Learning Outcome 3: Formulate a research methodology appropriate for undertaking an Independent Study
Learning Outcome 4: Critically evaluate source material using the concepts of research design and evaluate the contribution of their research to existing theoretical frameworks
Learning Outcome 5: Compose a relevant Ethical Approvals Form that is consistent with EPSRC principles of ethical research practices

Title - Research Proposal

Assessment Task and Purpose: A research proposal is a very important part of the MSc dissertation. It provides the basis for decision making by the faculty. The proposal serves a useful role in focusing your early research activity as well as discussions with your supervisors. This is not a precise format; however, these guidelines are designed to help you provide the information needed to evaluate your MSc thesis proposal. All proposals aim to answer basic questions about your intended research - What is your research focus? Why is this research needed? Who else has addressed similar research issues or concerns and what did they conclude? How will your research be carried out? And what do you expect will be the ultimate value or significance of your research findings?

In general, the proposal should include research question, scope of study, methodology and expected outcomes. Students will be asked to carryout various in-class activities (individual and in groups) related to designing different ways to research the theme of your dissertation and then each will produce an individual "extended" research proposal following specific guidelines.

The proposal should contain the followings:

Working title: Begin with a provisional working title. A working title should be descriptive, concise and informative, but it should not be restrictive. Prepare a working title that will engage readers` interest and predispose them favourably towards the proposal.

Research problem: What is the proposed research trying to achieve and why is it important? Clearly define the issue or problem you intend to explore, highlighting the key issues to be investigated. Include a justification for why the problem is important and worth exploring. Also indicate the scope of the research, remembering to limit your research to something feasible.

Research question(s); Aims and objectives: Provide a succinct research question or questions that will serve as a focus for the research and guide investigative activity. Questions also can be used to develop a tentative proposition which may be used as the basis for an argument. Research questions should be formulated with care and precision. Objectives are specific actions or goals that enable you to achieve your aim. It is advisable to limit your objectives to three or four.

Context for the research: How has the work of others helped shape or inform your research questions? Why is the topic of interest to you and to the wider research community? Locate your proposal within the context of relevant existing research. Context includes both the current state of knowledge and debates within your particular field of enquiry. Show that you are familiar with some (not necessarily all) of the theories, works, practices or other sources that are relevant to the research you want to undertake. You may need to draw on literature from several fields to demonstrate where your project is situated.

Possible research methodology: How will you go about doing your research? Describe the methods approaches and/ or procedures that are most suitable for you to use in addressing your research problem or questions and will aid in fulfilling your objectives. Explain and justify the practical, experimental, conceptual and/or theoretical framework that you will employ.

Potential Research outcomes: Provide a clear description of the anticipated product(s)/ outcomes of your research. How will your research fill gaps in existing research, re-interpret, re-contextualise and/or extend knowledge or understanding in your research domain?

Provisional timeline: Set out the proposed stages of the research project keeping in mind the duration of your dissertation is 16 weeks. The timeline should be as specific as possible depicted on a Gantt Chart. It should identify goals and milestones in the project and estimate the time required to complete each component of the proposed work.

Bibliography: Include a working bibliography, in a recognised academic format, of up-to-date scholarship in your subject area. This should consist of more than references cited in the proposal; it should also demonstrate the breadth of your previous research in the field and suggest the parameters of the project.

You will then prepare to structure your research proposal within the format of a written report based on specific given headings - details of which are given below. This exercise is designed to enable you to develop research techniques and demonstrate your knowledge and skills about your final dissertation topic. Therefore, this report should be supported throughout with references to appropriate literature and debate as well as some references related to your topic. Although preparatory activities will be undertaken throughout the module`s sessions, the final submitted reports must be written independently and be entirely your own work. They will reflect your understanding of design decisions and the possibilities for data analysis and (preliminary) findings. Your report must have the following sections (which will be marked according to the rubric provided)

Part ONE:

1. Individual Analysis for Group Formative Assessment (2 A4 pages). Part TWO:

1. Clarity of objectives, research question and focus of project.

2. Demonstration of systematic knowledge in the selected subject area and evidence of critical evaluation of relevant literature.

3. Methodology, Data findings and Discussion, planned analysis of data & reflections on design improvements.

When you have finished writing your proposal, ask yourself the following questions:

• Do you have a valid and appropriate research question for which research sources are available?

• Does your proposal show that your intended research is appropriately grounded, that is, does it show
how the work of others was influential in shaping or informing your research questions?

• Have you demonstrated that you are fully conversant with the ideas you are dealing with and that you grasp their methodological implications?

• Does your proposal clearly articulate the contribution your research results will make to knowledge or understanding in your research domain?