Research Methodology Concept Research Paper
Introduction to background of research methodology.
Research Methodology is a structure or plan for the study that directs the entire process of data collection and analysis of data. Research can be defined as a scientific mode of solving problems through adopting logical steps.
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Research methodology is valuable in explaining the process and product of scientific inquiry. Research methodology uses scientific tools to describe and analyze methods, shed light on their limitations and clarifies their presuppositions and consequences.
This is an exploratory research. Data collection will involve the use of questionnaires. Questionnaires will contain both close ended and Likert scale questions. Data obtained through the questionnaires will be qualitative. Qualitative methods offer an enhanced perception of the research problem through analyzing the first person experience, thus require only a small sample size to generate an accurate result.
Another merit of qualitative design is that it uses more flexible tools and an iterative technique of obtaining and classifying answers to questions. On the other hand, qualitative analysis has several shortcomings. First, it may be difficult to compare responses, due to its nature of flexibility and use of open-ended questions. Second, qualitative analysis may be subject to bias, since the researcher uses his own judgments to categorize data.
In this study, we decided to use qualitative research design because the study seeks to explore the underlying structure of employees’ justice perceptions in the context of their organizations’ performance appraisal practices. However, quantitative methods will obtain use together with qualitative methods in analyzing collected data.
The population for this study will be from different levels of employees at ADNOC Company and Ministry of Education. These two Companies provide two various services, one is oil production and the other is an educational service in UAE. The study will require a sample of 200employees from both Companies in order to participate in this study.
Random sampling will obtain use in selecting 100employees from each of these companies. This study will rely on these two companies so as to ensure that employees from different diversities and with diverse experiences obtain selection for reliability of collected data.
This study will use quantitative research methods in analyzing qualitative data. Quantitative research can be defined as conversion of empirical statements to numeric form for easier analysis (Cohen, 1980). Similarly, Creswell (1994) defines quantitative research as a form of research that seeks to explain trends through gathering numerical data which should be analyzed using statistical methods.
Quantitative methods have several advantages. First, they can analyze vast amounts of data by converting them into numeric form. Also, quantitative methods are more reliable than qualitative methods as they employ scientific methods which are not prone to bias.
This study will use quantitative methods of research in order to ease analysis of empirical statements. This is because this study will collect data from a broad sample. In particular, the study will use SPSS statistical tool for analysis.
This is both a qualitative and a quantitative research. Data collection will involve the use of questionnaires. Questionnaires will contain two parts. The first part, labeled Part A will seek to establish personal information about the employees and will obtain confidential treatment in order to protect the identity of respondents.
The second part, labeled Part B will contain graphic rating scale questions with 5 options using Likert scale (1. Completely Disagree 2. Disagree 3. Fairly Agree 4. Agree 5. Completely Agree). Each variable will obtain representation by a single item.
Instrument to Present Data
Instruments refer to tools used in data collection. These instruments must be chosen carefully, since they can reduce work and time when structured well. The proposed study will make use of questionnaires to collect data from respondents. The study will also use SPSS to analyze results. Proper tabulation will be necessary for effective application of the SPSS tool.
The purpose of the pilot test will be to test the credibility of the survey. We will choose 20 respondents comprising 10 from each company to participate in the pilot survey. This test is essential as it will enable the researcher to realize some obstacles that employees may face while answering the survey questions. In case of any problems and errors, questions should be corrected until the survey becomes suitable.
On the other, if these questions do not need rectification, they should be employed for the main sample of 200, and pilot test sample should be integrated in the main sample. Besides, the pilot test will help the researcher to estimate the amount of time that the main sample might require to complete the survey.
Research Steps and Procedures
- Studying the organization where we want to apply this research strategy.
- Setting up objectives of the research.
- Constructing a questionnaire that relates to the purpose of the study.
- Conducting the study across various echelons of employees at two organizations including the ADNOC and Ministry of Education.
- Coordinating with the companies’ public relation department in order to assess respondents and get questionnaires and get completed.
- Collected data will obtain tabulation according to requirements of SPSS in order to aid analysis.
- Feeding collected data into SPSS which we shall use in analyzing data. Also, the collected data obtain categorization and display through charts and bar graphs.
- Creating a report on findings of the study.
- Analyzing and interpreting collected data.
- Establishing a conclusion of the study from obtained results.
- Comparing conclusions obtained from the study with a few other studies in order to find out any consistencies and differences.
- Making some suggestions and recommendations derived from the study.
Participants will obtain questionnaires. Respondents will provide answers to both closed and Likert scale questions. The sample will undergo the interview process at different days of the week and different times, in order to obtain impartial data. The timings will obtain announcement after the pre-test takes place.
