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Pam Denicolo and Lucinda Becker recognize the importance of developing an effective research proposal for gaining either a place on a research degree program or funding to support research projects and set out to explore the main factors that that proposal writers need to attend to in developing successful proposals of their own. Developing Research Proposals will help readers to understand the context within which their proposal will be read, what the reviewers are looking for and will be influenced by, while also supporting the development of relevant skills through advice and practical activities.
About the Author
Professor (Emeritus) Pam Denicolo, a chartered psychologist, has just retired from her fulltime role at the University of Reading where she developed the Graduate School system and the post-registration professional practice and research element of the School of Pharmacy.
Her passion for supporting and developing graduate students is demonstrated through her contributions as Vice Chair to the UK Council for Graduate Education Executive Committee, as chair of the Society for Research into Higher Education Postgraduate Network and Executive Editor of the Guides for Supervisors Series. She was a key contributor to Vitae’s development of the Researcher Development Framework (RDF) and the QAA’s Doctoral Characteristics Advisory Group, and is currently contributing to the revision of the Code of Practice. She is currently advocate for Graduate Studies at the University of Surrey.
Dr Lucinda Becker, an award winning Senior Lecturer and Teaching Fellow at the University of Reading, has spent her career committed to enhancing the skills of undergraduates and research postgraduates. She has written numerous successful study skills guides for students. As a professional trainer she also works throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, devising and delivering training in communication and management techniques, principally to lawyers, engineers and scientists: real exemplars of generic, transferable skills with impact.
Table of Contents
Overview of the Rook
The Task Before You
What is a Research Proposal?
A Pervasive Task Defined
A Celebration of Difference
First Steps in Meeting the Needs of Your Readership
Finding out about Research Degree Opportunities
Finding out about Research Funding Opportunities
General Preliminary Explorations
When Is a Research Proposal Required and Why?
Sources of Funding
Gaining a Richer View of Funders' Requirements
Gaining Financial Awards for Study
Identifying Potential Supervisors/Advisors
Securing a Place on a Higher Degree by Research Programme
Sections Within a Proposal - What Funders or Research Degree Reviewers Are Looking for
Main Features of Proposals
What Are the Key Aspects of Proposal Preparation?
The Title, Abstract and Covering Letter
The Body of the Proposal - Audience and Style
Developing Your Proposal Draft
Language Register, Voice and Verb Tense
The Conceptual Framework
Stages in the Production of Proposal - Advance Planning
The Constraints of Time
What Should Be Included in the Introduction, Rationale and Literature Review?
Orientating Your Reader to Your Purpose
Preparing for the Literature Review
The Literature Review Itself
The Process of Searching the Literature
Constructing Your Argument
What Is the Significance of the Aims, Objectives, and Research Questions/Hypotheses?
Level of Specificity Required
Clarification of Terms - Aims and Objectives
Research Questions and Hypotheses
Why Paradigm Identification Is Important
The Link between Aims/Objectives and Research Questions/Hypotheses
What Should Be Included in the Methodology/Research Implementation Sections?
Consistency between Purpose and Procedures
Clarification of 'Shorthand' Terms
Methodology - Approach and Justification
Consistency and Justification
Research Using Positivist Approaches
Presenting and Analysing Quantitative Results
Research Using Interpretivist Approaches
Presenting and Analysing Qualitative Results
Using the Right Language
What Financial Considerations Are Required?
The Ground Rules of Budgeting
The Financial Demands of a Research Degree Project
Financial Considerations for All Researchers
Types and Styles of Budgets for Funding Applications
Key Elements of the Budget: Personnel
Key Elements of the Budget: Operating Costs
The Budget after Submission of the Proposal
What Planning and Organisation Details Are Required?
Establishing Goals and Deadlines
Project Planning and Time Management
Schedules and Timelines
Who Are the other Potential Contributors to and Referees for Your Project?
Building Professional Relationships
Building on Overviews of Requirements
Making Contacts and Seeking Help
Developing Collaborations and Partnerships
The Review Process
What Reviewers Are Seeking from Proposals
Reality Check - Grit Your Teeth!
Where Does It End? Reactions, Reflections and Anticipations
Receiving Feedback from Reviewers
Reasons for Rejection
Responding to Feedback
Back to the Beginning
The Continuous Cycle of Proposal Writing
Appendix 1 Funding Sources
Appendix 2 Resources