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Developmtmt of a Research Proposal on the Problem

On the basis of statement of the problem, -you can now prepare a research proposal for your dissertation work. Research proposal is also called ‘synopsis ‘of research work to be undertaken. , by the researcher. Research proposal is the basis of a research activity. It also conveys the scope of research work that you intend to-carry out. It is basically a plan of action, like the blueprint which an architect designs before construction of a house. Therefore, if the proposal is properly prepared, the rest of the work in the process of research becomes smooth and easy. While you prepare your research proposal you keep the following components in view.

Components of a Research Proposal: Essential Set of Questions to be Addressed

While you prep e a research proposal for dissertation work, you need to be clear about a set of relevant questions. The answers to these questions constitute the different components or aspects of a research proposal. In the Table 1, the questions to be addressed by you and the corresponding answer compon ats that form parts of your research proposal are given. Please go through them carefully because while you develop the research proposal for dissertation work, your proposal needs to incorpo te such components.

Table 1: Questions and Corresponding Components of Research Proposal

SI.No.QuestionsComponents of Proposal
1.What do you propose to study?Title of the study
2.Why do you intend to conduct in the proposed study?Context, justification/rationale of the study
3.How do you define the study?Statement of the problem
3(a).How do you define the terms used in the title of the study?Operational definitions of the terms
3(b).What do you intend to address through your study?Research questions
3(c).What do you intend to achieve through your study?Objectives of the study
3(d).What tentative solutions do you formulate for research questions?Hypotheses
3(e).What will be the scope of-your proposal?Delimitations of the study
4.What earlier researches tell you about the research study?Review ofrelated literature
5.How do you propose to conduct the Study?Methodology of the study
5(a).What is the total number of units for which the study is proposed?Population of the study
5(b).What is the small number of units to be selected for the purpose of conducting the study?Sample
5(c).What means do you propose to use for collection of research evidences?Tools and techniques of data collection
5(d).How do you propose to collect research evidences?Procedure of data collection
5(e).How do you propose to analyse the obtained evidences?Methods and techniques of data analysis
6,What implications would the findings of your proposed study have for practice of adult education?Results/findings, conclusions,generalisations and  suggestions

From the questions and corresponding answer-components in Table 1, you get clear idea of the sequence of the components (sections or parts) of a research proposal. Let us discuss each of them, in brief.

  • Title of the Problem/Proposal: The title of the research proposal is same as the title of the On the first page of the proposal, the title of the problem is mentioned along with name of the researcher, name of the supervisor, and name of the concerned School of the University to which your research proposal’is to be submitted. The title should not be too lengfay or too short and should be precise and explicit.
  • Introduction: This is the first section of the proposal. Some researchers name this caption (i.e. Introduction) as “Background of the study”. In this section, the topic of the study is duly You will introduce your problem area briefly. You will spell out as to how

the problem emerged and why is it significant in social context in general and adult education contexts in particular. Some researchers use separate caption ‘Rationale’ after ‘Introduction’, while some others use it as a sub-section under ‘Introduction’ itself , dealing with justification for conducting the proposed study.

  • Formulation, definition and statement of the problem: Statement of the problem is not exactly the same as the title of the problem. It has a definite place in the research Statement of the problem is primarily an expansion of the title of the problem. You will formulate, define and state the problem by focusing on certain aspects such as the research questions it attempts to answer, the objectives it intends to achieve, the hypotheses, if any, it attempts to test, and the delimitations of the study that determine its scope.
  • brief review of related literature: While some researchers use it as separate section, some others often present it after the ‘Rationale of the study’ or integrate with it. The review ofrelated literature highlights two aspects: i) the theoretical background of the problem, and
  1. ii) the research studies already conducted in tlw If the area selected is quite new and the concepts involved are unknown or not explored at length, then the researcher sho,.uld also describe the concepts in brief. By reviewing several related studies, the researcher may

describe the most important and recent ones that indicate research trends, if any, pertinent to the problem. In other words, it is not necessary to discuss all the related studies in detail. It may not be exhaustive but it should touch upon important aspects of related studies tracing the roots of the problem in the existing literature that warrants further research and exploration. It should demonstrate the grip of the researcher over the field including awareness of recent developments in the area.

Suppose you are interested in studying the ‘Problems of women learners in attending adult education centres in rural areas’, you may review related studies which have been carried out till the recent past. The review should discuss some important findings and their implications for the proposed study. It should focus on the essence of what has been done so far in the area along with insights gained from the review and indicate your review (views) of related literature including the research gaps found in the area. Research gaps so identified should provide a rationale or strong basis for justification for conducting your proposed study.

  • Research Qvestions: While proposing to conduct any research study, the researcher should frame certain research questions that require answers. The research questions you frame usually lead to framing of objectives of the study and the hypotheses, if any, to be tested on the basis of evidences/data to be obtained.
  • Objectives: Generally, the objectives are framed keeping in view the research questions raised. Objectives are the basic foundations and the focus of the research. These guide your entire process of research, and hence you need to formulate the objectives clearly, or else you are more likely to wander aimlessly in the field of &tudy without achieving worthwhile Neither the list of objectives should be too lengthy nor should the objectives be ambiguous. So, the objectives of your study should be precise and stated clearly to indicate what you intend to investigate.
  • Hypotheses: formulation of hypotheses is not essential for all studies – some studies require hypotheses while others do not. This is so because the formulation of hypotheses has relevance to the objectives of the study, which need to be tested on the basis of evidence. These are formulated in such studies where some prediction of results is possible based on certain perceived relationship or difference between selected variables . For example, in experimental type of research, a researcher is interested in making predictions about the outcomes of the experiment or what the results are expected to show. Hence, formulation of hypotheses is very important in experimental On the other hand, in the historical, descriptive or exploratory research, the researcher may be interested in investigating the history of an educational institution/system or the happening of an event, phenomenon, etc, and, thus, may not have a basis for making a prediction of results. Therefore, a hypothesis may not be required in such fact-finding studies. Further, it may be noted that when the purpose of the research is to find facts as they exist, a hypothesis may not be required.

