Education Research Proposal Writing Guide

Strong Link between the Research Proposal and the Education Field

The education research proposal will demonstrate how you will focus on a particular field of intellectual endeavor, such as special needs education, innovation in education, differentiation in education, technology in education and so on and how your field of inquiry relates to its broader intellectual context.

Literature Review

To devise the central question for the research proposal, a thorough going literature review must be conducted. Issued to be addressed by the literature review include:

  • How the major research question to be explored fits within the larger framework of the nominated area of education as a whole.
  • An historical overview concerning how the chosen issue has been viewed historically within the discipline of study, in this case the educational field. This includes identifying major trends in thinking about the research area, as well as areas of significant contention and debate.
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  • The literature review must also justify why your proposed area of research is worthy of academic attention, by identifying limits of existing research and how the intended investigation will potentially complement the existing body of knowledge within the field.
  • Ensure your proposed topic for research is original and not a duplication of research already completed. This can be done by combining an effective literature review using comprehensive database searches, combined with a consultation process with your thesis supervisor who will have a broad working knowledge of the field. If your college has directed your research area, they will be doing so within the broadly defined academic research goals of the particular college faculty.

Effective Note Taking for Effective Education Literature Review

Educational Journal articles have abstracts which provide a concise overview of the aim of the research paper, as well as its methods and findings. Read the abstract of the journal articles located through the search process, to determine the level of relevance of the article to the topic.

If the article is highly relevant, read a copy either online pasted within a word document to facilitate electronic highlighting and annotation, or in hard copy format to facilitate highlighting and annotation.
Annotation involves asking questions and making comments in response to the text, engaging in a dialogue with the text’s writer about the impact of their paper on the prompt you have to work with.

Keep notes well structured by using headings, sub-headings and bullet points, distinguishing main points from examples, illustrations and direct extracts. Note the page reference of any direct quotes to facilitate accurate referencing of the source, should you choose to use it within your paper.

Establish Draft Works Cited as you Research, not Retrospectively

In constructing your reading list, establish a works cited draft section and record the literature sources as you encounter them. It is much easier to note the source of relevant information as you make notes, than to do so retrospectively.

Familiarity with Organisational Requirements

To be certain that the research proposal you devise complies with the requirements of the academic department who will oversee the research and assess it, check what the proposal’s organizational requirements are and ask for samples of such proposals to facilitate easy comprehension of the proposal’s components. Typically, these requirements include: introduction, literature review, rationale or justification, the scope and limitations of the research; the proposed research methodology and why it is desirable; method of date analysis, time table for the research to be completed and associated costs where necessary.

Methodological Issues and Ethical Considerations

The Literature review should include an investigation of the type of research methodologies that are well suited to addressing the kind of research question who wish to pursue. Qualitative and quantitative methods may both be appropriate at different stages of the research process, so this dimension of the execution of the thesis should be investigated, so that the research methodology can be effectively selected and justified. Where data is to be collected, the collection management process should be described, noting how the integrity of the research process will be preserved. Methodological problems should be forecast and discussed.

The potential and actual ethical issues pertaining to the research process should be identified in the proposal with clear indications as to how they will be managed.

Review Time

A generous amount of time should be timetabled into reviewing the thesis once it is written, to allow amendments, revisions and refinements to be made.

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