Friday, August 27, 2004

Proposal format - Part 3


To start off, each candidates are required to submit a list of at least 5 possible research titles for the preliminary deliberation and discussion. Why need so many? Usually a problem can be tackled from many angle, and be presented in many facets. To be safe, the Research Committee may need you to standby with alternative titles to approve just in case your proposed title does not qualify for a Master's level thesis.

To present a plan of study, it is important for your written proposals to be as clear and as concise as possible to explain about you intent. The proposal document is usually is not more than 10 pages and this is just long enough to explain your intention in writing. Anything longer than that may be just rubbish! It must include the following: Title, Problem area for Investigation, Context of Study (Related Fields/Previous Studies), Specific Research Questions and/or Hypotheses, Proposed Methodology and Plan of Action, Relevance to the Field and of course listing of Key Reference(s) List more than 10 in your proposal.

You must have some idea on the focused problem areas to be investigated for your research and to also indicate its significance.

Also to consider in the proposal is your methodology / plan of action for the research for the next 3 semesters.


Ask yourself, is the research you are about to undertake Novel, Feasible, Useful or Symmetrical?

When we say NOVEL, it means does it requires imagination; proving that it requires Literature Searching. FEASIBLE, consider whether, is the data available? Can your research design be pursued - i.e. do you have the opportunity? Can it be done in time? Have you the skills and knowledge needed or the time to acquire them. Money? Methodology? Is the risk of not finishing small enough to accept? USEFUL, a value judgment issue, but you'll be motivated to complete your research effort if you yourself believe in its usefulness yourself, because you might have to defend it some day, during your viva voce. SYMMETRICAL, What are the possible outcomes of your research? Prove/ disprove a theory? Conclusive / inconclusive in nature? And are both equally valuable? If not, is the less valuable outcome likely, and to a comparable extent?

PROBLEM AREA FOR INVESTIGATION. The need for an academic investigation usually arises from a recognized critical problem in society that warrants a satisfactory solution. Show the interrelationship between the problem situations and the would-be investigation activities in your proposal. Make sure to delimit the area in which you are working, and put it in context with the total problem areas, its neighboring research areas and perhaps even for methodology: if you need new skills, or are applying known methods in a new field.

A frequent criticism of most research proposal when first submitted is in some form, as 'this programme of work will keep three people busy for five years.' So don't let your ambitions become too grandiose.

CONTEXT OF STUDY (RELATED FIELDS/PREVIOUS STUDIES) Clarify the academic aim of the investigation. A description of the research to be undertaken, and the method to be used. Are the research methods and proposed work clearly described? Is there available the expertise that you can refer to, and what about the experience and compatibility between you and your supervisors on the topic. Put the context of your study with knowledge from related fields/or previous studies gathered from reading from books, journals, research papers, etc. by quoting it in your proposal.

A literature review is meant primarily to set the foundation for your study's hypothesis. It allows a reader to better understand the research problems in terms of historical background, theoretical framework, and current research development or trends. It is critically important that the literature review includes only the most relevant articles, (preferably of the last 10 years). On the Internet, use Keyword search via Educational Resource Index Center ( in the USA, or Allison Research Index in Art And Design (, or the British Library, from UK.

The literature review is meant to describe background work of other researcher in the area, to establish the 'state-of-the-art' prior to the author's research effort and to appraise critically previous work undertaken and put that work in perspective in relation to its importance.

Hypothesis : An assumption made by the researcher made at the begining of his proposal, still subject to verification or proof, as a conjecture that accounts for a set of facts and can be used as a basis for further investigations. If given a choice, always design measurable and testable hypothesis; it will greatly strengthen the research and reduce potential problems later.

Importance of the subject. How significant is the research problem to warrant a three semesters of study / investigation? Is it of national interest, or will it provide economic gains, a new syllabus, or will it benefit mankind?

Outline clearly all the assumptions underlying the research. What is your hypothesis statement on the issue to begin with?

METHODOLOGY needs to be considered at time of selecting the topic, not as an afterthought. It may well shape a topic, or make one impractical. Also, your objectives and your methods each influence, and may determine, the other. And in your choice of methodology, you have an opportunity to be creative, by devising new methods or of applying established ones in a novel context.

Assess, do the plan of work clearly reflects the aims? Can the research be done in time? Prepare a tentative timetable for attaining it, possibly using the Microsoft Project software.

How significant will the value of possible outcome of this research be? Who will be the potential benefactor from this study? How relevant will this new finding be to the present practice?

KEY REFERENCE(S), List More Than 10
Show your familiarity with the current literature on the topics.In your Bibliography, provide a list of key references. Less than 10 references will just indicate to the Research Committee that you are still not well-read yet on the subject area, or not yet competent to make a good academic decisions in your research.

The Proposal is not to be carved on the tablets of stone which cannot be changed !!! So long as it is good enough to convince the Research Committee that it is practical, it is a start. It can still be slightly modified later on in your study, but not too extensive to warrant a totally new proposal document.

In conclusion, you are to submit a 10 page Research Proposal report and prepare a Powerpoint presentation to the Research Committee that includes:

1. Title

2. Aims and Objectives

3. Background of the problem

5. Statement of problem

6. Hypothesis

4. Literature review

7. Methodology adopted

8. Limitation/Delimitation

9. Bibliography.

A full text of this article can be downloaded by all registered MA students from Documentation section, in the Student's Shared Folder, in the website.

Be on the look out for more episodes to come soon........ God willing! Good Luck!


At December 11, 2012 at 8:03 PM, Blogger kamal sabran said...

ulang baca, dah beribu kali :D

At December 11, 2012 at 8:04 PM, Blogger kamal sabran said...

ulang baca, dah beribu kali :D


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