Elements of the Research Proposal: Part 4

Elements of the Research Proposal: Part 4

In this week’s article, we continue our series on the preparation of a thought invoking and high quality research proposal. Over the past few weeks, we at Thesis Associates have provided great insight into key elements inclusive of the introduction, background and research proposition as well as one of the most crucial components, the literature review. This article focuses on another fundamental aspect of the research proposal, the methodology. Our previous example of a project on construction delays is applicable for this piece as well.

  1. Methodology

This section describes exactly how you are intending to carry out your research. Did your prior research yield a similar study whose methodology you propose to adapt and enhance? One of the first aspects to evaluate in the methodology deals with the selection of a sample relevant to your study.

For a project on construction delays, your main target audience should be persons that are experienced in this facet and are major players in the industry. These include Contractors, Consultants and Clients. Next you should decide on how you are proposing to target your chosen audience. If you have previously worked with persons in the specified roles, you may decide to utilize their assistance in selecting your sample. One thing that we have found extremely helpful is approaching your local Professional Engineering Board; these boards tend to maintain records of engineering firms as well as local engineers who can assist. They are also extremely helpful in passing along questionnaires, if this is your chosen method of data collection.

Once the source of your sampling is decided upon, it is critical that you take several other factors into consideration. This comprises elements such as the number of years’ experience in the industry or using our article example, experience with specific projects that have been subjected to construction delays. It is imperative that the right sample be selected for carrying out the practical part of your research undertaking. This aids in the validity and overall veracity of your data and by extension thesis.

The next aspect that should be focused on is your research design. The research design describes the method you propose to use for data sampling. Are questionnaires to be implemented or does your research intent entail the undertaking of experimental work. For a proposal on construction delays, the best suited research design is that of utilizing questionnaires to gather your required data. It is also advisable in your research design to describe the layout of your questionnaire. You can also include a first draft of the questionnaire design for critique by your lecturer. As part of your research design a statement should be included on funding requirements and expected resources to be engaged.

The final part of the methodology is the data collection process. How are you going to collect your required data? Are you going to make use of the avenues described previously or are you going to implement the use of a site such as Survey Monkey? In the data collection section you should also define the variables to be evaluated.

Once you have encapsulated the aforementioned tips into your methodology you will be well on your way to finalizing your research proposal. In our next article, Thesis Associates will delve into the final aspects of the research proposal including data analysis, time table, conclusion and references. With our series of articles we aim to continue encourage you to produce outputs that garner high acclaim and further aid you in your professional development!

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