Hypotheses, where required, are formulated keeping in view the theoretical constructs, previous researches and logical analysis. Formulation of the hypotheses helps in two ways:

  1. a well-grounded hypothesis is an indication that a researcher has adequate knowledge in the area; ii) the hypothesis gives direction to collection, analysis and interpretation of the data. A good hypothesis must be testable, have explanatory power, state the expected relationship between variables; be consistent with the existing body of knowledge; and be stated as simply and concisely as

A hypothesis can be stated in directional or non-directional form. The hypothesis which indicates the direction of the expected differences or relationships is termed as directio al hypothesis. Suppose you are interested to study, “Socio-economic factors influencing the literacy achievement of adult learners”. For this problem, you may formulate directional hypothesis as below:

 There will be significant positive relationship between income level and literacy achievement of adult learners.

Or, for the same problem, you.can also formulate non-directional hypothesis which does not specify any direction of expected differences or relationships. For example,

There will be significant difference between se.x and literacy achievement of adult learners.

Both directional and non-directionalhypotheses are called research hypotheses. To test the research hypotheses statistically, null hypotheses are formulated. In this example, the null hypothesis is formulated as below:

There will be no significant difference between the mean scores of income level and literacy achievement of adult learners.

For more details about the hypotheses you are advised to refer to Unit 11 ofMES-016.

  • Operational definitions of terms: The title of every research problem involves certain key or technical terms, which have some special connotation in the context  of the study. Hence, it is always desirable to define such There are two types of definitions: i) constitutive definitions, and ii) operational definitions. A constitutive definition elucidates a term and perhaps gives more insight into the phenomena described by the term. An operational definition is one, which ascribes specific meaning to a concept in the context of the study that must be performed in order to measure the concept, e.g. the word ‘achievement’ has many meanings constructed by the researcher, but its operational definition will have specific meaning in particular context of literacy programme. It needs to be defined connoting its definite contextual meaning, which gets ascribed only after conducting the particular study.
  • Methodology·: Under this section, you will describe the details of the method of research proposed to be used for conducting the study (viz. historical, descriptive, experimental, etc), population, sampling procedure, tool for data collection, procedure of data collection and data
    1. Method: You may revisit Block-2 (Units 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9) of MES-016: Educational Research, to recall different types of studies in educational research viz. descriptive research, experimental research, qualitative research, philosophical studies, historical research, etc. which you had already studied.. The method or type of research will specify the nature of the data and their treatment in the For.example, the nature of the data and their treatment in experimental type of research are different from those of descriptive types of researches. So, you will specify the method of research you intend to adopt for the proposed study.

Population and Sample: Recall the sampling techniques you studied in Unit 12 of MES-OJ 6: Educational The knowledge of sampling enables you to describe the population, the sample and the procedure of drawing the sample for the study. Justification should also [email protected]µven for the choice of sampling. It is therefore essential that you describe the size of population, the structure and distribution of its units and the size and type of the sample for the proposed study.

Tools and Techniques of Data Collection: In Unit 13 of course MES-016, you studied in detail about tools and techniques of data collection. Further, we will present wholesome picture of these instruments or tools and techniques under sub-sub-section

4.3.1.3 below which will be useful to you in describing the tools and techniques that you propose to select/develop for collection of data for the study. In case you propose to use any of the existing standardized’tools, information regarding their validity, reliability, norms, etc, should be mentioned along with its suitability for your study. Otherwise, if you want to construct your own research tool, the procedure you intend to follow for its development should be described in brief.

  1. Procedure of Data Analysis: Here, the researcher should indicate the procedure he/she proposes to follow for analysis including the qualitative and quantitative (statistical) techniques intended to b used in the It is more meaningful if the purpose for which a particular technique will be used is also highlighted in terms of its relevance to the objectives and hypotheses of the study. In case of historical research, it is necessary to throw light on the methods ofinternal and external criticism in the analysis of historical data. In case of documentary studies, the nature of documentary data and methods or techniques of analysis should also be highlighted in the research proposal.
  • References: This is the last section of the research proposal. In this section, the researcher should provide details of all the authors and sources referred to in the In so doing, the specific details such as the names of the authors, the title and other relevant details of the publications- books,journals, reports, etc – referred/consulted should be specified in this section.

From the procedural guidelines (See sub-section 3.1 above) related to your dissertation work, you are aware that you are required to submit your proposal/synopsis developed covering the above aspects. In order to provide you clarity about research proposal, i.e. as to how it looks like, two sample research proposals have been developed and appended (See Appendix – II and Appendix – III). You should not use these proposals.for your dissertation work as they are not your researchproposals. Rather you have to develop your own research proposal based on your area of interest. In order to help you identify a problem/topic for your study/dissertation work, a list of suggested problems/topics is given in Appendix- IV for your consideration and guidance. Now, you can and should attempt to develop your proposal on a problem of your choice, in consultation with your supervisor. .Once it is developed you are required to submit it along with duly filled-in prescribed proforma/format (See Appendix- V) to the concerned Regional Centre for approval.

As soon as you get the approval, you have to proceed with its execution accordingly in systematic manner.

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