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2-FE 657 - Research Methods II.ppt

  1. FE 657- Research Methodology and Seminar in Financial Economics Part II The Research Process and Preparing the Research Proposal
  2. Contents of the lecture 1. Introduction 2. The Research Process -Identification of a Research Topic -Defining the research problem and objectives -Development of working hypothesis -The literature review, etc. 3. The research proposal
  3. Introduction  Previous discussions provided general perspectives and understanding about research.  Definition of research,  Its role and purpose in the quest for knowledge generation and understanding,  The scientific method and ways of reasoning,  Ethical considerations, etc.  But, they did not provide guidance on how to do the research.  Some of the critical elements of the research process are discussed in this part.
  4. The research process  Research can be broken down into a series of steps that are interrelated and are sometimes revisited in an iterative fashion.  In other words, the research task is usually a sequential process involving several clearly defined steps.  i.e., from the formulation of a general idea to actual data collection, and interpretation of the results and conclusions.
  5. The research process  There are some conventionally acceptable standards that should be achieved in order to gain credibility.  Some researchers portray the steps in a linear form while others put them in a cyclical form.
  6. The research process  The conventional steps involved in the research process are:  Selecting a research topic  formulating the research problem with focus on the main research questions  Literature survey  Preparing the research design and determining the sample design and sample size  Collecting and analyzing the data  Generalizations and interpretations of results  Preparing the report and presentation of the results
  7. The research process  In short: once a research idea is identified the research process involves:  Review of literature– new research is based on a huge legacy of previous work.  Understanding the nature of data –a good understanding of the nature of data is required in order to be able to collect and analyze it.
  8. The research process  Sampling – it is rarely possible to include every body or everything in your research.  How you select the sample is crucial to the credibility of your research.  Collecting data– a wide choice of collection methods are available from which you can choose the methods which are appropriate for particular types of investigation.
  9. The research process  Analyzing data– what you do with the data after you have collected it depends on the analytical methods you adopt.  Writing up – and presenting your research and findings in a way that convinces others.  Ethics–When doing research you need to take into account all ethical issues to make sure that you do no harm.
  10. Identification of a Research Topic  The first step in the research process is to find an idea for a research study.  i.e. formulating and clarifying the research topic is the starting point of your research project  Meaning deciding on the topic of the research and finding a question which may be,  an unresolved controversy, or  Simply a gap in knowledge within the chosen subject.
  11. Identification of a Research Topic  This is probably the most difficult, and yet the most important, part of your research project.  Without being clear about what you are going to research it is difficult to plan how you are going to research it.  Once you have done this you will need to turn the idea into research questions and objectives and to write the research proposal for your project
  12. Identification of a Research Topic  What is a research problem?  A research problem refers to any difficulty, which a researcher experiences in the context of either a theoretical or practical situation and wants to obtain a solution for.  Formulating and clarifying the problem is time consuming .  But, without spending time on this stage you are far less likely to achieve a successful project.
  13. Identification of a Research Topic  Identifying a research topic typically involves two steps:  First, selecting a general topic area,  The general topic area is simply the starting point that eventually will evolve into a very specific research question.  You need to find an interest in a broad subject area (problem area).
  14. Identification of a Research Topic  Second, reviewing the literature in that general area to find a specific research questions.  This process will enable you to:  Narrow the idea to a plausible topic.  Question the topic from several points of view, and  Define a rationale for your project.  As you read through the research literature,  you will become familiar with the current state of knowledge and can determine what questions are still unanswered.
  15. Identification of a Research Topic  Generally, there are three types of research titles:  Indicative title:  they state the subject of the research rather than the expected outcomes.  Example: The role of agricultural credit in alleviating poverty in a low-potential areas of Ethiopia.
  16. Identification of a Research Topic  Hanging titles have two parts: a general first part followed by a more specific second part.  Example: ‘Alleviation of poverty in low-potential areas of Ethiopia: the impact of agricultural credit’.  Question-type titles are used less commonly than indicative and hanging titles.  Example: ‘Does agricultural credit alleviate poverty in low-potential areas of Ethiopia?’
  17. Identification of a Research Topic Where do research topics come from?
  18. Identification of a Research Topic  There is no set formula for the identification of a topic of research.  In principle a topic must spring from the researcher’s mind like a plant springs from its own seed  i.e. it should be generated by the researcher
  19. Identification of a Research Topic  Ideas for a research topic can come from a variety of sources including everyday experiences, books, journal articles, or class work.  The best way to identify a topic is to draw up a shortlist of possible topics that have emerged from your reading or from your own experience that look potentially interesting.
  20. Identification of a Research Topic  A general area of interest or aspect of a subject matter (agriculture, industry, social sector, etc.) may have to be identified at first.  The best guide is to conduct research on something that interest you.  (unemployment, pollution, poverty, etc.)
  21. Identification of a Research Topic A) Generated by the researcher.  Own professional experience is the most important source of a research problem.  choose a topic in which if possible, already have some academic knowledge.  For instance, some researchers are directly engaged in program implementation and come up with a topic based on what they see is happening.  attending conferences, seminars, and listening to professional speakers, etc. are all helpful in identifying research problems.
  22. Identification of a Research Topic B) Examining the literature  Examining the theoretical or empirical literature in your specific field.  Published articles are excellent sources of ideas. They help to…  Explore findings discovered in previous research.  Identify suggestions an author gives for further research at the end of an article.  Extend an existing explanation or theory to a new topic or setting.  Challenge findings or attempt to refute a relationship.
  23. Identification of a Research Topic C) Provided by a client  Requests For Proposals (RFPs) are published by government agencies, NGOs and some companies.  They describes the problem that needs to be addressed,  the contexts in which it operates,  the approach they would like you to take, and  the amount they would be willing to pay for such research - they are virtually handing the researcher an idea.
  24. Identification of a Research Topic  But, if the topic is something in which you are not interested you will have to weigh the advantage against the disadvantage of a potential lack of personal motivation. d) Technological and Social Changes  New developments bring forth new development challenges for research. E) Looking at Past Project Titles  Scanning your university’s list of past project titles for anything that captures your imagination
  25. Identification of a Research Topic  F) Scanning the Media  Keeping up to date with items in the news can be a rich source of ideas.  The stories which occur everyday in the newspapers  G) Discussion and Brainstorming  Colleagues, friends, practitioners and university tutors are all good sources of possible project ideas.
  26. Identification of a Research Topic  The most fundamental rule of good research is to investigate questions that sincerely interest you.  i.e. research which a researcher honestly enjoys even if he/she encounters problems frustrating or discouraging.  The research process can be a long term, messy and demanding enterprise.
  27. Identification of a Research Topic  Without motivation, it is very easy for a researcher to get tired or bored and give up before the research is completed.  Subject which is overdone, should be avoided by the average researcher since it will be difficult to throw any new light in such cases for the average researcher.
  28. Identification of a Research Topic  So, choose a worthwhile issue which is  New  Catchy  Focused  Non-obvious conclusion  You can get the data  Doable
  29. Identification of a Research Topic  Remember: Keep Track of References  Any literature cited must be listed properly in a References section.  Record the full references as you go!  Author, title, journal name, volume and date, page numbers, book publisher & location, date  Always record page numbers.  Give page numbers for all information, not just quotations.
  30. Attributes of a good research topic  Your research topic must be something you are capable of undertaking it and one that excites your imagination.  Capability implies that:  you feel comfortable that you can develop, the skills that will be required to do the research.
  31. Attributes of a good research topic  Capability also means you must be reasonably certain of gaining access to any data you might need to collect.  Many people start with ideas where access to data will prove difficult.  It is also important that the issues within the research are capable of being linked to theory.  As a consequence you will need to have a knowledge of the literature and to undertake further reading as part of defining your research questions and objectives.
