You are required to write a short research proposal, relevant to the Research Methods Module for which you are submitting the coursework. The choice of subject
area is up to you - however, it should be substantively different from the topic of your final dissertation. The topic and title of the proposal should ideally both come from you. In the event you are unable to come up with an area in which the proposal is to be formulated, the lecturer in the module may suggest a topic. Once you have an idea of the topic and methods you wish to write on, you should get the module lecturer’s agreement that this is an appropriate subject for the assignment.
The research question (What are you planning to investigate?) Your report should include specific referent to one or more Research Questions. A Research Question is a ‘one-liner’ which might take the following form:
· Is risk-taking in everyday life reflected in driving behaviour?
· Does learning categories helps learning words, or vice versa?
· Can a priming method can be used to investigate category formation in children?
Note that the Research Question is expressed more generally than a hypothesis. Depending on the type of study, you may also need to develop at least one hypothesis.
Motivation (Why do this?)
Why are you planning to do this? Why is it interesting? What will we know at the start that we don’t know now? Is your proposed approach the best way to answer the question? Addressing these questions will involve, but not be limited to, an organised search of the literature.
Methods (How are you going to do this?)
What methods will you use? The methods you propose to adopt should reflect, at least in part, the methods you have discussed as part of your Methods module. What is the time frame? (You should include a Gantt chart). Make sure that this work practicable in the timeframe. How you will analyse your data? Does the analysis refer back clearly to the Research Question(s) or the hypotheses?
What Resources are required?
You are not required to cost the proposal, but the markers will want to see that you have paid attention to issues such as:
· Equipment (whose, which, do you have free access to it, etc?)
· Stimuli (who will make them? are any special programs required, etc?)
· Rooms (what physical space is required?)
· ‘Instruments’ – do you need special psychological tests? Can anyone use them, or would training be involved? Are they freely available?
· Participants (who will do the study, how will you recruit them?)
· How long is required Ethics?
Who would provide ethical scrutiny? Can you envisage any ethical difficulties with the proposed research?
Who is going to do this?
Can the research be done by you personally, or would you (more likely) envisage the use of paid research assistants? (Note that it is not usual to fund research assistants for more than 5 years, and more usually 3. This constraint can severely compromise your ability to do longitudinal work.)
Is the approach professional? You may wish to check your work against Research Council advice. One such source can be found at, and around: