Step 1: Discuss the historical development and significance of your topic
In this assignment you are expected to write the introduction part of your research. It is important that you describe clearly but very briefly the background, research problem, objectives, hypotheses and the contributions of your study to demonstrate your broad and deep understanding of your research topic.
In developing your introduction, consider the following guidelines:
Your introduction briefly discusses the historical developments of events regarding the specific topic. What is important here is that you should be able to argue that your topic has a certain level of significance that warrants its study. So, what is significance of this study? Show that over the years, either the topic has been fully developed as a research area as indicated by a succession of significant events, or that it has not been fully studied in spite of its importance as a topic. However, if you argue that it has been fully studied, you will have to justify strongly why you are still studying it perhaps by pointing out flaws in its development or in the literature (research gaps).
Describe the basic assumptions that led you to study the topic. This should build up on the arguments you may have presented earlier. You would be able to present powerful assumptions if you base your arguments on the existing body of knowledge that indicates that there may be flaws in the scientific literature.
Justify why you think there is still a need to further study the topic. Your description of the historical development of events surrounding the topic should help you in your justification. This is especially true if there are indications as highlighted by current knowledge that existing issues have not been fully studied and resolved, or that there are new issues that need to be studied.
Briefly describe how you intend to go about conducting the study. Is your study going to be an experiment, a case analysis, or a survey? This brief description should give the reader an idea of how you intend to pursue the study given, for example, the topic’s complexity or significance relative to the existing body of knowledge. In other words, upon reading your proposal, would your readers gain a clear understanding of why the topic is important and why there is a need to study it?
So, your introduction part should include at least the followings:
1. Basic background information and assumptions that show the state of the art of a particular field or endeavor. This section also discusses, briefly what you intend to do after establishing the need to provide bridges between what may already be known about the field and what still needs to be known. It also provides the structure to be followed in conducting the study. In other words, it is a bird’s eye-view of the proposed study. It is important that you can describe clearly but very briefly the background of your proposed thesis to demonstrate your broad and deep understanding of your research topic.
Step 2: State the problem and assumptions of your study
2. Problem statement: You should present the research problem. The reader must know right away what research problem is going to be resolved by the proposal. There are a number of ways of presenting the problem. You would present, in narrative form, the situation putting emphasis on the existence of a problem and describing gaps in already existing body of literature or you would simply list a set of questions that need to be answered. Carefully state the limits of the problem, eliminating all aspects and factors that will not be considered in the study and define any special term that must be used in the statement of the problem.
3. State your objectives: The objectives must neatly fit into the problem statement. They set the stage for showing how one intends to solve or contribute to the solution of a problem. It is always wise to list them, no more than a sentence a piece, in approximate order of their importance or potential contributions.
4. Construct the hypotheses: You need to hypothesize about the relationships of variables that are indicated in your conceptual framework. In order to prove that your assumptions are correct, you need to test them. So, you should specify the relation between variables that are measurable or potentially measurable and then test it.
5. Describe the contributions of your study: You must be able to indicate the generalizability of the research findings and point to the way in which the research would contribute to theory or knowledge of a general or specific phenomenon. You must be able to describe the value of specific applications of knowledge to be gained and the potential importance of these applications. Do not, however, over-attribute extremely important advantages to your study. Always cushion your statements with guarded phrases like, “results of this study would, hopefully, contribute to a better understanding of the issues involved in the......,” or something to that effect.
6. Describe the limitations of your study: Discuss the weaknesses of the study in terms of methodology and generalizability of the results to be obtained from the study. Your studies may be limited by the size of sample, the locale of the research, and some other factors. These things must be pointed out so that the results could be interpreted appropriately. But, do not over-do discussion of the limitations of your study. If you say too many negative things about your thesis proposal or manuscript, your readers would tend to ask, “so, why will you do or why did you do the study at all?”. So, it does not mean you have to list all possible wrong things, including minor ones, that you may have committed in doing the research.
7. Define terminologies: When writing up a research proposal or report, you must define rigorously the meaning of the terms used in the statement of the problem and in the hypotheses. The objective is to write a clear, precise definition that will call up the same core of meaning to all competent researchers in the field.
8. Outline the overall structure: Summarize each chapter to clearly show how it contributes to your central aims.