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Elements of the Research Proposal: Pt 2

In our previous article, we detailed the key elements of the research proposal expanding on the first four components that should be included in your proposal. These included the Introduction, Background, Research Aim and Objectives. In this article, we will continue to outline other fundamental aspects to ensure that your proposal is of the highest standard and receives great accolades from your lecturers. The example of a topic on construction delays is again utilized in order to demonstrate how a subject should be applied to the relevant sections.

  1. Scope

The scope of your undertaking clearly outlines the boundaries of your study. It should detail exactly what your study entails as well as the associated limitations. Utilizing our article theme example, our scope may read as “an extensive literature review on the causes of delay in construction and questionnaires are to be done as a means of gathering information from different parties in the construction industry.” Limitations to a study of this nature may include time constraints in the receipt of data, insufficient representative sample size as well as response rate of the questionnaire.

  1. Proposition or Hypothesis

Depending on the nature of your study you may either be required to put forth a proposition statement detailing reasoning for your investigation or a hypothesis, whereby a specific theory is to be tested through your research undertaking.

An example of a proposition statement for a proposal on construction delays may be “the aim of this study is to investigate whether the reasons for construction delays may be of varying severity and importance to key stakeholders in the construction industry.”

Conversely you may choose to test a hypothesis for your study, an example of which can be, “contractual related issues are the main causes of construction delays.” Your research will be aimed at either proving or dispelling your hypothesis.

  1. Literature Review

The literature review is one of the most significant sections of your research proposal. It reviews all published data in relation to your study objectives. Many key elements need to be addressed within the literature review; a strong literature review clearly showcases your research and critique capabilities.

You should pay keen attention to your University’s style manual when referencing and citing not only in your literature review but in your entire proposal document. Each paragraph of your literature review should contain at least one citation that is in exact accordance with the required style. Most of your thesis’ references needs to ideally be contained in the literature review as this section requires the greatest level of research effort.

The literature review should also relate to your hypothesis or proposition as well as your methodology and data analysis chapters. It should aim to summarize the relationship between your study and other relevant studies that have been undertaken. It is imperative to go through journal articles which detail similar studies previously embarked upon. Be sure to find out from your University those sites which you as the student will have direct access to. These will aid greatly in this portion of your proposal.

We will continue to expand on the elements of the research proposal in our upcoming article “Elements of the Research Proposal: Part 3.” As mentioned previously the literature review is one of the most important areas of your proposal, therefore we will commence our next article with further information on the preparation of the literature review. Thesis Associates aims to continue helping you to build success and confidence on the way to attaining your Master’s degree!

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