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Developing Research Proposals
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Developing Research Proposals



© 2012 | 160 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Writing a research proposal is one of the most important tasks facing academics, researchers and graduate students. Yet there is a good deal of misinformation and a great lack of guidance about what constitutes a good research proposal and what can be done to maximize one's chances of writing a successful research proposal.

Pam Denicolo and Lucinda Becker recognize the importance of developing an effective research proposal for gaining either a place on a research degree program or funding to support research projects and set out to explore the main factors that that proposal writers need to attend to in developing successful proposals of their own.

Developing Research Proposals will help readers to understand the context within which their proposal will be read, what the reviewers are looking for and will be influenced by, while also supporting the development of relevant skills through advice and practical activities.

This book:

  • Explores the nature and purpose of different kinds of proposals
  • Focuses on the actual research proposed
  • Discusses how best to carry out and structure the literature review
  • Examines the posing and phrasing of research questions and hypotheses
  • Looks at how methods and methodology should be handled in a proposal
  • Discusses the crucial issues of planning, strategy and timing in developing targeted proposals

The authors draw together the key elements in the process of preparing and submitting a proposal and concludes with advice on responding to the results, successful or not, and their relevance to future proposals.

 
Prologue
Serendipity  
Intended Readers  
Overview of the Rook  
The Task Before You  
 
What is a Research Proposal?
A Pervasive Task Defined  
A Celebration of Difference  
First Steps in Meeting the Needs of Your Readership  
Finding out about Research Degree Opportunities  
Finding out about Research Funding Opportunities  
General Preliminary Explorations  
Skills Inventory  
 
When Is a Research Proposal Required and Why?
Motivation  
Sources of Funding  
Gaining a Richer View of Funders' Requirements  
Gaining Financial Awards for Study  
Identifying Potential Supervisors/Advisors  
Securing a Place on a Higher Degree by Research Programme  
Sections Within a Proposal - What Funders or Research Degree Reviewers Are Looking for  
Main Features of Proposals  
 
What Are the Key Aspects of Proposal Preparation?
Pre-Preparation  
The Title, Abstract and Covering Letter  
The Body of the Proposal - Audience and Style  
Developing Your Proposal Draft  
Language Register, Voice and Verb Tense  
The Conceptual Framework  
Stages in the Production of Proposal - Advance Planning  
The Constraints of Time  
 
What Should Be Included in the Introduction, Rationale and Literature Review?
Orientating Your Reader to Your Purpose  
The Introduction  
The Rationale  
Preparing for the Literature Review  
The Literature Review Itself  
The Process of Searching the Literature  
Constructing Your Argument  
 
What Is the Significance of the Aims, Objectives, and Research Questions/Hypotheses?
Level of Specificity Required  
Clarification of Terms - Aims and Objectives  
Research Questions and Hypotheses  
Paradigms  
Why Paradigm Identification Is Important  
The Link between Aims/Objectives and Research Questions/Hypotheses  
 
What Should Be Included in the Methodology/Research Implementation Sections?
Consistency between Purpose and Procedures  
Clarification of 'Shorthand' Terms  
Methodology - Approach and Justification  
Consistency and Justification  
Research Using Positivist Approaches  
Presenting and Analysing Quantitative Results  
Research Using Interpretivist Approaches  
Presenting and Analysing Qualitative Results  
Using the Right Language  
Ethical Considerations  
Evaluation Plan  
 
What Financial Considerations Are Required?
The Ground Rules of Budgeting  
The Financial Demands of a Research Degree Project  
Financial Considerations for All Researchers  
Types and Styles of Budgets for Funding Applications  
Key Elements of the Budget: Personnel  
Key Elements of the Budget: Operating Costs  
The Budget after Submission of the Proposal  
 
What Planning and Organisation Details Are Required?
Establishing Goals and Deadlines  
Project Planning and Time Management  
Implementation Plans  
Research Governance  
People Management  
Schedules and Timelines  
 
Who Are the other Potential Contributors to and Referees for Your Project?
Building Professional Relationships  
Building on Overviews of Requirements  
Making Contacts and Seeking Help  
Developing Collaborations and Partnerships  
The Review Process  
What Reviewers Are Seeking from Proposals  
Reality Check - Grit Your Teeth!  
 
Where Does It End? Reactions, Reflections and Anticipations
After Submission  
Receiving Feedback from Reviewers  
Reasons for Rejection  
Responding to Feedback  
Back to the Beginning  
The Continuous Cycle of Proposal Writing  
Appendix 1 Funding Sources  
Appendix 2 Resources  
Glossary  
Index  

Supplements

Success in Research free tools

A collection of free tips, exercises and resources from all books in the Success in Research series

This is a sound introduction to proposal writing, especially for those unfamiliar with the process. It is clearly presented and written in largely jargon-free language that will appeal to the neophyte... The work is useful as an introduction to the proposal-writing process.

Maryam Nazari
Online Information Review


This book is essential reading for those writing research proposals for a PhD application as well as those writing proposals to funding bodies. It is intended for those who are writing proposals for the first time but also for those who may have written proposals before, but never succeeded in getting funding... For me, this book is perfectly pitched. It is simple, but not simplistic. It offers practical advice, but also interrogates your thinking about the actual research design...This book is an excellent addition to any newer researcher's bookshelf as well as for administrative staff and those in research offices who support academics writing proposals. You get a sense that the authors are true experts and genuinely want to support new and early academics in what is an increasingly competitive part of modern day academia.
Annika Coughlin
SRA News


Developing Research Proposals is a very accessible and authoritative guide, and part of Sage’s informative Success in Research Series... Overall, the authors have written a book providing a wealth of information and advice that would come in handy not only to those interested in maximizing their chances to get a research degree place or funding for project in a complex and demanding environment, but also to those interested in their personal development as researchers.
Andreea Moise
LSE Review of Books


essential reading for part time masters students undertaking research methods module

Dr Brian Nyatanga
Health, The University of Worcester
August 25, 2017

This textbook covers well the basic elements for tailoring and designing a professional research proposal. However, it should be combined with other textbooks as it is not extensive.
Strongly recommended.

Dr Bruno Schivinski
Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University
December 20, 2016

A very clear and step-by-step approach to writing research proposals.
Very useful when undertaking research for the first time. I would recommend it to any new researcher.

Miss Karine Mangion
Management and HR, Regent's University London
March 25, 2015

Proposals are so strange to students new to research. They cannot understand the need of justification but jump straight in to wanting to do things. This text will help understand the need to plan

Mr Martyn Jarvis
Faculty of Business and Society, Department of Law, Accounting and Finance, University of South Wales
March 9, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One


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