- Sources and Types of Research Problems
- Sources And Kinds Of Problems
- Sources And Kinds Of Problems 2
- Applying theories
- Theories 2
- How To Distinguish A Good Topic From A Bad One
- Feasible methodology
Does your research problem appear solvable with the methods of investigation you have in mind?
Here we will illustrate how to describe your research question in a fashion that convinces readers that the methodology you plan to adopt will produce credible answers.
Can the project be completed within the available time period?
In the dim past, some graduate school wag created the ABD academic degree (All-But-Dissertation) which might be awarded to that large corps of doctoral candidates who completed all the course work but never finished their dissertations. Consequently, faculty advisers are often concerned about how well students' research projects fit within the time constraints imposed by (a) the college or university (some schools set a limit of five years for completing a master's program and seven years for completing a doctorate) and (b) other timeconsuming responsibilities in students' lives (a job, a family). Therefore, in presenting your project proposal to your advisors, you might profitably include a schedule of the phases that the project will involve and an estimate of the time required to complete each phase.
Required knowledge and skills
Do you already have the knowledge and skills required for completing your project"If not, how and when do you intend to acquire them?
Typically, doing a thesis or dissertation is a valuable learning experience, in that students are not expected at the outset to command all of the knowledge and skills required for completing their project. They gain that knowledge and skill as the project evolves. Thus, when you present your proposal to faculty members, you should be prepared to explain which knowledge and skills you already possess and which you will need to acquire. Sometimes it's not feasible for you to learn every specialized skill you need, such as complex computer programming or a foreign language, so you must depend on others for such services. Hence, it is well to estimate ahead of time what those services will be and where you intend to find them.
Equipment and supplies
What facilities will you need to carry out your project, and how do you intend to acquire them?
Although a description of needed equipment and supplies is usually not included in the written project submission, it is useful to have that information in mind in case it is asked for by a professor who reviews your proposal.
Who will perform each of the jobs required for carrying out your project?
Sometimes the student who creates the project will be the sole participant in the research and perform all the necessary tasks alone. But other projects require outside help–people to serve as interviewers, test correctors, statistical analysts, and more. Because faculty committee members may inquire about the personnel who will be involved in your research, you may wish to be prepared ahead of time to answer questions about whatever assistants you will need.
What expenses do you expect to incur, and how do you expect to pay them?
Your principal advisor or other members of your supervising committee may ask how much your project is expected to cost and where the money will come from. In some instances they will ask only for a likely total amount. In others they will ask for a list of activities and equipment, along with an estimated cost of each. Even if your professors do not require a written expense projection, it is well to have in mind an estimated cost and source of funds.
To summarize, when you submit your research proposal to your advisors, you will typically be expected to furnish a written synopsis that defines the research problem or issue, suggests why it's important to study, and explains the methods you intend to use for resolving the problem or question. Members of supervising committees may also ask about your the time period within which you expect to complete your project and the sources of the needed knowledge, skill, equipment, supplies, personnel and funds required in your plan. Whether or not you include these additional matters in your written proposal, it's well to have answers to such queries in hand when your plan is being inspected