Assessment guidance – RESEARCH PROPOSAL (50%, word count 2,000 words)
The research proposal must be submitted online through Turnitin by 11:55
pm. on Sunday 17
th May 2020
The proposal should demonstrate detailed consideration of your research question, research
methods, relevant literature, and ethics implications. It should include the following sections
(Please notice that there is a 2,000 word MAXIMUM limit (+/- 10%) – more than 2200 or less
than 1800 words and you will receive proportional penalty. The 2000 words requirement does
NOT include References or any Appendix:
TITLE: The title of your proposed research project
ABSTRACT: A summary of the research proposal to include: Background; Aims/objectives;
hypothesis; research methods; data analysis; significance and benefits of the study.
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND: This is the most important part of the proposal. You will
find that it takes up most of the space. It is suggested that this part should provide the following
a) What are the background and rationale of your project? You should provide an
overview of your project area and the justification for your project by critically
reviewing at least 10 relevant research articles in this area. Please note that book
or review article is not acceptable to be used as any of these 10 research
articles. However, in addition to these 10 research articles, you are allowed to cite
more references which can include books and review articles.
b) What is your research question? You should form a specific and focused research
question. For example, instead of looking at a general research question like “the
effect of acupuncture on human body”, you can narrow it down to “can acupuncture
relieve back pain in the middle aged and older people? ”
c) What are the aims and objectives of your project?
d) What is the null hypothesis of your project?
METHODOLOGY (For laboratory based project): This part should provide the following
a) Your research design and a rationale for the research design
b) What are dependent and independent variables?
c) Materials/equipment to be used: what are the materials and equipment you will
need? Are they available in the lab or need to be purchased (your project
supervisor will be able to help with this).
d) Human participants: How many human participants do you need? How would you
recruit them? What are the criteria to select your participants?
e) Experimental procedures (these must be described with sufficient accuracy such
that the reader could repeat the experiment exactly) and include:
i. Measurements: what are you going to measure during the experiment?
ii. What is the equipment needed for each of the measurements?
iii. What will be the order of measurements and the timing of data collection
iv. It is a good idea to draw a diagramme of the experimental plan / timeline
to show how each experiment will start, run and finish (see below for an
f) How are you going to analyze your raw data?
g) Which statistical analysis methods are you going to use?
METHODOLOGY: (For library based project): This part should provide the following
a) The library resources (e.g. journals, books, online resources) that will be used for
your literature search
b) The key words to be used for your literature search
c) Inclusion criteria for literatures
d) The concepts, theories, methodology, and outcome measures that will be
critically reviewed in your project. Please also give your reason on why these
concepts, theories, methodology, and outcome measures need to be reviewed in
DATA ANALYSIS: (For experimental studies only)
In this section you should state the following:
a. What statistical software will you use
b. What statistical tests will you use and why are these tests appropriate
c. Data security and management. To comply with GDPR briefly state how you will
secure your data and how long this data wil be stored for. You can find details of
EXPECTED OUTCOMES: This part should provide the following information:
a) What might be the results of your project?
b) What will be the benefit of your project to society/people’s well-being?
REFERENCES: List the references used above in alphabetical order following the Harvard
a) Time management chart (COMPULSORY): You could use a GANNT chart or any
appropriate method to show which activities you will do during which month.
Remember you will often be doing more than one thing at once. The chart will end
next May when you submit the project.
b) Methodology diagram (see below)
You MUST submit the ethics application affiliated with your proposal to the dedicated ‘Ethics application’
link that has been set up on your on Moodle site
Sample experimental methodology diagram: