Developing a Research Idea? Food for thought…

So a few people have asked me about research recently. Advice on getting started, what they have to do, etc. Below are some thoughts, prompts and questions that might help you develop your ideas and research proposal further. Don’t let them scare you. If you get stuck on any of them please feel free to come and ask for more advice. Also, I’d recommend getting hold of a copy of Robson’s Real World Research, and anything on qualitative research by Denzin and Lincoln.

Have fun! (I’m just posting this while waiting for my flight to Iceland to take off… Yes, research on a plane. No snakes. Haha).

Write a Brief Project statement

It could contain the following:
•a brief description of the topic and what you hope to achieve?
•a reasoned indication of why the topic is worthy of investigation?
•a justification of the approach to be used?
•a clear statement of the main results you think will be obtained?
•a clear statement of the main limitations?

General Introduction & Background

It could contain the following:
•a clear, reasoned and detailed description of the topic and a reasoned statement of its significance?
•an explicit statement of the aim, or aims, and objectives?
•a clear description and diagrammatic explanation of the interrelation of aim, aims and objectives?
•a reasoned justification of the aim, or aims, and objectives?
•a clear statement and justification of any research questions or hypotheses?
•a clear description and diagrammatic explanation of how aims and objectives are linked to research questions and hypotheses?
•a clear identification of the scope of the topic with a clear indication given of the implications of the associated limitations?
•a succinct and informative guide to the proposed outcomes and contents of the subsequent research write up on the nature of the various sections of the write up and their purpose?

Research Methods

Have you thought about research methods? These will depend on your research question. Can you give:
•a clear and detailed description of the investigation and the methods to be used?
•a clear articulation of how the chosen methods related to the alternatives available?
•a clear articulation of how the chosen methods relate to the theoretical and methodological concepts relevant to them?
•an explicit justification for the choice of methodology?
•a clear indication of its associated limitations?
•a discussion of such issues as measurement, accuracy and sampling, where relevant?
•an assessment of the relationship between the adequacy of the methodology employed and the aims and objectives?
•a specific consideration of the implications of the latter for the analysis of data and interpretation of results?

You might not be able to answer all these questions at first. If not, don’t worry, just work on each one step by step.

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