Data Analysis and Interpretation
Data for analysis will derive from responses in the questionnaires. Data analysis will integrate both qualitative and quantitative techniques of data analysis. The first step in qualitative analysis of data will be data reduction.
This is the process of choosing, focusing, abridging, conceptualizing, and converting the data obtained from fieldwork. Subsequent to examination, data will obtain coding for easier retrieval based on how each data set helps meet the research objectives. Coding will involve demarcation of different segments in the data collected.
At the same time, quantitative methods will obtain use in analyzing descriptive statistics obtained from the Likert scales. SPSS will obtain use in analyzing results.
Cohen, L. (1980). Research methods in education . London, England : Groom Helm Ltd.
Creswell, J.W. (1994). Research design: Qualitative and quantitative approaches . London, England: Sage Publications.
Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods . Los Angeles, California: University of California.
This questionnaire is designed to seek your feedback on the justice perceptions in the context of your organizations’ performance appraisal. The study is part of the project work done in partial fulfillment of students’ course work for human resources at ADU.
All your responses will remain confidential. It will take 20 minutes to fill out this questionnaire, but each response will add value to this project. Hence, please take your time to complete this questionnaire.
Part A: Personal Information
Part B: Other Questions
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Research Concept Paper
What is a research concept paper.
The Concept Paper lays the foundation for the applied dissertation process, providing an introductory form of communication between the doctoral student and the doctoral committee. Essentially, the Concept Paper acts as a tentative proposal; it allows the doctoral student the opportunity to define a research focus and obtain early feedback on the research idea. A well-planned Concept Paper will capture the interest of the dissertation committee and establish a clear plan for the student’s dissertation.
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When is the Research Concept Paper Written?
The Research Concept Paper is completed prior to the dissertation proposal and serves as a development tool and summary of the planned dissertation. The Concept paper is a brief document. Depending upon the requirements of the specific school or academic program, the Concept Paper may range from as few as 2-3 pages to as many as 10-20 pages. The essential point of the Concept Paper is to explain the importance of a particular research project.
The Concept Paper initiates the dissertation phase of a doctoral degree, which follows the completion of necessary coursework and training and represents a culmination of the student’s learning. The dissertation is a student’s final academic effort to synthesize course material by applying their learning to a research project. The project is expected to add new information to the field of study. The Concept Paper acts as a summary of this project.
The Concept Paper, although highly abridged, is comprised of many of the same items found in a dissertation. The specific elements of the Concept Paper may vary depending upon the academic program and the chosen degree. Programs typically provide a grading rubric that serves as an outline for the required components, and students are encouraged to follow those rubrics closely in developing their Concept Paper.
What are the Main Elements of a Research Concept Paper?
Title page — provides a tentative title for the dissertation. The title of the Concept Paper should be a stand-alone statement that can fully describe the project by summarizing the main idea of the manuscript. The title should concisely identify the variables being investigated and the relationship among those variables (American Psychological Association , 2010). Words should serve a useful purpose; avoid words that do not add substance or words that are misleading. The title of the Concept Paper may become the title of the dissertation.
Statement of the Problem — provides the purpose for the research. This section of the Concept Paper introduces the problem under investigation, addresses why the researcher wants to investigate this problem, and how the research findings may help address the problem. Supporting documentation, including statistical data if available, should be used to emphasize the need for this research. This section is one of the most important sections of the Concept Paper; it serves to gain the reader’s attention and support. You care about the research, but the reader may need some convincing. The first few sentences of the Concept Paper should intrigue the reader to pique his or her interest and encourage further reading.
As you begin to write the problem statement of your Concept Paper, consider your research. First consider why the problem is important. Consider how your study relates to previous work in the field, how you will link your hypotheses and objectives to theory, and how the hypotheses relate to the research design. Finally, consider the theoretical and practical implications involved in your research project (APA, 2010). A well-developed, concise, and clear problem statement will lay the foundation for a strong Concept Paper and the dissertation that follows. Preliminary Literature Review — provides identification of major literature that supports and validates the topic. The literature review focuses on areas that offer support for new research and offers the student an opportunity to analyze and synthesize past research in the context of their present problem. For the Concept Paper, the student should connect their research project to a theoretical model reported in the literature. The most successful research projects have been based on the research of predecessors, and this section of the Concept Paper provides enough of a description of previous research to plant seeds in the mind of the reader suggesting more information is needed. A strong Concept Paper is based on a wide-range literature review that is condensed into a summary of key points. Goal Statement — provides a broad or abstract intention, including the research goals and objectives. This part of the Concept Paper tells the reader “who, what, and when” regarding the research goal.
