The Format of a Research Proposal




1.                   Introduction

a.       The problem statement

b.      A rationale for the research

i.                     Statement of the research objectives

c.       Hypothesis

d.      Definition of terms

e.      Summary including a restatement of the problem


2.                   A brief review of the relevant literature

a.       The importance of the question being asked

b.      The current status of the topic

c.       The relationship between literature and problem statement

d.      Summary including a restatement of the relationships between the important variables under consideration and how these relationships are important to the hypothesis proposed in the introduction


3.                   Method

a.       Participants (including description and selection procedures)

b.      Research design

c.       Data collection plans

i.         Operational definition of all variables

ii.       Reliability and validity of instruments

iii.      Results of pilot studies

d.      Proposed analysis of data

e.      Results of data



4.                   Implications and Limitations


5.                   Appendices

a.       Copies of instruments that will be used

b.      Results of pilot studies (actual data)

c.       Human subjects committee approval

d.      Participant consent form

e.       Time line

Criteria for Judging a Research Study



The review of Previous Research

1.                                                                                                             How closely is the literature reviewed in the study related to previous literature?

2.                                                                                                             Is the review recent?  Are there any outstanding references you know of that were left out?


The Problem and Purpose

3.                                                                                                             Can you understand the statement of the problem?

4.                                                                                                             Is the purpose of the study clearly stated?

5.                                                                                                             Does the purpose seem to be tied to the literature that is reviewed?

6.                                                                                                             Is the objective of the study clearly stated?

7.                                                                                                             Is there a conceptual rationale to which the hypotheses are grounded?

8.                                                                                                             Is there a rationale for why the study is an important one to do?


The Hypothesis

9.                                                                                                             Are the research hypotheses clearly stated?

10.                                                                                                          Are the research hypotheses explicitly stated?

11.                                                                                                           Do the hypotheses state a clear association between variables?

12.                                                                                                          Are the hypotheses grounded in theory or in a review and presentation of relevant literature?

13.                                                                                                         Are the hypotheses testable?


The Method

14.                                                                                                          Are both the independent and dependent variables clearly defined?

15.                                                                                                          Are the definition and description of the variables complete?

16.                                                                                                         Is it clear how the study was conducted?


The Sample

17.                                                                                                          Was the sample selected in such a way that you think it is representative of the population?

18.                                                                                                          Is it clear where the sample comes from and how it was selected?

19.                                                                                                         How similar are the subjects in the study to those that have been used in other, similar studies?


Results and Discussion

20.                                                                                                          Does the author relate the results to the review of literature?

21.                                                                                                          Are the results related to the hypothesis?

22.                                                                                                          Is the discussion of the results consistent with the results?

23.                                                                                                         Does the discussion provide closure to the intial hypothesis tha the author presents?



24.                                                                                                          Is the list of references current?

25.                                                                                                          Are they consistent with their format?

26.                                                                                                          Are the references complete?

27.                                                                                                          Does the list of references reflect some of the most important reference sources in the field?

28.                                                                                                         Does each references cited in the body of the paper appear in the reference list?


General comments about the report

29.                                                                                                          Is it clearly written and understandable?

30.                                                                                                          Is the language biased (nonsexist and relative culture-free)?

31.                                                                                                          What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?

32.                                                                                                          What are the primary implications of the research?

33.                                                                                                          What would you do to improve the research?