Assignment 4: Research Proposal
Length: 1500 words (+/- 10%)
Format: See later in slides
Draws on your understanding from all the topics but
particularly Topics 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
Late submission will lose 5% per day
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You are required to prepare a proposal that will set out how
you plan to go about addressing your research problem
developed in Assignment 2 and reviewed in Assignment 3.
The proposal will map out the research elements you propose
to use to convincingly address the research problem.
Explain and justify the decisions you have made for your
research design, data collection methods and questions,
sample selection and data analysis techniques. Relevant
ethical considerations must also be covered.
The proposal also involves the development of a
questionnaire or interview outline/format in Qualtrics.
Whether it is a questionnaire or interview format will depend
on your research design and data collection method choices.
Include in an appendix.
Explain and justify questions and style in the proposal.
Your assignment is an exercise in planning a
hypothetical research project, not doing it.
Under no circumstances are you to approach any
individual or organisation for assistance with any
part of this assignment.
Assignment overview (cont’d)
Assignment instruction 1
Your research proposal should address the following (and
use these headings in your submitted document):
1. Problem Statement and Research Objectives* – state
your problem statement and research objectives* at the
start of your research proposal so your marker can refer to
these when reviewing your proposal.
You may revise these somewhat in light of your all
your learning in the unit.
➢ A problem statement is a concise statement of the
purpose of your study – be specific
➢ Grammar and expression should be carefully worked
➢ To find the sub problems you need to identify the steps
required to fulfill your problem statement
➢ Use instruction words like describe, examine, explore…
➢ Should reflect the scope of the project – geographic,
➢ Make sure that the sub objectives are relevant to solve
the overall ‘problem’
Tips for problem statement and research objectives
Assignment instruction 2
2. Research design – explain and justify the
methodological approach you propose to guide your
research proposal using relevant literature.
Tips for the research design section
Provide a brief explanation and justification of
research design in terms of:
Information requirements (exploratory, descriptive,
Approach (quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods
Broad source of data (primary or secondary)
Methodology (e.g. survey, case study, grounded theory)
Link decisions to the research problem
For more on explanation and justification (as well
as appropriate references) see later slides.
Assignment instruction 3
3. Data Collection Methods – explain and justify
the methods you propose for data collection and
data management using relevant literature.
Tips for the data collection methods section
Examples of data collection methods are various types of questionnaires
Your choice should be linked back to the research problem and the
research design elements. For example:
It would not be appropriate to use an online questionnaire for an exploratory,
qualitative, grounded theory design.
It would not be appropriate to use an in-depth interview for a descriptive,
quantitative, survey design.
If we swap the data collection methods in the above examples, we do have a
coherent, appropriate choice of data collection method for the design.
Include a brief explanation of how the method will be implemented.
Briefly explain any plan to pre-test questionnaires/interview formats (and
pilot test questionnaires).
For more on explanation and justification (as well as appropriate
references) see later slides.
Assignment instruction 4
4. Qualtrics – design and include your Qualtrics
questionnaire and/or interview format and explain and
justify the questions and style of questions you use with
respect to collecting appropriate data to address your
Tips for the Qualtrics survey section
Include your Qualtrics questionnaire/interview format as an
Appendix in your Assignment 4 (export it into Word from
Qualtrics – see Topic 5b additional resources for instructions).
In this section in the body of your assignment, you need to
explain and justify the inclusions and design. For example:
Which questions cover which concepts in your research problem?
Why did you choose to ask the question(s) in the way you have?
(e.g. using valid measures from previous research on the concept;
open-ended question to capture additional categories not evident in
the literature; or, for an interview, asking questions in different ways
to triangulate, or using probing questions)
What overall design principles did you consider? (e.g. order of
questions, length, minimising response bias, minimising
Assignment instruction 5
5. Sample Selection – explain and justify the
sample selection process relevant to your research
Tips for the sample selection section
In the sampling section you must:
Define your target population (draws on problem statement,
Whether probability or non-probability sampling will be used
and why. Link the “why” to the research problem, the
availability of a sampling frame and the research design.
What sampling technique (e.g. simple random, stratified,
purposive etc.) will be used and why.
What the planned sample size will be and why.