  32. Attributes of a good research topic  Your ability to find the financial and time resources to undertake research on the topic will also affect your capability.  Some topics are unlikely to be possible to complete in the time allowed by your course of study.  For example: topics that are likely to require you to travel widely or need expensive equipment should be disregarded unless financial resources permit.
  33. Attributes of a good research topic  Another attribute of a good topic is having clearly defined research questions and objectives.  These will enable you to assess the extent to which your research is likely to provide fresh insights into the topic.  Finally, it is important to consider your career goals.  If you wish to become an expert in a particular subject area or industry sector, it is sensible to use the opportunity to develop this expertise.
  34. Attributes of a good research topic: summary checklist  Capability: is it feasible?  ✔Is the topic something with which you are really fascinated?  ✔Do you have, or can you develop within the project time frame, the necessary research skills to undertake the topic?  ✔Is the research topic achievable within the available time?  ✔Will the project still be current when you finish your project?  ✔Is the research topic achievable within the financial resources that are likely to be available?  ✔Are you reasonably certain of being able to gain access to data you are likely to require for this topic?
  35. Attributes of a good research topic: summary checklist  Appropriateness: is it worthwhile? ✔Does the topic fit the specifications and meet the standards set by the examining institution? ✔Does your research topic contain issues that have a clear link to theory? ✔Are you able to state your research question(s) and objectives clearly? ✔Will your proposed research be able to provide fresh insights into this topic? ✔Does the research topic match your career goals?
  36. Turning research ideas into research questions  The problem of the research, which had been stated in general terms, is now made specific through Research Questions.  A research question is a question that provides an explicit statement of what it is the researcher wants to know about.  Research questions force you to consider the issue of what it is you want to find out about precisely and rigorously.
  37. Turning research ideas into research questions  Developing research questions is a matter of narrowing down and focusing more precisely on what it is that you want to know about.  If you do not specify clear research questions,  there is a great risk that your research will be unfocused,  that you will be unsure about what your research is about, and  unsure about what data you are collecting data for, etc.
  38. Turning research ideas into research questions  So, research questions will:  guide your literature search;  guide your decisions about the kind of research design to employ;  guide your decisions about what data to collect and from whom;  guide your analysis of your data;  stop you from going off in unnecessary directions; and  provide your readers with a clearer sense of what your research is about
  39. Defining the research problem and objectives Statement of the Problem  The next step is to define the research problem more precisely.  You must know exactly what the problem is before you begin work on it.  Problem definition (problem statement) is a clear and precise statement of the question or issue to be investigated.
  40. Defining the research problem and objectives Problem statement is a clear statement about an area of concern, a condition to be improved upon, a difficulty to be eliminated, or a troubling question that exists in scholarly literature, in theory, or within existing practice.  Defining a problem involves the task of laying down the boundaries within which a researcher shall study the problem.
  41. Defining the research problem and objectives  Defining a research problem is more important than its solution.  A problem clearly defined is a problem half solved.  Defining the problem clearly will help to find answers to questions like:  What data are to be collected?  What characteristics of data are relevant and need to be studied  What relations are to be explored  What techniques are to be used for the purpose.
  42. Defining the research problem and objectives  Therefore, in the definition of the problem you are required:  To describe the background of the study,  Its theoretical basis and the underlying assumption,  The specific and workable questions, and  An explanation of why it is important or significant, and what advantage (i.e. to society or to other researchers) the research may deliver.
  43. Defining the research problem and objectives  The problem statement should make a convincing argument that there is insufficient knowledge available to explain the problem.  The problem definition should also provide a brief overview of the literature and research done in the field related to the problem and of the gaps that the proposed research intends to fill.
  44. Defining the research problem and objectives  The problem statement may focus on:  Identifying a Gap: A research gap is an area where no or little research has been carried out.  Raising a question: The research problem is defined by asking a question to which the answer is unknown, and which you will explore in your research.
