HONOURS PROPOSAL SUBMISSION TEMPLATE
**PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE READ THROUGH ALL OF THE INFORMATION IN THIS TEMPLATE BEFORE BEGINNING YOUR PROPOSAL WRITE-UP**
SECTION B: Proposal Structure
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Introduction 2. Research Context: Background 3. The Research Problem 4. Aim of the Study 5. Research Objectives 6. Significance of the Study 7. Literature Review 8. Research Design and Methodology 8.1 Research Methodology 8.2 Research Philosophy 8.3 Sampling Strategy 8.4 Data Collection Instruments 8.5 Data Analysis 8.6 Pilot Study 9. Ethical Considerations 10. Proposed Timetable 11. Bibliography 12. Appendices Appendix A: Letter of Permission to Conduct the Study Appendix B: Draft Covering Letter Appendix C: Draft Questionnaire / Interview Schedule
Please note that this is not the background/history of the organisation, but rather the background to the problem/challenge that the organisation is faced with. The research background should provide the context within which the research problem is situated. In other words there should be a logical flow from the background into the problem statement. There should be consistency and re-iteration with regards to the variables that are being investigated
State the exact problems/challenges/opportunities/issues that the organisation is faced with and hence the need to research (this must be in line with your title).
Keep the following in mind when writing your research problem:
Research Aims and Objectives should:
It is important to establish and convey to the reader to whom this research would be beneficial to, for example the company; business associates; or members of a grouping; or a particular region?
Will it be academically important?
Will it contribute to knowledge?
The purpose of a literature review in a research proposal is, first, to attempt to understand the breadth and depth of existing literature on your chosen area of research. Secondly, it is to identify gaps in this literature – gaps that you will attempt to address in your report.
The literature review requires you to have done a library information search on the area you have chosen to research. You may also consult journals, newspapers and the internet for additional information pertaining to your research.
In this section the researcher must identify the research design that underpins the research and provide a rationale for the chosen approach. All research choices must be explained (using references) and motivated.
There are two approaches to research - qualitative and quantitative.
Remember: You are only required to indicate the research method that you have chosen for this study (qualitative or quantitative) and thereafter indicate the appropriate research design.
This section involves a discussion on the Research paradigms. Essentially there are two schools of thought about science and knowledge. These are positivism and phenomenology.
Provide a discussion on the chosen paradigm for the study.
For example, if you have chosen the qualitative research method for your study then you will select the phenomenological paradigm. Once you have chosen the appropriate paradigm you are then required to define the paradigm using appropriate theory and explain why you have chosen it for your study. (If you have chosen an alternate research paradigm, please ensure that you have adequately justified the selection).
**ALWAYS REMEMBER TO REFERENCE INFORMATION THAT IS NOT YOUR OWN!!!
The target population must be defined (Who does the population comprise of?).
Thereafter, a representative sample must be drawn from the population.
The sample size must be explicitly stated (ensure that you justify why the sample size was chosen)
There are two broad types of sampling – probability (quantitative) sampling and non-probability (qualitative) sampling.
You are required to provide a discussion on the different types of sampling and indicate which one you have chosen.
Ensure that the sampling technique that you have chosen is in line with the type of sampling you have chosen.
Refer to the information below on the different types of sampling and the corresponding sampling techniques:
Examples of probability sampling include the following:
Simple Random: Each population element has an equal chance of being selected into the sample. Sample drawn using random number table/ generator.
Examples of probability sampling include the following:
Remember: You are only required to discuss the kind of sampling and sampling techniques for the methodology that you have chosen.
For example: If you have chosen the qualitative research method then you will choose non-probability sampling and an appropriate non-probability sampling technique. You will then need to define and discuss the chosen sampling technique using relevant theory and then justify why you have chosen the specific technique.
The research instrument that will be used should be indicated and described. These would generally include a survey or interview schedule.
Thereafter, provide a discussion on how the selected instrument was developed and the structure (number of questions, the different sections and so on).
For every research objective there should be at least:
5 questions for a quantitative study (excluding the demographics)
This section must include a discussion on how data will be analysed.
For a quantitative study:
For a qualitative study:
Provide a discussion on the following aspects, citing relevant sources:
For each of the considerations discussed, you will need to specify exactly what measures will be taken to ensure that these are upheld.
For example, to ensure that participants give informed consent, you may draft informed consent forms advising participants of the nature and the scope of the study.
**THE SUGGESTED LENGTH FOR THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY SECTION IS 2-3 PAGES**
The following appendices MUST be attached to the proposal:
Note: Informed consent forms will need to be drafted in certain instances, for example, if the study focuses on a group of SME’s
DOCUMENT EDITING & FORMATTING
Abbreviations such as “e.g.”, “i.e.”, “&”, and “etc.” may not be used .They must be written in full, such as “for example”, “that is”, “and” and so on. An exception to this rule is the abbreviation: et al., which means “and others” when you are doing in-text references.
Proper use of tense is expected to be used properly throughout the document. Since the study has not yet been conducted, the research methodology section should be presented in the future tense. Essentially, a study is being proposed.
Get the assistance of a professional editor or have a colleague/friend/family member read through the document to find errors that are easily overlooked by the author. Sometimes spellchecker does not pick up words that are used incorrectly, because they are correctly spelt, e.g. fro instead of for. Ensure that there are no grammatical, semantic and spelling errors in the proposal.
A common stylistic trend when writing is to use long sentences.
These sentences often exceed 3 lines. They become cumbersome and the meaning of what is being presented is can sometimes be difficult to fathom. Excessive sentence length can lead to poor clarity. It is more desirable to break these long winded sentences up into shorter ones.
The document should flow from start to finish.
This can be achieved by presenting the information in a logical sequence that show the topic is being developed. Linking sentences between sections can be used to demonstrate how each section fits into the overall document plan.
Do not make use of informal and first person language. The proposal is an academic work and needs to be written formally. Do not use words like “we”, “I” and they.
It is important to number your pages correctly. The initial pages should be numbered in roman numerals. Page 1 begins at the introduction.
The standardization for page margins is 1.5 from the left and right of the page.
The required line spacing for the proposal is 1.5
Use either Arial or Times New Roman
Font size 12 must be used
Headings should be numbered in the following manner:
- Main headings should be in caps and bold.
- There are no periods after the last number used.
- Preliminary headings such as TABLE OF CONTENTS, ABSTRACT or ABBREVIATIONS are not numbered.
The research proposal is merely a structured plan for the actual report, as such; the submission should not exceed 8 - 10 typed pages (including bibliography and appendices).
When you have completed putting your proposal together and have adhered to the above guidelines, please submit your proposal
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