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A research proposal is a document that describes in a logical fashion an idea that has not been researched. Not only is this idea new, but the research must have significance and you must portray this significance throughout your proposal. Once you have convinced the reader that your idea is significant, you must illustrate how this research is based on past research. It is essential that you relate this proposed research to past research because most new ideas are not completely new, but come from a flaw or absence of information in past research. After establishing this research in the context of other relevant research, it is time to illustrate what activities you will pursue to carry out this research and what resources are necessary to complete these tasks.
When submitting a research proposal to a donor it is important to remember that the readers of these proposals will often have many competing proposals to read. Furthermore, these readers may only have a limited amount of time to review each proposal. Therefore, in order to attract the readers’ attention your research proposal must be enthusiastic. You must entice the readers to continue to read your proposal. Some suggestions to capture enthusiasm are stating the significance of the research in terms of statistics or by stating potential benefits of your research in terms of what will happen if this research is not carried out. Furthermore, you want to leave an impression on the readers so that they will recall your proposal after viewing many other proposals. In addition to enthusiasm and impression, you need to reassure the readers of your knowledge of the past research, but also the capability to perform good research that will produce the expected end products. Presenting a model of clarity will leave both an impression and reassure the reader of your capabilities.In summary, the proposal should convey enthusiasm-the positive attitude of the researcher, and give the impression that the researcher is well-organized, knowledgeable and skillful. It should also convey a feeling of trust between the reader and the researcher. Thus the proposal is not just a document but an instrument to present an overall impression about the researcher/research team.
A proposal should begin with an idea that you are generally interested in and not an idea that a sponsor has initiated. Once an idea is formulated you want to generate a list of activities that would achieve this idea. After a set of activities has been formed, a sponsor should be found. If you know of a potential sponsor then submit a “Intent to submit” card. If you do not have a potential sponsor, then begin a search for a sponsor (Foundation Center publications(New York, NY): Foundation Fundamentals: A Guide for Grantseekers, Foundation Grants Index Annual, Source Book Profitless, Foundation Directory). If you are unable to find a sponsor, then reformulate your project but do not lose your main objectives. Once sponsors have been chosen, select several sponsors and contact them for information and an application. Then submit a “Intent to Submit “ card. Lets know consider a list of donors who would fund your study in your country. Some of the donors that are funding policy research in sub-Saharan Africa are Rockefeller Foundation, Ford foundation, USAID, DIFD, SIDA, CIDA, and SDA arePresenter: Ask the participant to respond with their own information on potential donors in their country and list them on the flip-chart.
After you have selected sponsors, reevaluate your activities and design your study. When designing the study keep in mind the sponsor program’s goals. After preparing a list of activities and the study design, estimate your cost to make sure the sponsor will cover the cost of the project. If the cost estimates match the sponsors expected donation, then prepare the proposal to the sponsor’s specification. If your budget is less than the sponsor’s projected donation, then either revise your activities and budget to improve the study design or find a co-sponsor. If your budget is greater than the sponsor’s projected donation, then adjust activities to reduce cost or find another sponsor. If the budgets match, then submit your proposal for consideration. Exercise:Before preceding further: ask the participants to check the web sites of the donors, print out key mission statement and and file them in a folder, which should be kept with the manual for future reference.
To ensure a true portrayal of your proposal and to clarify your intended purpose make sure your title reflects the content and problem of the proposal. The title needs to be clear, concise and only one sentence. In order to create a clear and concise title avoid jargon, words with multiple interpretation and flippancy. A word that has several interpretations will cloud the intended picture. Furthermore, flippancy, which is unbecoming levity or lightness in respect to grave or sacred matters, may create a negative attitude towards the research team from the donors. To avoid any problems with the sponsor do not include controversial terms in your title. Furthermore, the title should reflect the mission of the sponsor. The title should not give an impression of ‘so what?’ It should give an answer to the question ‘so what.”
An abstract is also referred to as an executive summary or summary. The purpose of the abstract is to summarize key information that supports the basis of your project. It is also used to portray the significance of the research and its potential contributions to the field.
The introduction should provide a brief background to the research in order to emphasize the importance of this project. Then you should describe your goals that will allow you to complete this project. In addition to establishing the importance of the project, you should establish your experience in the project area by stating recent research or training in this topic area. Moreover, you should relate this research to the goals or missions of the sponsoring organization. This section should lead logically to the problem statement. In presenting this section remember to be concise and to not use jargon.
As already been mentioned, this section is great for you to show how the results of this project are generalizable to the larger field by illustrating how this project relates to an important problem within the field. In order to present this material in a more generalized fashion, you should mention how this project is a betterment to humankind. Furthermore, emphasize the project’s contribution to theory and knowledge of this phenomena. Finally, transform the knowledge into a concrete example that can be applied and then describe the value of this application.
After completing the problem statement one should use the following checklist to verify that he/she has included all pertinent information in this section. Did you establish the importance and significance of the problem? Did you justify why this problem is important to the sponsor? Did you portray that the study was feasible? Feasible in the sense that it is focused enough that the ultimate objectives will be achieved. Did you arouse the reader’s interest and encourage him/her to read further? Did you relate the problem to your organization’s goals? And finally, Did you state the outcome in terms of human need and societal benefits?If you can answer yes to each of these questions, then you are well on your way to writing an excellent proposal.
The literature review will build a more in depth understanding of the project by anchoring this new projected research in past research. This section will indicate to the reviewer the researcher’s grasps of the field, but also one’s ability to critique past research. In addition to indicating the researcher’s grasp of the topic, this section will also inform the reviewer the breadth and depth of one’s reading. In concluding this section the reviewer should understand how this project contributes to the forward movement of this subject area. Note: Indicate that the review of literature for the proposal should be different from that of the literature review for a journal paper. It is important to review the past literature and to analyze the present gap in the literature for addressing the present research problem and to identify the role of this research in contributing to the new knowledge in the field.
The objectives form the basis for the proposal to be judge because they provide a picture of what you plan to accomplish. Furthermore, if you can state the objectives in a clear and concise manner, then you are portraying to the reviewer that you, the researcher, has a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. In addition, the objectives form the foundation for the rest of the proposal. For example, if a budget entry or activity does not correspond with an objective then that budget entry or activity should be excluded from the project. The objectives also assess the appropriateness of the study’s proposed methods because each objective should briefly describe output and how to achieve this output.The purpose of the study is to contribute to information generation for policymaking for solving your problem. In general, the objectives is to restate the title in an overall statement. Specific objectives will be derived from the sub-components of the title, methodology, information that is generated, and its final use in policymaking.
Nine items can be included as part of the objectives. The objectives should always includes the measurable outcomes of the study and how these outcomes will effect the targeted area. It is also necessary to briefly mention the methods that will be used to reach the intended outcomes and the variables that will be used in this project. Also, you should identify the interrelationship among the variables. The objective statements should provide a way to evaluate the outcome of the study or provide a sign of “success.” Finally, when the reviewer reads the objectives, they should convey to the reviewer the intended purpose of the project.
The purpose of the Project Description section is to elaborate on what activities the study will undertake and how these activities will accomplish the objectives. Furthermore, it allows a detailed summary of how these activities will flow from one event to another and how these activities are interrelated. Finally, it provides an approach for the expertise and activities of the staff to be described.
The procedural section consist of 6 sub-sections. These sub-sections are: 1. Population and sample 2. Design 3. Data and instrumentation 4. Analysis 5. Work Plan 6. Expected end products.Each of these will be fully discussed over the next several slides.
When discussing the end products, the researcher should also discuss how the results will be disseminated. Provide anticipated titles of journal articles, monograms, conferences and workshop presentations along with expected target dates. In addition to informing the sponsor how you plan to disseminate the results, it is important to explain why it is important to disseminate the results and how you will reach a variety of audiences. It is also essential to consider the impact that these results will have on the general public and how these results will be used. Presenting a communication strategy for your research findings will help in getting a positive response from the donors.Also include the papers presented at the conferences and upcoming workshops. It may be useful even to mention the journals that you are considering to publish your paper.
It is very important to include a section on the personnel who will be involved in the project. If the director of the project is already known this will help the acceptance of your proposal. The proposal’s appendix should include a copy of the director’s curriculum vitae (this will be elaborated later). In addition to the curriculum vitae, a paragraph stating the director’s competence and relevant experience is essential. If the director is lacking experience, then highlight training that might substitute for experience. This section should also describe the qualifications of each key staff members and a one page curriculum vitea for each key staff member should be in the appendix. Along with stating the qualification of the key staff members, the responsibilities that each member will be in charge of should be described. Finally, each individual’s summary should detail how the researcher’s expertise fits this particular project.
A budget describes the monetary support that will be needed to accomplish the objectives of the research project. The budget should reflect the research plan; therefore, is an entry in the budget that is not included in the activities should be eliminated from the budget. A budget also needs to be credible and realistic.
There are 2 types of costs: direct and indirect. Direct costs include: 1. Personnel 2. Subcontracts and services 3. Materials and supplies 4. Communications 5. Reports and publications 6. Travel 7. Equipment rental and purchaseEach of these direct costs will be elaborated in further detail over the next couple of slides.
Indirect cost is basically the overhead cost. It can included the cost of space, heat, institutional administration, accounting, library resources and basic communication service. The indirect cost is usually calculated as a percentage of the direct cost.
In the rationale section of the budget, explicitly explain how budget figures were determines. Make sure you explain how personnel cost, indirect cost and and fringe benefits (avantagesociaux) were calculated. If the project is multi-year, usually a budget for the first year will be accepted. However, future budgets will need to explain changes from the previous budget. Finally, it is useful to tie the budget notes to the work plan.
An appendix is used to attach relevant information that is not required but is pertinent to the study. Before adding pages to an appendix, find out if the number of pages in the appendix counts for the total allotment of pages. Also, find out if the appendix will be past onto the reviewers or removed from the proposal before they are sent to the reviewer. If the appendix are removed from the proposal be sure to include information that is pertinent in the study, but remember to not go over the total number of pages allotted. The content of an appendix can include cooperation letter from administrators, sample items of new or unfamiliar tests and technical information on their validity, description of unfamiliar statistical or research procedures, samples of intended products, reprints of your articles, definition of terms, and subcontract data.
Other items that can be included in the appendix are cooperative agreements, letters of support from collaborators/ cooperators, brochures about your research organization, department research reports, membership of research advisory boards, an index, and charts such as proposal section index to evaluation criteria, personnel by required experience, detailed work plan analysis, personnel by task chart, organizational chart, textual or conceptual charts. If an item in the appendix is very important or referred to often tab it for easy assess.
Several studies have been perform to determine what are the most common reason why proposals fail. The three section that rank the highest for proposal failure are in the procedure section, problem section, and personnel sections. There are reason that lie outside these three sections, but the majority of the reason for why a proposal fail exist within these sections. The procedure section is the most common area for why proposal failed amongst the studies that were consulted. The three key problems that existed in this section were: 1. Insufficient, vague, or unclear description 2. Discrepancies between the objectives and procedures 3. Design flawsThe five areas that cause proposals to fail in the problem statement are: 1. Limited Significance 2. Local significance 3. Statements were nebulous, diffuse, or unclear 4. Insufficiently limited studies 5. Lack of theoretical base
There are six areas that cause proposals to fail the personnel area. They are: 1. Lack of training or experience 2. Unfamiliarity with the literature or methods 3. Poor prior research record 4. Heavy alliance on inexperienced associates 5. Low investment of researchers’ time 6. Insufficient information on personnel and their duties