Sport research/The Research Proposal
A research proposal sells the concept that the research is worthwhile and should be allowed to proceed. They are used in applications for entry to academic institutions, as a pitch to partner organisations and in an attempt to attract funding. The emphasis and the style of the proposal will therefore depend on the target, for instance a PhD proposal can be much longer than an Honours proposal, a proposal targetting funding will be different to a (commonly) less scientific pitch to a partner organisation. Regardless, many common elements remain.
The research proposal will almost always be a collaborative work, either between researchers or students and supervisors.
Common elements of a research proposal are included below.
- Author(s) and Supervisors if applicable.
- Title (concise and descriptive)
- Contact details
Similar to most research writing, you must identify the relevant literature and describe what is currently known about an area, describe the gap(s) in the knowledge you wish to address and make it clear why it is important to do so. It is not a literature review, but should identify the more obvious work in the area. When describing the gap in the literature, be specific, remember that the proposal may be read by experts in the area, and it doesn't come across well if you don't cover major works.
Review of the relevant research:
- demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the topic
- demonstrates the ability to organize and judge academic material
- provides a framework for the research
As well as: Justification for the project: why is this project important?
Aims / Objectives
The background should lead clearly to the aims, and the methodology should be specific to address the aims.
Design & Methodology
Methodology, methods and justification. Why was this method chosen and not another? How will this method provide the data needed?
Intended outcomes. Can include possibilities for dissemination of the project, impact, implications and limitations of the research.
Location of research, with reasons for choosing this location
Budget (often in general terms for applications, but more details for funding submissions)
Timetable (in general terms), including expected completion date
Approvals and permits (if necessary). Many projects are subject to approval by a local ethics committee.
If you are running a clinical trial, its a good idea to register the trial before starting. In Australia and New Zealand, a free online registry (Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ANZCTR) exists for this purpose, and trials should be registered at least 3 weeks prior to starting.
Reference list for all texts cited in the proposal
- Have a look over the research proposal you submitted for entry into the course. How would you keep it to 2 pages but improve it?
- Show the changes you have made and discuss them.
- University of New South Wales pages on writing a proposal
- How to write a research proposal from Monash University
- Few pages about writing the proposal from Drew University's On-Line Resources