Assignment 4 Guidance Assignment 4: Research Proposal • Length: 1500

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Assignment 4 Guidance
Assignment 4: Research Proposal
• Length: 1500 words (+/-10%)
• Weighing: 50%
• Format: See later in slides
• Covers:
• Draws on your understanding from all the topics but particularly Topics 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
Late submissions
• Late submission will lose 5% per day
• Assignment extensions need to be applied for via special consideration procedures
• Form found on ‘My Enrolment’
• For details on special consideration visit: /student-administration/special-consideration/
Assignment overview
• You are required to prepare a proposal that will set out how you plan to go about addressing your research problem developed in Assignment 2 and reviewed in Assignment 3.
• The proposal will map out the research elements you propose to use to convincingly address the research problem.
• Explain and justify the decisions you have made for your research design, data collection methods and questions, sample selection and data analysis techniques. Relevant ethical considerations must also be covered.
• The proposal also involves the development of a questionnaire or interview outline/format in Qualtrics.
• Whether it is a questionnaire or interview format will depend on your research design and data collection method choices.
• Include in an appendix.
• Explain and justify questions and style in the proposal.
Assignment overview (cont’d)
• Important note:
Your assignment is an exercise in planning a hypothetical research project, not doing it.
Under no circumstances are you to approach any individual or organisation for assistance with any part of this assignment.
Assignment instruction 1
Your research proposal should address the following (and use these headings in your submitted document):
1. Problem Statement and Research Objectives* – state your problem statement and research objectives* at the start of your research proposal so your marker can refer to these when reviewing your proposal.
Tips for problem statement and research objectives
• You may revise these somewhat in light of your all your learning in the unit.
A problem statement is a concise statement of the purpose of your study – be specific
Grammar and expression should be carefully worked
To find the sub problems you need to identify the steps required to fulfill your problem statement
Use instruction words like describe, examine, explore…
Should reflect the scope of the project – geographic, temporal, demographic
Make sure that the sub objectives are relevant to solve the overall ‘problem’
Assignment instruction 2
2. Research design – explain and justify the methodological approach you propose to guide your research proposal using relevant literature.
Tips for the research design section
• Provide a brief explanation and justification of research design in terms of:
• Information requirements (exploratory, descriptive, explanatory research)
• Approach (quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods research)
• Broad source of data (primary or secondary)
• Methodology (e.g. survey, case study, grounded theory)
• Link decisions to the research problem
• For more on explanation and justification (as well as appropriate references) see later slides.
Assignment instruction 3
3. Data Collection Methods – explain and justify the methods you propose for data collection and data management using relevant literature.
Tips for the data collection methods section
• Examples of data collection methods are various types of questionnaires and interviews.
• Your choice should be linked back to the research problem and the research design elements. For example:
• It would not be appropriate to use an online questionnaire for an exploratory, qualitative, grounded theory design.
• It would not be appropriate to use an in-depth interview for a descriptive, quantitative, survey design.
• If we swap the data collection methods in the above examples, we do have a coherent, appropriate choice of data collection method for the design.
• Include a brief explanation of how the method will be implemented.
• Briefly explain any plan to pre-test questionnaires/interview formats (and pilot test questionnaires).
• For more on explanation and justification (as well as appropriate references) see later slides.
Assignment instruction 4
4. Qualtrics – design and include your Qualtrics questionnaire and/or interview format and explain and justify the questions and style of questions you use with respect to collecting appropriate data to address your objectives.
Tips for the Qualtrics survey section
• Include your Qualtrics questionnaire/interview format as an Appendix in your Assignment 4 (export it into Word from Qualtrics – see Topic 5b additional resources for instructions).
• In this section in the body of your assignment, you need to explain and justify the inclusions and design. For example:
• Which questions cover which concepts in your research problem?
• Why did you choose to ask the question(s) in the way you have? (e.g. using valid measures from previous research on the concept; open-ended question to capture additional categories not evident in the literature; or, for an interview, asking questions in different ways to triangulate, or using probing questions)
• What overall design principles did you consider? (e.g. order of questions, length, minimising response bias, minimising interviewer bias)
Assignment instruction 5
5. Sample Selection – explain and justify the sample selection process relevant to your research proposal.
Tips for the sample selection section
• In the sampling section you must:
• Define your target population (draws on problem statement, including scope)
• Whether probability or non-probability sampling will be used and why. Link the “why” to the research problem, the availability of a sampling frame and the research design.
• What sampling technique (e.g. simple random, stratified, purposive etc.) will be used and why.
