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Research proposal: Tips for writing literature review
Writing a Research proposal and Tips forLiterature Review By: Shantiram Dahal1. Background Human being is the unique product of the nature. In comparison with the other animals, they have most developed nervous and mental system which is very helpful to produce sounds and symbols (letters and numbers) that make possible the communication and recording of their questions, observations, experiences and ideas. To satisfy the curiosity and solving problems of daily life they involve in investigation. In modern times the complexities of human beings are increasing. To reduce such complexities, they have to conduct different research activities. Research is the essential part of graduate and post graduate program. Without conducting any academic research the objectives of the course will not be fulfilled. But conducting research is not as easy as we thought. It is a systematic investigation to acquire new knowledge, informations, facts, appropriate solution to a problem, deduce theory and generalization. It helps scholars to expand the area of knowledge and further study. There are various micro steps should be followed by the teachers for effective academic research. Before conducting research, the researcher have to submit the research proposal for approvable. When the research proposal is approved by the department then the research should be conducted consultation with the research guide.2. Research proposal The preparation of research proposal is an important step in the research process. It provides a detail plan strategy to conduct an academic research. A research proposal is an overall plan, scheme, structure and strategy designed to obtain answers to the research questions or problems that constitute your research project. It is intended to convince others that you have a worthwhile research project and that you have the competence and work plan to complete it. A proposal should state your reasons for undertaking the study. "Broadly a research proposals main function is to detail the operational plan for obtaining answers to your research questions. In doing so it ensures and reassures the reader of the validity of the methodology for obtaining answer to your research questions accurately and objectively." Ranjit Kumar, 2006:188. In the word of Best and Khan, 2003:35 "proposal is comparable to the blueprint that an architect prepares before the bids are let and building commences." the p Generally, a research proposal should contain all the key elements involved in the research process and included sufficient information for the readers to evaluate the proposed study. 1
The quality of your research proposal depends not only on the quality of your proposed project, but also on the quality of your proposal writing. A good research project may run the risk of rejection simply because the proposal is poorly written. Therefore, it pays if your writing is coherent, clear and compelling. The research proposal most tells you, your research supervisor and reviewers the following informations about your study: • What are proposing to do; • How you plan to proceed; • Why you selected the proposed strategy. In this paper Im trying to give short account on Outline of chapters and sections of a the literature review. Research Proposal3. literature review TITLE PAGE TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I – Introduction A literature review may be presented as a paper on its own, or it can be contained as an integral Background Statement of the problem part of an article, research proposal, research Significance of the study Objectives of the report or dissertation. research Research questions and/or hypotheses Delimitation of the study It describes, compares, contrasts and evaluates the Definitions of the term used (Operational major theories, arguments, themes, definitions) methodologies, approaches and controversies in the scholarly literature on a subject. It also CHAPTER II – Literature Review Theoretical literatures Thematic connects compares and contrasts these arguments, literatures themes and methodologies etc., with the concerns Conceptual Framework CHAPTER III - of a proposed piece of research (that is, the aims Methodology Research design of the essay, research project or thesis, the Population and sampling Sources of Data research questions, and the central hypothesis). Instrumentation (include copy in appendix) The literature review is: Validity and reliability of Instrumentation • not an annotated bibliography Analysis and Interpretation • not a summary of each of your sources listed Strategy to conduct research Procedure and time frame one by one • not just a descriptive summary of the historical REFERENCES APPENDIX background to your topic In a literature review, your central focus is examining and evaluating what has been said before on a topic, and establishing the relevance 2
of this information to your own research. You may also identify what has not been said in the literature on a subject (this is called ‘a gap in the literature’, and filling such gaps with new knowledge is a particular interest of postgraduate scholarship). You may also need to discuss the methodologies that have been used in the literature and how these relate to your chosen method.3.1 Why do literatures review? A literature review gives an overview of the field of inquiry: what has already been said on the topic, who the key writers are, what the prevailing theories and hypotheses are, what questions are being asked, and what methodologies and methods are appropriate and useful. A critical literature review shows how prevailing ideas fit into your own thesis, and how your thesis agrees or differs from them.3.2 How many references to look for? This depends on what the literature review is for, and what stage you are at in your studies. Your supervisor or tutor should specify a minimum number of references. Generally speaking, a reasonable number of references in a literature review would be: • Undergraduate review: 5-20 titles depending on level. • Masters thesis: 40+ titles • Doctoral thesis: 50+ titles.The 5 C’s of writing a literature review: Since a literature review is information dense, it is crucial that the work is intelligently structured to enable a reader to grasp the key arguments with ease. a. Cite (source): keep the primary focus on the literature. b. Compare the various arguments, theories, methodologies, approaches and findings expressed in the literature: what do the authors agree on? Who employs similar approaches? c. Contrast the various arguments, themes, methodologies, approaches and controversies expressed in the literature: what are the major areas of disagreement, controversy, debate? d. Critique the literature: which arguments are more persuasive, and why? Which approaches, findings, methodologies seem most reliable, valid, or appropriate, and why? Pay attention to the verbs you use to describe what it is an author says/does: e.g. asserts, demonstrates, etc. 3
e. Connect the literature to your own area of research and investigation: how does your own work draw on/depart from/synthesise what has been said in the literature?3.3 How to write a literature reviewa. The literature searchFind out what has been written on your subject. Use as many bibliographical sources as you canto find relevant titles. The following are likely sources: • Bibliographies and references in key textbooks and recent journal articles. Your supervisor or tutor should tell you which are the key texts and relevant journals. • Abstracting journals, such as APAIS, Psychological Abstracts, Library and Information Science Abstracts, etc. • Electronic databases, eg Electronic Reference Library (ERL), First Search, or Expanded Academic.Many abstracting journals and electronic databases are available through the UniversityLibrarysResearch Gateway.A useful reference book for information searches:Lane, Nancy D 1996. Techniques for Student Research: A Practical Guide. Second edition.Melbourne: Longman (UC library call number Z 711.2 L36).b. Writing the reviewHaving gathered the relevant details about the literature, you now need to write the review. Thekind of review you write, and the amount of detail, will depend on the level of your studies.Important note: do not confuse a literature review with an annotated bibliography.An annotated bibliography deals with each text in turn, describing and evaluating the text, usingone paragraph for each text.In contrast, a literature review synthesises many texts in one paragraph. Each paragraph (orsection if it is a long thesis) of the literature review should classify and evaluate the themes of thetexts that are relevant to your thesis; each paragraph or section of your review should deal with adifferent aspect of the literature.Like all academic writing, a literature review must have an introduction, body, and conclusion.The introduction should include: • the nature of the topic under discussion (the topic of your thesis) 4
• the parameters of the topic (what does it include and exclude)? • the basis for your selection of the literatureThe conclusion should include: • A summary of major agreements and disagreements in the literature • A summary of general conclusions that are being drawn. • A summary of where your thesis sits in the literature (Remember! Your thesis could become one of the future texts on the subject—how will later research students describe your thesis in their literature reviews?)The body paragraphs could include relevant paragraphs on: • historical background, including classic texts; • current mainstream versus alternative theoretical or ideological viewpoints, including differing theoretical assumptions, differing political outlooks, and other conflicts; • possible approaches to the subject (empirical, philosophical, historical, postmodernist, etc); • definitions in use; • current research studies; • current discoveries about the topic; • principal questions that are being asked; • general conclusions that are being drawn; • methodologies and methods in use; 5