For a quantitative sample, you could use a number based
on, for example, Neuman’s guidelines (see Topic 7 slides)
For a qualitative sample, while you can estimate an
approximate number, it is sufficient to justify your sample
size here referring to the point of saturation
Assignment instruction 6
6. Data Analysis Techniques – explain and justify
how you would propose to analyse and present the data
Tips for the data analysis techniques section
Explain your proposed analysis in the points below in the
specific context of your research problem, research design
and data collection methods
Quantitative data analysis:
Explain your univariate analysis (e.g. frequency counts,
central tendency measures) and presentation (e.g. tables,
charts) for each variable and why.
If relevant to your problem statement, explain what bivariate
analysis you will undertake using which variables and why
Justification of choices should involve matching methods to
the level of measurement of your variables. E.g. The mode is
the appropriate measure of central tendency for a variable
with a nominal level of measurement (Reference 20XX).
Tips for the data analysis techniques section
Explain your proposed analysis in the points below in
the specific context of your research problem, research
design and data collection methods
Qualitative data analysis:
Explain the procedures you will undertake to analyse the
data. For example:
What data you will have (e.g. notes, recordings) and how you
will assemble it.
How you will reduce the data
How you will interpret the data (recognise patterns and
How you will verify your interpretations
Tips for explanation and justification
In thinking about how to write your explanation and
justification for the sections above, consider:
Why have you chosen that design/method/style/procedure?
Which alternatives did you consider and reject? Why did
you reject them? This can sometimes help you justify why you
chose the ones you did.
Good idea to include a paragraph on the designs/methods/
procedures that could be applied to your study – noting
their advantages and disadvantages. Here you should
use some references (most likely to research methods
Then narrow down to the one you have selected. You
could justify with a reference. Also ensure you directly state
why it is more appropriate for your research problem.
Assignment instruction 7
7. Ethical Considerations – explain how you
would consider the ethical issues associated with
the research proposal.
Tips for the Ethical Considerations Section
Briefly outline how your project will be ethically
How you will obtain informed consent
The risks to participants in your study, and how you will
protect them from those risks
How the confidentiality or anonymity of participants
will be maintained.
How the collected data be safely and securely stored
Assignment instruction 8
8. Provide a reference list (Harvard) for any reference
sources you use to justify your final research proposal.
These references will be cited in-text.
Reference Style: Harvard
Follow Harvard style carefully.
See Unit Content/Topic 3 Additional Resources/ Guide
to Harvard Style. This guide provides you with
examples and everything you need to know about the
Harvard referencing style.
Use feedback on A3 and compare your A3 referencing
to the Guide to Harvard style. Make adjustments as
necessary for A4.
See also the Harvard style videos in Learning Zone:
Your Assignment 4 will be marked based on the following
criteria. See the rubric for the performance level
descriptors for each criterion.
|Data collection methods||20|
|Proposed data analysis techniques||10|
|Presentation and clarity of the proposal||10|
|Total % marks||100|
Format of Assignment 4
Problem Statement and Sub-problems
Data Collection Methods
Questionnaire/Interview [choose appropriate] Choices
Data Analysis Techniques
Qualtrics Questionnaire or Qualtrics Interview Format
Format of Assignment 4
Just so you know…
Technically, other elements would be included in a
research proposal including background, significance,
scope, literature review, timeline and budget.
However, you have already done some of this in earlier
assessments. Do not include it again in A4.
As this is a hypothetical research project, a timeline
and budget is not needed.
Word limit and assignment sections
The title page, problem statement and subproblems,
reference list, and appendices are not included in the 1500
Use headings corresponding with the required sections
in the previous slide within your assignment
You may use sub-headings within those major sections.
You may number the sections if you wish.
Insert page numbers
Use 3rd person (instead of writing ‘I’, refer to yourself
as ‘the researcher’ or similar term)
Use consistent formatting (e.g. all headings of the
same level are in the same font, size and colour) to
your proposal looks neat.
Edit your work carefully to maintain a professional
presentation. See “The process of editing” quick guide
in Unit Content/Topic 3 Additional Resources.
Start early – proposals written the night before the
due date are very unlikely to present a coherent plan
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