• What the planned sample size will be and why.
• For a quantitative sample, you could use a number based on, for example, Neuman’s guidelines (see Topic 7 slides)
• For a qualitative sample, while you can estimate an approximate number, it is sufficient to justify your sample size here referring to the point of saturation
Assignment instruction 6
6. Data Analysis Techniques – explain and justify how you would propose to analyse and present the data collected.
Tips for the data analysis techniques section
• Explain your proposed analysis in the points below in the specific context of your research problem, research design and data collection methods
• Quantitative data analysis:
• Explain your univariate analysis (e.g. frequency counts, central tendency measures) and presentation (e.g. tables, charts) for each variable and why.
• If relevant to your problem statement, explain what bivariate analysis you will undertake using which variables and why
• Justification of choices should involve matching methods to the level of measurement of your variables. E.g. The mode is the appropriate measure of central tendency for a variable with a nominal level of measurement (Reference 20XX).
Tips for the data analysis techniques section
• Explain your proposed analysis in the points below in the specific context of your research problem, research design and data collection methods
• Qualitative data analysis:
• Explain the procedures you will undertake to analyse the data. For example:
• What data you will have (e.g. notes, recordings) and how you will assemble it.
• How you will reduce the data
• How you will interpret the data (recognise patterns and interconnections)
• How you will verify your interpretations
Tips for explanation and justification
• In thinking about how to write your explanation and justification for the sections above, consider:
• Why have you chosen that design/method/style/procedure?
• Which alternatives did you consider and reject? Why did you reject them? This can sometimes help you justify why you chose the ones you did.
• Good idea to include a paragraph on the designs/methods/ procedures that could be applied to your study – noting their advantages and disadvantages. Here you should use some references (most likely to research methods textbooks).
• Then narrow down to the one you have selected. You could justify with a reference. Also ensure you directly state why it is more appropriate for your research problem.
Assignment instruction 7
• 7. Ethical Considerations – explain how you
would consider the ethical issues associated with the research proposal.
Tips for the Ethical Considerations Section
• Briefly outline how your project will be ethically conducted:
• How you will obtain informed consent
• The risks to participants in your study, and how you will protect them from those risks
• How the confidentiality or anonymity of participants will be maintained.
• How the collected data be safely and securely stored
Assignment instruction 8
8. Provide a reference list (Harvard) for any reference sources you use to justify your final research proposal.
These references will be cited in-text.
Reference Style: Harvard
• Follow Harvard style carefully.
• See Unit Content/Topic 3 Additional Resources/ Guide to Harvard Style. This guide provides you with examples and everything you need to know about the Harvard referencing style.
• Use feedback on A3 and compare your A3 referencing to the Guide to Harvard style. Make adjustments as necessary for A4.
• See also the Harvard style videos in Learning Zone:
Marking Criteria
• Your Assignment 4 will be marked based on the following criteria. See the rubric for the performance level descriptors for each criterion.
Criteria Marks %
Research design 20
Data collection methods 20
Qualtrics 10
Sample selection 10
Ethical considerations 10
Proposed data analysis techniques 10
Presentation and clarity of the proposal 10
Referencing 10
Total % marks 100
Format of Assignment 4
• Title Page
• Problem Statement and Sub-problems
• Research Design
• Data Collection Methods
• Questionnaire/Interview [choose appropriate] Choices
• Sample Selection
• Ethical Considerations
• Data Analysis Techniques
• Reference List
• Appendices
• Qualtrics Questionnaire or Qualtrics Interview Format
Format of Assignment 4
• Just so you know…
• Technically, other elements would be included in a research proposal including background, significance, scope, literature review, timeline and budget.
• However, you have already done some of this in earlier assessments. Do not include it again in A4.
• As this is a hypothetical research project, a timeline and budget is not needed.
Word limit and assignment sections
• The title page, problem statement and subproblems, reference list, and appendices are not included in the 1500 word limit
• Use headings corresponding with the required sections in the previous slide within your assignment
• You may use sub-headings within those major sections.
• You may number the sections if you wish.
• Insert page numbers
• Use 3rd person (instead of writing ‘I’, refer to yourself as ‘the researcher’ or similar term)
• Use consistent formatting (e.g. all headings of the same level are in the same font, size and colour) to your proposal looks neat.
• Edit your work carefully to maintain a professional presentation. See “The process of editing” quick guide in Unit Content/Topic 3 Additional Resources.
Final notes
• Start early – proposals written the night before the due date are very unlikely to present a coherent plan for research

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