Once you have defined your research questions, you need to set out broadly what you plan to do to answer them, and why.Everything that you do should have a clear reason ‘I thought it might be fun’ is not considered good enough.You can always find a sector, study group, or other unique element that will make the research worthwhile, even if others have done similar studies before.
Your outline methodology should explain: This section is designed to show that you know what you’re going to do, and why.
It will also serve to show whether you’re trying to do too much/too little, which your supervisor should point out to you at an early stage.
Frame it as a question that you could ask somebody: good research questions often begin with asking words like who, what, when, where, why, how, and how much.
Once you have brainstormed several questions related to your topic, look at each one individually against the following checklist of considerations.
The first step in any research is to identify the topic of interest.
Think about which areas have most interested you in your studies to date, and what you would most like to explore.If you are submitting a grant application, or research proposal to a university, you will probably have a maximum word count or be given an acceptable word count range. If the maximum is 2000 words, and you’ve written 500, you probably haven’t provided enough detail.On the other hand, if you’ve written twice as much as expected, then you’ll need to cut it down considerably.Whether or not you are required to submit a research proposal before your dissertation, it is good practice to summarise what you plan to do, and why, before you start as it will help to keep your research on track.A research proposal is a document in which you outline the case for undertaking the research project, your dissertation or thesis, and present your plans for carrying out the work.Keep a note of ideas and questions, and then send a single email to your supervisor requesting an appointment, and setting out your broad thinking, preferably with your outline research questions.Your supervisor will soon make clear whether they think your ideas are too broad for study and will hopefully help you to narrow them down.As a general principle, it is better to research a narrow topic in more detail than a broad one in very little detail.Start to write up your research proposal as you read around your subject.Check the university’s requirements, and if necessary consult your supervisor about what to include.An example ethical committee approval form may include questions such as: Will you provide written information to participants indicating the nature and purpose of the research, that their participation is voluntary, that they may withdraw at any time, and provide contact details for further information about the study?