  45. Defining the research problem and objectives  Continuing a previously developed line of enquiry. Building on work already done, but taking it further (by using a new sample, extending the area studied, taking more factors into consideration, taking fewer factors into consideration, etc.).  or  Counter-claiming: here a conflicting claim, theory or method is put forward.
  46. The research objectives Objectives of the study:  This is the step of rephrasing the problem into operational or analytical terms, i.e. to put the problem in as specific terms as possible.  Objectives are generally taken as evidence of the researcher’s clear sense of purpose and direction.
  47. The research objectives  The general objective provides a short statement of the specific goals pursued by the research.  Using the general focus of your research question you will develop a set of research objectives.  The specific objectives are operational and indicate the type of knowledge to be produced, audiences to be reached, etc.
  48. The research objectives  The specific objectives are the objectives against which the success of the whole research will be judged.  in this section the specific activities to be performed are listed.
  49. The research objectives  The objectives must be SMART:  Specific. What precisely do you hope to achieve from undertaking the research?  Measurable. What indicators will you use to determine whether you have achieved your objectives?  Achievable. Are the targets you have set for yourself achievable given all the possible constraints?  Realistic. will you have the energy to complete the research on time?  Timely. Will you have time to accomplish all your objectives in the time frame you have set
  50. The Literature Review  Scientific research is a collective effort of many researchers who share their results.  So, a literature review is based on the assumption that knowledge accumulates and that we learn from and build on what others have done.  Hence, the researcher should undertake an extensive survey of the literature related to the problem.
  51. The Literature Review  You should remember that others have also conducted research that is related to the topic.  i.e. current studies build on previous studies.  By fully acknowledging the research of others you will avoid charges of plagiarism and the associated penalties.  Reviewing the literature critically will provide the foundation on which your research is built.
  52. The Literature Review  The purpose of the literature survey is:  to provide the researcher with an understanding of the literature as it relates to the current project;  to enable the researcher to learn from the efforts of others;  to help refine further the research question(s) and objectives;  to highlight research possibilities that have been overlooked in research to date;
  53. The Literature Review  to summarize the results of previous research and lay the foundation of your own research;  to help you to avoid simply repeating work that has been done already;  to provide insight into research approaches, strategies and techniques that may be appropriate to your own research question(s) and objectives.
  54. The Literature Review  The purpose is not to provide a summary of everything that has been written on your research topic.  But to review the most relevant and significant research on your topic.  You will need to demonstrate that you are familiar with what is already known about your research topic.
  55. The Literature Review  Where to find the Research Literature  The literature sources can be divided into three categories: primary (published and unpublished), secondary, and tertiary.  Primary sources for instance, include:  published sources such as reports and government publications such as planning documents – unpublished sources such as letters, memos and committee minutes, proceedings, etc.
  56. The Literature Review  Secondary literature sources such as books and journals.  They are easier to locate than primary literature as they are better covered by the tertiary literature.  Tertiary literature sources, are designed either to help to locate primary and secondary literature or to introduce a topic - ‘search tools’  They include indexes and abstracts as well as encyclopedias and bibliographies.
  57. The Literature Review  In general, the following are the main sources:  Computer: online and internet based sources-Google, Web Pages, JSTOR, Econlit, etc.  Books and Bibliographic indexes,  Dissertations and theses,  Government documents,  Policy reports and presented papers,  conference proceedings, magazines, etc.  Usually one source leads to the next.
  58. The available literature sources
  59. Types of Literature Reviews  1. Context reviews is a background review and places a specific project in the big picture.  It introduces the rest of a research and establishes the significance and relevance of a research question.  The review can summarize how the current research continues a developing line of thought, or it can point to a question or unresolved conflict.
  60. Types of Literature Reviews  2. Historical review traces the development of an issue over time.  It traces the development of an idea or shows how a particular issue or theory has evolved over time.  3. Theoretical reviews compare how different theories address an issue.  It present different theories and compare them for the soundness of their assumptions, logical consistency, and scope of explanation.
