Research Proposal and Report Writing
Research is a systematic process and research proposal is the documentation of the process in a stepwise manner. Discussions have been made on the type of research from a qualitative point of view. For successful implementation of research program, funding is a major aspect; at the same time there are various established and reputed research organizations to carry out different types of researches. Each and every research organization has clear-cut guidelines for framing research proposals. Besides, the above researches are also carried out by the individual researcher. Moreover, there are certain researches which do not require dependence on financial support for carrying out research program. However, a research program should always be documented in the form of research proposals. The content, steps, and procedure of writing a research proposal may vary to some extent, but there are certain common points to be documented in any research proposal. A research proposal is a stand-alone document which clarifies what the proposed project is about, what it is trying to do and achieve, how it will go about doing that, what we will learn from it, and why it is worth learning. It is a document written to convince funding agencies and academic bodies that the project is worth their attention. If the research proposal is asking for financial support, then there are several components to a strong grant application. First, the subject must be creative, exciting, and worthy of funding. Second, the project must have been developed through a rigorous, well-defined experimental plan. One of the most important points to consider when presenting a research proposal for funding is presenting the information in crystal clear language with the application following the rules and guidelines of the funding authority. The research idea, questions, or problems must be very clearly stated and persuasive and address a demonstrable gap in the existing literature. One must be sure that the departmental staffs are interested in the subject area and available for the project. One must also ensure that the scope of the project is reasonable and must remember that there are significant limits to the size and complexity of a project that can be completed and written up within a given period of time. Assessment of proposals takes place not only for their intellectual ambition and significance but also for the likelihood that the researcher can complete this project. International agencies, particularly the agencies in the Western countries, use objective criteria in screening the proposals. In India, the evaluation is subjective, that is, by peer review. Experts review the projects, and few promising projects are approved directly; some are accepted with modifications, and a fairly large number of projects are rejected. Most rejections are mainly attributed to inappropriate presentation style. While reviewing a project proposal, the following points are generally given importance along with other factors: (a) how best are the intellectual quality and merit of the study; (b) what is its potential impact; (c) how holistic is the proposal, whether the research proposal is likely to produce new data and concepts or confirm existing hypotheses; (d) are the hypotheses valid and whether these have been presented with supporting evidences; (e) whether the aims are logical; (f) whether the procedures proposed are appropriate, adequate, and feasible for the research; (g) whether the investigators/proposers are qualified and competent enough as shown by their credentials and experience; (h) are the facilities adequate and the environment conducive to the research; and (i) is there any other organization where the similar types of work are being conducted, if so how the present proposal is different from that, and so on.