Developing a Research Proposal

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Over the past few weeks, I have been working on developing key questions for my research proposal. Going back over some literature, I was starting to focus more deeply on social networking, student perspectives and online identities. This still seemed like a large scope to cover, but the readings were very interesting.

Here are some initial notes from our class discussions and my interpretation on developing the proposal and identifying key questions.

1. Research Proposal
  • Plan / Study / conduct empirical research to develop a good proposal
2. Literature Review (comprehensive) – I began to review initial literature which I collected over the semester, trying now to identify core readings that would help guide my proposal
  • close to interest, yet focussed on research methodology 
  • should focus on research methods and methodology

3. Create a more specific instrument for study
  • if data is collected – analyse data; 
  • if not collected data, do pilot study with instrument and comment
  • can focus on evaluative methods

Begin drafting some ideas
  • what is the problem issue?
  • communicate the problem which led to think that research is needed (keep brief and relate to literature)
eg. threshold concepts: once you understand them the rest of the learning comes easy

AIM – hypothesis used in experimental research – hypothesise answers; 
  • explain and operationalise the concepts mentioned; 
  • as a part of definitions of design explain how it will be measured – example: by students learning threshold concepts they will be able to….
Literature review (approx. 3000) – 3-4 sentence summary

Methods / design of the empirical study
  • step by step logical plan; how will data be collected; describe all key elements (methodological approach – case study; ethnography, action research etc); 
  • techniques for gathering data -related to methodological approach, but more specific (interviews, blogs, wikis files, documentary analysis)
  • construct variables
  • site and sample; key characteristics of participants; describe everything, sample size, how they are chosen, how they will be chosen (random or convenient)
  • instruments: interview scheduled; questions which will be asked; observation schedule etc
  • procedure: timeline: how will you go about collecting data; how long will it take; then data analysis (describe how data will be analysed)
  • anticipated problems and limitations need to be acknowledged
  • ethics

Examples of research to consider:
  • design-based research (design / test / design / test,,,improve each time)
  • applied research / practical; useful for us then it’s ok eg. evaluations)
  • methodological research (how to design a good reliable instrument)

Some of my initial ideas revolved around the use of mobile devices by students in high school. The study would include teacher and students views; auto-ethnographic study; 


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