  61. Types of Literature Reviews  4. Methodological reviews point out how methodology varies by study.  In it researcher evaluates the methodological strength of past studies.  It describes conflicting results and shows how different research designs, samples, measures, etc., account for different results.
  62. Structuring the review  The precise structure of the critical review is usually your choice.  Three common structures are:  a single chapter;  a series of chapters;  throughout the project report as you tackle various issues.
  63. Structuring the review  Summarize every article briefly; a sentence or two will do  Interpret the article in light of its relevance to your own study  Critique it, if necessary  Show the stock of knowledge building up over the course of the literature and show how your research topic adds to this stock of knowledge
  64. Structuring the review  Several articles can be summarized in one mention  Example: There have been numerous studies attempting to measure the return to education (see Becker (1963); Mincer (1968); Angrist and Krueger (1988); Bound et al. (1991)).”  How long should the literature review be?  a useful guide is that your review is likely to be in the region of 25–30% of your overall word count.
  65. So far in this part we have discussed …  The research process- research is broken down into a series of steps.  Steps involved in the research process Identification of a Research Topic The research questions Attributes of a good research topic  Capabilities  Appropriateness- worthwhile Defining the research problem and setting objectives The literature review
  66. Development of working hypothesis  After an extensive survey of the literature, researchers should state in clear terms the working hypotheses.  A hypothesis is a statement, which predicts the relationship between two or more variables.  It provides an anticipation of what will be found out  It is a link between theory and the investigation.  Formulating hypothesis is particularly useful for causal relationships.
  67. Characteristics of useable hypotheses  There are some important criteria for judging the goodness of a hypothesis.  The hypothesis must be conceptually clear.  This involves two things  the concept should be clearly defined  the hypothesis should be commonly accepted ones. i.e. the hypothesis should be stated in simple terms.  The hypothesis must be specific.  assure that research is practicable and significance.
  68. Characteristics of useable hypotheses  The hypothesis should be related to available techniques.  The hypothesis should be related to a body of theory.  It should poses theoretical relevance.  The hypothesis should be testable.  hypothesis should be formulated in such a way that it is possible to verify it.
  69. Planning and Preparing the Research Design  Once the research problem has been formulated in clear terms a research design is prepared.  The research design is a plan that specifies the sources and types of information relevant to the research question.  It is the plan or strategy of investigation within which research is conducted.  It constitutes the blue print for the collection, measurement, and analysis of data.
  70. Planning and Preparing the Research Design  The selection of an appropriate research design involves factors like,  the research objective,  the costs involved in conducting the research,  the availability of data sources.  The design that gives the smallest experimental error is the best design.
  71. Planning and Preparing the Research Design  The following elements are critical when making design decisions  What is the study about (purpose of the study)  Why is the study being made (reasons for undertaking the study)  What type of data is required (data required)  Where can the required data be found (source of data)  What will be the sampling design  What techniques of data collection will be used  How will the data be analyzed (method of data analysis)  In what style will the report be prepared (method of reporting)
  72. Selecting the Sample  How big should a sample be?  Difficult question  The bigger the sample size the greater will be its precision.  But for practical reasons, it is not feasible to select large samples.  A sample can be selected in two ways from a population  through probability sampling, or  through non-probability sampling.
  73. Selecting the Sample  With probability samples each element has a known probability of being included in the sample.  Probability samples are those samples based on  Simple random sampling  Systematic sampling  Stratified sampling  Cluster sampling
  74. Selecting the Sample  But, non-probability samples do not allow the researcher to determine this probability.  Non-probability samples are those based on  Convenience sampling  Judgment sampling  Quota sampling  Several of the methods of sampling procedures may be used in combination.
