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The Research Proposal

The purpose of a research proposal is to present and justify the need to study a research problem and to present the practical ways in which the research should be conducted. All research proposals should address the following questions:

What do you plan to accomplish?
Why do you want to do it?
How are you going to do it?

Research proposals are written for a variety of reasons, including, budget requests for the research or certification requirements for research.

The main elements of a research proposal are:

  1. Introduction
  2. Statement of the problem
  3. Purpose of the study
  4. Review of the literature
  5. Questions / Hypotheses
  6. Methods and procedures
  7. Limitations
  8. Significance of the study
  9. References

Discover You Topic

Select a Research Topic

The topic you select should:

• Be of interest to you, so you stay motivated throughout the research.
• Be achievable given the resources and/or data available.
• Make a significant contribution to your area.

Review the Literature

Reading relevant literature will be important throughout your research.

Background reading will help establish the context of the research.

The literature review should include a current, credible materials published in your area.

Focus your Research

Progressing your research from a general concept to a specific query will:

Identify the general area for investigation.

Set clear objectives for the research.

Determine the approach to the research.

Resource Types

Primary Sources: Primary sources are original materials.

Secondary Sources: Secondary sources describe or analyse the primary sources.

Tertiary Sources: Tertiary sources are indexes and/or textual consolidations of primary and secondary sources.

Peer Review

Evaluation of a person's work or performance by a group of people in the same occupation, profession, or industry. -

Peer Review a global view - from Taylor & Francis.

The Literature Review

A literature review is a thorough and methodical study of existing research information on a specific topic.

The purpose is to:

• identify key information relevant to a topic

• assess the quality of existing research

• examine support for alternative theories or arguments

• evaluate research methods used in past research

Whether you are writing a thesis by research or by publication, you will need to explore previous and current literature.

Consult your Subject Librarian for help on starting your literature review.


►View Literature Review LibGuide

►View Systematic Review LibGuide

Tips for Evaluating Resources


• Is the information reliable and error-free?
• Is there an editor or someone who checks the information?


• What are the author’s qualifications for writing on this subject?


• What are the topics included in the work?


• Is the content of the work up-to-date?
• Is the publication date clearly labelled?
• Broken links are one measure of an out-of-date page


• Is the information presented with a minimum of bias?
• To what extent is the information trying to sway the opinion of the audience?

►View Evaluating Information LibGuide

Research Tools for Statistical Analysis


NVivo - supports qualitative and mixed methods research. Trial NVivo for 14 days.

The R Project for Statistical Computing - free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.

SPSS - Statistical Package for the Social Sciences.