(a) A well-argued and comprehensive rationale for the research should include:
• the core research question;
• how it relates to the field of study or practice;
• the theoretical and/or empirical aspects;
• a critical review of the key literature(s);
• the unique contribution to the knowledge base.
(b) A detailed and justified design and methodology for the proposed research which explains and substantiates:
• the proposed approach;
• the sources of evidence to be examined or generated;
• the concepts or arguments to be explored;
• the method or methods to be applied;
• the type of analysis to be used;
• how findings will be discussed and conclusions drawn;
• the proposed structure of chapters or sections in the dissertation.
(c) A carefully planned strategy for managing and monitoring the proposed research, including:
• the timetable for different phases of the work;
• the commitment of time and effort involved;
• the need to negotiate access or secure agreement from data-sources;
• the need to pilot methods or approaches;
• the resources required;
• the ethical, personal and political questions raised by the research;
• the anticipated difficulties or issues which might arise and the ways in which
they might be addressed or resolved.
In brief – key questions which must be addressed:
1. What is my research question?
2. What key concepts are identified within the research?
3. What is the field of enquiry/ critical literature?
4. What methodology is appropriate for the research?
5. What theory will guide and inform the study?
6. What methods of data collection will be employed?
7. How will the data be analysed?
8. What ethical questions are raised and how will they be dealt with?
9. What practical arrangements are necessary for the execution of the project?