  75. Execution of the Project  Execution involves how the survey is conducted, by means of structured questionnaire or otherwise, etc.  The data may either be primary or secondary.  Several ways of collecting the data exist.  They may differ in terms of  money costs  time costs and  other resources
  76. Data Collection and Analysis  There are several research techniques and a number of data collection methods as well. For instance ..  in the survey method-the data are collected by asking the respondents to fill out a questionnaire.  in the observation technique- the respondents are just observed without their direct participation in the research.  Whatever the method used to collect the data, it is very important that the data are collected without any errors.
  77. Data Collection and Analysis  After the data have been collected the researcher turns to the task of analyzing them.  The analysis may involve a number of closely related operations such as:  Editing of the raw data  Summarizing and tabulation of the data  Drawing statistical inferences, etc.
  78. Interpretation, Generalizations and Preparation of the Report  Explaining and discussing of research results in line with the theoretical framework is part of the interpretation exercise.  The research process is completed only when the results are shared with the scientific community.  For this task the researcher has to prepare the report of what has been done by him.  Writing the report must be done with great care.
  79. Preparing the research proposal  Every activity needs thorough planning.  When you have thought out a research problem, you must plan how the research will be carried out.  This plan, which is like the building plan or blueprint to a builder, is called Research Proposal.  The research proposal is the main vehicle for the planning of your research.  The research proposals constitute the evidence of the research plan.
  80. Preparing the research proposal  The proposal provides a basis for the evaluation of the work and demonstrates clearly that the researcher know what he/she wants to do.  the proposal is the means through which evaluators determine the intent of the research and its feasibility.  It assures that the parties understand the project’s purpose and the proposed method of investigation.  It provides an inventory of what must be done and which materials have to be collected
  81. The purposes of he research proposal  1. It has a planning function  It describes what will be done, how it will be done and in what time-frame.  2. Organizing your ideas  The proposal will help you to organize your ideas into a coherent statement of your research intent.  Your reader will be looking for this-objectives.  It helps you to identify flaws or inadequacies.
  82. The purposes of he research proposal 3. Convincing your audience  It serves as a basis for determining the feasibility of the project and provides a systematic plan of procedure for the researcher to follow.  the proposal is used as the basis for vetting the quality of the proposed research.  However coherent and exciting your ideas, the research plan is useless, if the proposal reveals that what you are planning to do is simply not possible.
  83. The purposes of he research proposal 4. Contracting with your ‘client’  If you were asked to carry out a research project for a commercial client you need to submit a clear proposal for approval.  Through the proposal you will specify what will be delivered and how this will be achieved and would serve as a contract.
  84. The purposes of he research proposal  5. Educational function.  the research proposal can act as an end-product in its own right rather than serve as a prelude to an empirical research project.  Research proposals provide a useful learning exercise for students.  So, a research proposal is a pre requisite in the research process.
  85. Contents of a research proposal  There are various formats for the research proposal and it varies from Institution to Institution.  However, most formats include the following:  Introduction  Background  Statement of the problem  Purpose of the study  Significance of the study (Implications and Application)  Operational definition of terms  Assumptions of the study  Scope and limitations of the study
  86. Contents of a research proposal  Theoretical Framework of the Study  Review of the Related Literature  Literature Review  Appraisal/Summary of Literature review.  Research Questions and Hypothesis
  87. Contents of a research proposal  Research Methodology  Research Design  Subjects (Population and sample; sampling Technique)  Instruments (construction and administration)  Method of data analysis  Statistical of Procedure to be used  Budget and Time Schedule  References
  88. Contents of a research proposal I. Introductory section – this part should include the following information  a) The title – the title should closely mirror the content of your proposal.  the title should be long enough to be explicit but not too long so that it is tedious.  It should contain the key words – the important words that indicate the subject.
  89. Contents of a research proposal b) Statement of the Problem  is a clear and precise statement of the question or issue that is to be investigated.  There is need to give convincing reasons for deciding to work in this area.  You should advance adequate reasons for choosing the topic.  i.e. you should tell the reader why you feel the research is worth the effort.  Example: out of the shortcomings of previous work, to further knowledge in the area, etc.
