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How to Write a Research Proposal

Author: shuvo, Posted on Sunday, June 04 @ 05:34:24 IST by RxPG  

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Research

Hope the following piece will be of help to budding researchers in medicine.

Typical components of a research proposal:
Abstract
Background: Problem identification, problem definition and problem justification
Goals and objective
Research questions and hypothesis
Stydy design
Methods
Analysis plan
Plan for interpretation
Plan for dissemination
Logistics
Work schedule
Bibliography
Appendices

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A. Background:
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It contains-

a. problem identification: This is a statement of problem which requires research.

What is problem?

This is the discrepancy/difference between the real situation (what is) and the expected situation (what should be)

b. Problem definition: This is obtained from the available data.

- Literature review
- Observation
- Expert opinions
- Service statistics

This at least should cover-

-Incidence and prevalence of the problem
-Distribution of the problem- geographical, population group, seasonality
-Possible explanations for the problem

c. Problem justification:

Here is to justify why the problem requires research, this usually covers-

-Relevance to the present context / current ness of the problem
-Size and sufferings of the population
-Public concerns regarding the problem

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B. Goal
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The goal describes the potential impact of the research ( what is expected to happen). The potential impact of the research could only be achieved if certain assumptions are valid. But these assumptions are not explicit in the statement of goal. The goal usually goes quite far in the future. A research proposal typically has one goal. The goal usually has policy implication.

Example of goal: To reduce infant mortality and morbidity in the rural areas of the country X.

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C. Objective:
------------------------------------------------------------
This describes what will happen through a research.

Typically it describes,
- Who, what, why, whom, when, where etc
- Reseach proposal may have several objectives, many researches break down the objectives into immediate or specific objectives.

Example: The institute of x will conduct a case-control study in the district during November-December 2006 to determine the factors which influence drop-out of leprosy patients from the treatment.

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D. Hypothesis:
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This is a statement of the expected association/ relationship between one or more independent variables and the dependent variable which the study will establish or nullify. It usually guide the research as far as data collection and analysis is concerned.

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E. Study design:
------------------------------------------------------------
This should describe research design, which usually could be of the following types in the epidemiological research.

- Retrospective ( case-control)
- Prospective ( cohort, cilinical trial, case-control)
- Cross-sectional

Selecting an appropriate research design involves a cautious consideration of ethical issues ( eg. Violation of people’s rights and dignity, denial of services that otherwise would be available) and a balancing of technical issues against practical and administrative issues

------------------------------------------------------------
F. Methods:
------------------------------------------------------------
This section describes step by step instructions for carrying out the research.

- Study context ( geographical, social, political, environmental etc)
- Study population
- Sampling ( element, size, techniques)
- Variables ( conceptual and operational definitions)
- Data collection methods
- Data collection instruments
- Ethical considerations
- Data quality control ( pre-testing, training, supervision, re-interview, consistency check etc)

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G. Analysis plan:
------------------------------------------------------------
This section describes,

- Coding
- Cleaning
- Entry
- Descriptive statistics (frequency, central tendencies, associations)
- Inferential statistics

------------------------------------------------------------
H. Plan for interpretation:
------------------------------------------------------------
This section contains statements regarding,

- Generalizability of research finding
- Limitation of the study
- Potential contributions of the study

------------------------------------------------------------
I. Dissemination plan:
------------------------------------------------------------
This section describes,

- Type and frequency of reports
- Types and number of publications
- Number of formal and informal meetings with policy makers and managers of the programme
- Number of workshops, seminars and conferences and the audience/participants

------------------------------------------------------------
J. Logistics:
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It describes the budget along with budgetary justifications

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K. Work schedule:
------------------------------------------------------------
This is usually in the form of a Gantt chart. ( A table showing different activities pitted against times scales for expected completion)

------------------------------------------------------------
L. Bibliography:
------------------------------------------------------------
This the list of resource (books, publications) which are used for developing the research proposal

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M. Appendices:
------------------------------------------------------------
Attachments to support the proposal (Operational definitions, questionnaires etc)

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N. Abstract:
------------------------------------------------------------
This is a summary of the proposal, usually a page or less. Although usually this is the first component of the proposal, it is written in the last, when all other components are completed.

It should describe following:
-Research problem
-Research objectives
-Expected implications
-Methods
-Responsible agency
-Study location and schedule
-Resource requirements



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