Among the many learning curves that come with mastering new skills in the life of a UG Life science student, one of them is that of learning to write a research proposal. Although it sounds challenging from the beginning, it is just like learning to interpret a research paper – it can only improve with more and more practice. In this blog, I want to share a few tips for writing a research proposal!
- The first tip is to know the format or outline you will follow! This will help you think logically and make it easier for the reader to interpret!
- Have a substantial research question! But how do you formulate a robust research question? Here are a few tips on it:
- Try to narrow it down from a broad question to a specific one! E.g., Why do teenagers have body-related insecurity? Can be reworded as: Can body-based insecurity force teenagers to use more filters on social media? In the rephrased version, we now have a more specific question than the very broad one we started with!
- Think about your dependent and independent variables. In our earlier example, the dependent variable can be the number of filtered posts, and the independent variable can be the score for insecurity (which may be obtained by a Likert scale survey).
- Try to pose an objective question but try and avoid a direct yes/no question. We need to measure data to validate or reject an idea; we need a way of quantifying things and analysing them. This should also be the focus of our research question – where we can be specific and measurable.
- Plan your research into specific sections before putting it all together! Think about the experiments you need to conduct, the results you might expect, the statistical tools you might need to use and the shortcomings that you might need to think about to find alternative approaches to make your proposal as complete as possible.
Although it might be scary when you write your first proposal, don’t worry too much, have a word with your seniors or professors if there is anything in particular that you need a little more clarity on! I hope you write a successful research proposal! Well, that’s it for today! I hope you find some of these tips helpful! Best of luck!