  90. Contents of a research proposal  You will be expected to show a clear link between the previous work that has been done in your field of research and the content of your proposal.  This is the largest section of the proposal.  It introduces the research by giving the background, presenting the research problem and indicating how and why this problem will be “solved.”
  91. Contents of a research proposal c) Objectives of the study:  The objectives of a particular research project delineate the intentions of the researchers and the nature and purpose of the investigations.  The objectives list down the specific activities to be performed.  It is rather brief.
  92. Contents of a research proposal  Be careful to ensure that your objectives are precisely written and will lead to observable outcomes  The range of possible objectives can be listed as:  to describe  to explain and evaluate  to compare  to correlate  to act, intervene and change……..
  93. Contents of a research proposal  d) Significance of the Study – this section justifies the need for the study.  It describes the type of knowledge expected to be obtained and the intended purpose of its application.  You should be able to justify the importance of your study in terms of its implications or possible applications.  Does your study increase knowledge, solve problems and answer some thorny questions in the field?
  94. Contents of a research proposal  e) Scope and limitations of the study:  The research is often confronted with a number of constraints during the course of an investigation.  These are often beyond his/her control.  They may place restrictions on the conclusions of the work or their applications in other situations.  Ranging from physical, human, financial, administrative policies to invalidated data gathering instruments, time and sampling technique, etc.
  95. Contents of a research proposal  These limitations should be clearly and concisely stated as they affect your study- remedies  boundaries of the study should be made clear with reference to  the areas to which the conclusions will be confined  the sampling procedures, the techniques of data collection and analysis, etc.
  96. Contents of a research proposal f) Review of the Literature:  Both conceptual and empirical literature need to be reviewed.  The researcher has to make it clear that his problem has roots in the existing literature but it needs further research and exploration.  The review of literature is a valuable guide to defining the problem, recognizing its significance, suggesting promising data-gathering devices, appropriate study design and sources of data.
  97. Contents of a research proposal g) Definition of terms and concepts:  Technical terms or words and phrases need to be defined operationally. h) Basic assumptions - statements of ideas that are accepted as true.  They serve as the foundation upon which the research study is based.
  98. Contents of a research proposal II) Methodology section  This will be the longest sections of the proposal.  The methodology will explain how each specific objective will be achieved.  It will also justify your choice of method in the light of those objectives.
  99. Contents of a research proposal  It shows how you are going to look for answers to the research questions (including materials and methods to be used).  It will detail precisely how you intend to go about achieving your research objectives.  It must include enough details to demonstrate that you are competent and the project is feasible.  The proposed methods must be appropriate to the type of research.
  100. Contents of a research proposal Procedures for collecting data – the details about the sampling procedures and the data collecting tools are described. (i) Sampling – how the samples would be selected from a large population need to be described.
  101. Contents of a research proposal  (ii) Tools (instruments) – which data gathering tools such as observations, interviews, questionnaires, etc. will be used.  Will your research be based, for example, on a questionnaire, interviews, examination of secondary data or use a combination of data collection techniques?  The proposal should explain the reasons for selecting a particular tool or tools for collecting the data.
  102. Contents of a research proposal  Data Sources  Involves primary and secondary data sources  Primary data is collected directly from respondents while secondary data is collected from documented data sources.  Sampling Techniques  Describe the population from which the sample will be drawn  State the sample size and sample selection methods
  103. Contents of a research proposal  Data Collection Methods  Give an outline of how research data will be collected and administered  The data collection instruments is/are identified, defined and its/their relevance discussed.  Sometimes pre testing of the instruments may be necessary.
  104. Contents of a research proposal  In short, you should demonstrate to your reader that you have thought carefully about all the issues regarding your method and their relationship to your research objectives.  So, be sure to mention:  Who your interview subjects are  How you will interview them (if primary data)  How the data were collected (if secondary data)  You also need to include a statement about how you are going to adhere to any ethical guidelines.
