Collection: Research ePortfolio Template

Research Proposal

Menu

About me

About me

Research Plan

Research Plan

Research Proposal

References

References

Presentations

Presentations

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae

Journal

Journal

Project identification and rationale (Click on arrow heads to the right to view text)

Source: Iphofen, R. (2009) Ethical decision making in social research. A practical guide, London: Palgrave Macmillan – pages 200-04.

Provide:

  • a succinct and clear project title [full title, short title and/ project nickname or acronym];
  • a clear statement of the research issue under investigation which…
  • specifies the “research question” or questions AND
  • if appropriate, clarifies any “testable hypotheses”. [a short initial statement that makes the focus of the research clear]
  • some justification of the need for research to be conducted on this topic [explain if the research will fill a gap or meet a need – it might add to knowledge, deliver productive outcomes or add value for policy and/or practice];
  • some discussion of existing information on the topic [at this stage a brief outline of the current state of knowledge – further justification of the need for this research and which will be expanded later in the full protocol];
  • an explanation of any secondary research that can/should be conducted [a brief statement of desk research or systematic literature review that may be required];
  • a rationale for conducting primary research [why new primary research is required];
  • an explanation of why the research needs to be conducted in the chosen setting(s) [in particular, why the proposed subjects and/or setting are needed for this research].
Details

Ethical Concerns

  • While the use of the “Ethics Review Checklist” helps in anticipating and declaring ethical risks, the full proposal should offer clear evidence for the following:
  • How valid consent from participants to take part in the study will be obtained.
  • How the interests of and particularly ‘vulnerable’ participants will be protected – such as the old, young people (children under 18 years), asylum seekers, prisoners, ethnic minorities and those with a disability. In the case of such participants special arrangements may have to be made to ensure valid consent and this may entail the use of proxies and/or gatekeepers.
  • The procedure to be adopted if someone discloses something about their own or others’ criminal actions and/or provides information about unprofessional behaviour.
  • The procedure to be adopted if an action is uncovered that has detrimental consequences for individuals, groups, organisations or society.
  • Familiarity with ethical guidelines on research produced by the researchers’ own relevant professional associations (e.g. Social Research Association, British Sociological Association, British Psychological Society, Social Policy Association, UK Evaluation Society and so on).
  • The medical research ethics principles contained in the Declaration of Helsinki (updated 2008) contain recommendations of value to social research, so reference to their implementation within the proposal will strengthen evidence for researchers’ awareness of ethical concerns. In similar vein the International Commission on Healthcare’s Good Clinical Practice guidelines must be followed if performing a clinical trial. The principles contained in this document could be applied to all practice-oriented studies and may be of use to any study adopting an experimental design with experimental and control groups within the social care field as well as in health and may, consequently, be relevant to a range of research in social and behavioural science.
  • The proposal throughout should contain indications of procedures to be adopted if serious unanticipated ethical and/or methodological difficulties arise.
Details

Project personnel and collaborators

This section combines the need for clear lines of responsibility and accountability together with a quick reference source for all those involved in the project. It also clarifies who is doing what and whether they can demonstrate the competencies necessary to accomplishing the research goal.

Provide:

  • the name and contact details of the Principal Investigator (PI);
  • the names and contact details of all research assistants/collaborators/partners in the project;
  • a clear indication of the research roles of all those involved in the project [the tasks/role allocated to each named individual];
  • brief, targeted CVs for PI, supervisor(s) and any collaborating researchers and partners; an indication of all researchers’ experience or extra training if required [CVs help indicate any ‘track record’ of relevant experience in the field; acknowledge any gaps in competence (especially for novice researchers) and how these will be met];
  • a clarification of any advice or consultation that has been undertaken on project design such as peer review of the methodology;
  • names of sponsor and/or supervisor(s) [this may be a formal requirement for research governance];
  • any statement relating to research subjects’ (service users, staff, carers etc.) participation in the design of the project. [making clear their precise tasks/role]
Details

Literature review

  • an adequate review of the existing literature or previous research
  • clarification of whether the proposed study replicates prior work AND/OR
  • duplicates work done elsewhere…AND/OR
  • contains an element of originality.
Details

Methodology

  • an outline of and a rationale for the research design or approach taken;
  • details of the research method(s) to be employed and any combinations of techniques or methods (e.g. a social survey employing a self-completion questionnaire);
  • it should be clearly indicated that the issues associated with the use of the methods being advocated are fully understood;
  • any difficulties associated with the use of the method(s) proposed are addressed by the prospective researcher;
  • details for any research instruments/measuring devices to be employed (e.g. questionnaires - copies of which need to be appended to the proposal; pre-validated and reliability-tested instruments offer a degree of security for the value of the research to be conducted and its comparative potential);
  • details of any baseline and outcome measures that will be taken;
Details

Participants

  • full explanation of data collection procedures which sets out in detail:
  • any sampling strategy,
  • an explanation and justification for the sample size if sampling of a population is to be conducted,
  •             …any calculable power and effect sizes if appropriate,
  •             …the rationale for any purposive or theoretical sampling provided.
  •  an explanation of how research subjects might be systematically excluded from participation/selection dependent on sampling strategy or considerations for minimising anticipated harm to them, their group and/or their community;
  • full explanation of the procedure for gathering/collecting data;
  • full explanation of procedures for anonymising data and/or the maintenance of confidentiality if this is proposed;
Details

Research Benefits

  • an outline of the anticipated benefits of conducting the research. These could be benefits to research subjects/participants, clients, service users, staff, government (local and national), the research site, the researcher(s) and/or the research organisation.
  • an explanation of any grounds for generalising the research findings beyond the immediate research site, organisation or subject group/population category being studied – e.g. regionally, across the UK, and/or internationally;
  • an outline of all intended forms of dissemination for the research findings to include:
  • …an internal research report for funders/commissioners;
  • …a public report (target numbers and audience specified);
  • …press release to local/national media;
  • …an assessed research dissertation or thesis;
  •             …conference/seminar presentations (local/national/international);
  •             …a self-published research report;
  •             …scholarly/professional journals.
  • an outline of any anticipated limitations to the public availability of the project’s findings.
  • clarification if research subjects (services users, clients, staff, carers etc.) will be involved in dissemination/implementation of research findings in any way; if not an explanation of why their inclusion is not necessary and/or unjustified; or if they are to be involved a rationale for why this would be of benefit.
  • an outline of how the research findings might help deliver better services, products or offer some improved value for money;
  • some consideration of whether the research will be of direct benefit to the research site in which it is being conducted – in the form of:
  •             …helping develop local research skills;
  •             …contributing to the research infrastructure in the organisation;
  •             …providing a basis for further research and development;
  • result in ways in which management and professionals can improve service/product delivery.
  • a discussion of the feasibility of implementing any findings in the research site, local community, more generally or other services.
Details

Project Timetable

  • a clear outline of the project timetable noting key stages in the project such as:
  •             …anticipated start and completion dates;
  •             …period of desk research and literature reviewing;
  •             …any pilot work or feasibility study;
  • the sequencing of interventions, baseline, outcome and evaluation  measures;
  •             …the period set aside for data analysis and production of reports;
  • any anticipated obstacles to completing on schedule.
  • [Insert GANTT and/or PERT charts or, at least, a simple tabulated timetable with the above items included showing awareness of the anticipated time needed to accomplish the given tasks.]
Details

Data Storage and Protection

  • full explanation of the procedure for storing data and whether the data will be retained or archived for secondary analysis. If data is to be disposed of details must be given for how and when this will happen.
  • an assurance that the proposed project is compliant with the Data Protection Act, and how that assurance can be guaranteed.
  • a full explanation of the data analysis procedures that will be employed.
  • Such as:
  • if qualitative data analysis is to be employed – an outline of the procedure for coding/categorising data and if and how any data reduction will take place;
  • if quantitative data analysis is to be employed, an outline of the procedure for grouping, collating and statistically testing data relationships – specifying the tests to be used;
  • an outline of the use of any computer assisted data analysis (e.g. SPSS; NVivo) and how and why such methods are to be applied.
  • some evidence of ability to anticipate any potential sources of bias that could compromise the rigour and/or the objectivity of the project. Some detail about how these problems might be addressed if they arise.
  • an assessment of any potential for harm to individuals, groups or society and how this might be addressed. The types of harm to be assessed might include: psychological, physical, social, economic and legal; and consideration must be given as to whether the harm accrues from participation or systematic exclusion from participation. Some indication of how anticipated harms might be addressed should be supplied – together with a procedure for handling any complaints.
  • an assessment of the potential ‘vulnerability’ of members of the research population and how this might be addressed;
Details

Limiting Research Risks

  • an outline of any risks to researcher(s), subjects, organisations or the project as a whole that can be anticipated;
  •  details of any risks to any collaborating social services group from permitting the project to be conducted (this includes the governance reviewing committee!);
  •  a completed risk assessment form (append a completed “Project Risk Assessment Matrix”);
  •  a specification of the system for recording and reporting any serious adverse events;
  • a specification of the indemnity/insurance provision secured against any non-negligent harm. (Copies of certificates should be appended.)
  • a specification of the means whereby subjects (clients, service users, staff, members of the public etc.) will be informed of the nature of the project and precisely how the study will be described to potential participants (such as in the form of information leaflets and/or information letters; or scheduled/scripted oral descriptions; copies of these should be appended to the proposal).
  •  an outline of the protocol for obtaining participants’ consent to gathering data and to any further archiving or secondary data analysis (such as consent forms; again copies should be appended). [Consent can be gained in a variety of ways depending upon research design – so it need not be in the form of a written, signed and witnessed consent form if such a procedure is deemed threatening or intimidating to participants or inhibitive of a valid methodology.]
  • specification of how the participants will be given “time to think” about whether they wish to participate; and how, if
Details

Project Management

  • …an outline of the lines of responsibility involved in the conduct of the research. [An indication of who is accountable to whom in the form of an organisational chart would help.]
  •  a clear specification of the project “deliverables” (e.g. points of data collection and analysis, interim reports, final written report) and dates when they are due [Must be consistent with and match the timetable included earlier.]
  •  evidence of the support of appropriate managers or gatekeepers etc. in the research site; [written letters of permission should be appended to the proposal or some statement of when and how such permission will be sought]
  •  if this is research counting toward an education qualification there should be evidence of HEI approval, processing through HEI’s governance and ethics procedure, in the form of a letter of approval including supervisor(s) details and signature(s).
  •  evidence of CRB checks if required for the project and/or researchers’ registration with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).
Details

Budget Details

A full budget document should detail the anticipated full costs of conducting the research and who (organisation or person) is actually funding the project.

  •  an indication of the itemised expenditure on such things as:
  •  human resources
  •             …equipment
  •             …travel
  •             …subsistence
  •             …accommodation
  •             …computer hardware/software.
  •  an indication of the time that will be spent on the project by researchers and collaborators;
  •  an indication of the source(s) of funding for the project.
Details