500 word research proposal

| December 4, 2015

In this assignment you will present a research proposal that sets out a topic area that can be investigated using qualitative methodology. The research proposal should contain the following and you should structure the proposal according to these points, remaining within the word limit for each.
1. Research question:- A clear and appropriate research question (maximum 20 words)
This can be on any topic but should be ‘appropriate’ meaning that it should be something that can be researched – that you can provide the context for and use appropriate methodologies and methods to address. It must also be ‘clear’ meaning that the question should be easy to understand. It is important also that you devise a question that sets up a logical progression of the research proposal – each aspect should follow on from the research question.
For example: How do 18-21 year olds identify themselves according to class? DONT USE THIS TOPIC OR ELSE IT WILL BE CONSIDERED PLAGIARISED
2. Study context:- The context for your study including how this fits into current debates and what theories have been used to make sense of it before (maximum 100 words)
Context and theory are linked: the context of your research study, the wider backdrop you are framing your study within, will be determined at least to some extent by your theoretical position, which is set out in the next section. However in this section you are describing the context in which you are carrying out your study. This means deciding on what you think are the key debates and what their framing conditions are. So for example, you might argue that social class is framed within neoliberalism and that the key debates relate to structure and agency.
But remember you only have 100 words here – you will lose marks in each section if you go over the word limit
3. The problem:- Explain why it is important to study this and what theoretical perspective you will be deploying in addressing the research question (maximum 100 words)
Following on from the section above, which set out the context, this section is about why you have decided to study this topic. For example, your topic of social class identities amongst 18-21 year olds will require a starting point of some kind of theory that identifies what social class is and why it is important.
Again, following on from the example above, if you are looking at social class identities in a neoliberal society, your choice of theory has to be something that can address the parameters of this context. Marxist-feminism may be appropriate here – Harriet Bradley’s theory of fractured (class) identities in contemporary capitalist / neoliberal society (Bradley, H. 1996 Fractured Identities. Changing Patterns of Inequality., Cambridge: Polity.) identifies the ways that identities are formed from different elements, underpinned by material conditions. Her theory identifies gender, class, ethnicity and age as key parameters in the formation of identity. She also sees identities as being passive, active or politicised. From this theoretical and contextual starting point you can identify objects that will be the focus of your research: young people’s experiences and descriptions of their identities and the relationship they have to material conditions.
4. Methodology:- The methodological approach you will take and why this is appropriate in answering your research question (maximum 100 words)
In this section you need to show that you understand what is meant by methodology and then say what methodological approach you are taking here. You should include key words such as ‘epistemology’, ‘ontology’ and ‘interpretivism’.
5. Methods:- The methods you will use in your study and how these fit with your methodological approach (maximum 100 words)
There are a lot of methods available to qualitative researchers, and it is unlikely that your research topic and question will only allow one specific method. Choose the method that you think will best provide the data that you want and provide a justification for it.
6. Ethical issues:- Outline the ethical issues that may arise and how you will deal with them (maximum 80 words)
As well as demonstrating that you understand research ethics and their importance, you should describe the ethical issues that may arise from your research and how you would manage these issues.
Your research proposal should be structured using the heading above. You must not exceed the word limits in each section. You must use in-text citations and a references list.
You will be expected to provide references to the context and theory texts that are informing your research proposal, references to studies that have done similar work and references to methods books and articles that support your choice and description of method.
If you decide that you would like to merge some of the sections, e.g. Study context and problem or Methodology and methods, this is fine, but remember that you must then keep to the combined word limit. Also remember that these sections have been set out to help you cover each requirement of the assessment.
Assessment criteria:
These criteria are used to mark assessments so you need to make sure that you have addressed them adequately
1 Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of social research methodology.
2 Demonstrate that you have read appropriate material and are able to synthesise and coherently present this material.
3 Demonstrate an ability to present your own argument and demonstrate that you can critically appraise and evaluate academic material, and reach your own conclusions

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