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The research proposal is usually a separate paper a student or a scholar has to submit prior to conducting a decent study on the chosen problem. This is the paper where you should clearly state what kind of question you will be studying, why and how you will do it. Your intention is to persuade every reader, especially members of the committee, that you have a worthy idea and have what it takes to implement it.
The elements of the typical proposal are:
• Title page with the topic name, some of your personal details, and the info about your professor.
• Intro with the background, framework, and presentation of the issue that will be soon discussed.
• Lit review with the sources you have chosen to gather the data from.
• The methodology with the strategy of the research, and key milestones of the study.
• Discussion with the result analysis and limitations of the project.
• Limitations of the proposed research.
Your first task while preparing a research proposal is to choose the topic you will work on. Look for the ideas in the books relevant to your subject. When you know approximately what it is going to be, read more sources and narrow the topic down with time. The more narrowed your topic will be – the better it will be for the research. Consult your supervisor regarding the topic choice in order to pick something decent.
While reading relevant sources, write down the ideas and details that seem interesting. This will help you build a map of the sources you have read, and you will have a clear picture of the way your lit review goes.
The next thing you need to do is to define the topic you will work with. Do not aim to find something completely new. Just look through previous studies and try to find gaps, inconsistencies, or the parts you find illogical. This way you will have a good basis to work with and enough sources to make the research proposal great. Brainstorm the question or problem statement that would suit the topic you like. When you think you have got it, look through these questions to make sure you have made the right decision.
• Is the topic interesting?
• Is there is any practical value of studying the issue?
• Even with the limitations, would you be able to work on the issue properly and get realistic results?
• Does the question or the problem sound feasible to research?
Your question has to address a particular field, and the more narrowed it is – the easier it will be for you to work on the project. Remember that you have a lot of people around that can help you make a final decision or even find the appropriate question. You can contact your peers and let them take a look at the ideas you have for now. They can spot something worthy or suggest you to change certain details.
Keep in mind that you can torture your supervisor with questions too. However, it is better to ask everything at once. If you try emailing one or two questions a day, the supervisor is more likely to be irritated, and will not have any desire to help you in your despair. Think of all the questions you want to ask, create a list, and use it on the personal meeting with a supervisor. If you struggle with the question choice, he will not suggest you the exact topic as this is your job to try and find one, but can help narrow down the one you already have, and help to choose the best one from the list with ideas.
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