  105. Contents of a research proposal Procedures for treating data (method of analysis)  In this section, the researcher describes how he/she organizes, analyses and interpret the data.  The details of the statistical techniques and the rationale for using such techniques should be described in the research proposal.
  106. Contents of a research proposal  Data analysis  Justify data analysis tools and methods you intend to use  Explain how you intend to analyze and interpret your results  The methods of data analysis chosen depends on the type of research  The methods can range from simple descriptive analyses to complex multivariate analysis.
  107. Contents of a research proposal  It is necessary for you to demonstrate that you have either the necessary skills to perform the analysis or can learn the skills in an appropriate time, or you have access to help.  (i) Statistical inference models  Regression analysis is a good analytical tool, providing a method to test various hypotheses relating to the classical economic theory.  A range of regression models.
  108. Contents of a research proposal Mathematical programming models  An example of a mathematical programming model is the linear programming model.  There are also non-linear and dynamic mathematical programming models that address a range of economic and policy analysis questions and hypotheses.  The central theme is to optimize an objective function subject to a set of constraints.
  109. Contents of a research proposal Simulation models  Simulation is the operation of an abstract prototype of a real system designed to trace out dynamic interactions.  Simulation models have acquired substantial appeal among policy analysts because of their ability to explore the consequences of a wide range of alternative sets of policies, plans and even management strategies.
  110. Contents of a research proposal iii) Budgeting and Scheduling the Research -Research costs money.  This may be for travel, subsistence, help with data analysis, or preparation of questionnaires.  Resource considerations may be categorized as finance, data access and equipment.  A proposal should include a budget estimating the funds required for travel, printing, purchase of equipment, tools, books, etc.
  111. Contents of a research proposal  The budget is a list of items that will be required to carry out the research and their approximate cost  It would include all or some of the following items:  Management time  Data collection  Data analysis cost – software and hardware  Transport cost  Respondent’s incentives  Think through the expenses involved and ensure that you can meet these expenses.
  112. Contents of a research proposal  Time Schedule: Research must be scheduled appropriately.  Researcher should prepare a realistic time schedule for completing the study.  Dividing a study into phases and assigning dates for the completion of each phase helps the researcher to use is time systematically.  Use time scheduling tools such as the Gantt or Pert Charts
  113. Gantt chart for a research project
  114. Contents of a research proposal  Produce a schedule for your research using a Gantt chart.  provides a simple visual representation of the activities that make up your research project, each being plotted against a time line  The time schedule enables the researcher to asses the feasibility of conducting a study within the given time limits  It helps the researcher to stay on schedule.
  115. Contents of a research proposal IV. Citations and references  Every academic document should have a list of all cited references, including those in tables and figures captions.  It is important that you correctly cite all consulted published and unpublished documents that you refer to in the proposal.  This allows the reader to know the sources of your information.
  116. Contents of a research proposal  Be sure to include every work that was referred to in the proposal  Formats vary slightly by journals and publishers, etc.  A common format:  For a book: Smith, Adam (1776). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: Dent and Sons  For an article: Coase, Ronald (1937). “The Nature of the Firm.” Economica 4, 386-405.
  117. Contents of a research proposal Appendix - Appendices such as questionnaires, maps sample data or mathematical derivations should be included at the end.  Supporting documentation and evidence-  letter from owner of data, etc.  permission from any necessary authorities  Evidence of material support  Evidence of researcher qualifications, etc.
  118. Criteria for evaluating research proposals  The extent to which the components of the proposal fit together  Your rationale for conducting the research should include a study of the previous published research.  The study should inform your research question(s) and objectives.  Your proposed method should flow directly from these research question(s) and objectives.
  119. Criteria for evaluating research proposals  The viability of the proposal  This is the answer to the question: ‘Can this research be carried out satisfactorily within the timescale and with available resources?’  The absence of preconceived ideas  Your research should be an exciting journey into the unknown.