Research Questions — provides a preliminary view of the questions the student will investigate. Questions are based on theory, past research, and need. These questions will direct the research methodology; their inclusion in the Concept Paper links the research problem with the methodology. For some, composing the research questions may be the most difficult part of the research project, or possibly the most difficult aspect of writing the Concept Paper. The questions will direct everything that will be done; therefore, it is important that they are focused to the main research problem. These research questions will specifically direct the research and the type of analyses conducted; as such, their compatibility is essential. An Abridged Methodology — provides the student’s best idea on how to conduct the research and analyze the data. The goals identified in previous sections of the Concept Paper should relate to the research methods described in this section. For the Concept Paper, the methodology is simplified or summarized, serving as a general outline of the methods that will be employed.
Timeline — provides a range of time for completion of the project, highlighting key elements for each stage of the project. This element is unique to the Concept Paper and provides the student structure for managing sections of the project within a realistic time frame. References — provides references to the material cited in the literature review and elsewhere in the Concept Paper.
Methodology in a Research Paper: Definition and Example
Updated December 12, 2022
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When researchers document their studies, they typically include a methodology to describe the processes and outcomes of their research. If you're covering a thesis topic, submitting a dissertation or documenting a project for your employer, including a methodology helps summarize your studies for readers who review your work. The methodology is also important to provide insight into the validity and reliability of your research.
In this article, we explore what a methodology is, what to include in this part of your paper and how it differs from your research methods with an example of methodology in a research paper.
What is a methodology in a research paper?
The methodology in a research paper, thesis paper or dissertation is the section in which you describe the actions you took to investigate and research a problem and your rationale for the specific processes and techniques you use within your research to identify, collect and analyze information that helps you understand the problem.
The methodology section of your research paper allows readers to evaluate the overall validity and reliability of your study and gives important insight into two key elements of your research: your data collection and analysis processes and your rationale for conducting your research. When writing a methodology for a research paper, it's important to keep the discussion clear and succinct and write in the past tense.
Quantitative and qualitative methodologies
There are two main approaches to methodology; quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research methodology relies on concrete facts and data-driven research, and qualitative research methodology relies on non-data-driven research, such as surveys and polls, to identify patterns and trends.
What to include in a methodology
Students, graduates and other researchers often include several key sections within the methodology section. Consider the following elements when developing a methodology in research papers:
Type of research
The first part of a methodology section usually describes the type of research you perform and how you develop your research methods. This section also discusses the question or problem you investigate through your research and the type of data you need to perform evaluations and research assessments. Additionally, the methodology often includes the criteria your experimental studies need to meet to produce valid and reliable evidence. The information you cover in this part of your methodology allows readers to gain insight into how you measure validity and reliability during your studies.
Data collection process
The methodology also includes an explanation of your data collection process. For instance, if you perform experimental tests on samples, conduct surveys or interviews or use existing data to form new studies, this section of your methodology details what you do and how you do it. Several key details to include in this section of a methodology focus on how you design your experiment or survey, how you collect and organize data and what kind of data you measure. You may also include specific criteria for collecting qualitative and quantitative data.
Data analysis process
Your data analysis approaches are also important in your methodology. Your data analysis describes the methods you use to organize, categorize and study the information you collect through your research processes. For instance, when explaining quantitative methods, you might include details about your data preparation and organization methods along with a brief description of the statistical tests you use. When describing your data analysis processes regarding qualitative methods, you may focus more on how you categorize, code and apply language, text and other observations during your analysis.
Resources, materials and tools
The tools, materials and other resources you need for your research and analysis are also important elements to describe in your methodology. Software programs, mathematical and statistical formulas and other tools that help you perform your research are essential in documenting your methodology. This section of your methodology can also detail any special techniques you apply to collect data and identify important variables. Additionally, your approaches to studying your hypothesis and underlying research questions are essential details in your methodology.
Rationale behind the research
Since your methodology aims to show readers why your research is valid and relevant, the last part of this section of your research paper needs to focus on your rationale. Details like why your studies are relevant, what industries your studies relate to and how other researchers can replicate your results are essential components of this part of your methodology. It's important to address any approaches you plan to take to continue evaluating your research over time and to cite the primary and secondary sources you use in your research.
Differences between the methodology and methods
Although the methodology section of your research paper includes details about the methods you use in your research, there are several differences between a methodology and the research methods you apply:
The overall purpose of your methodology differs from the set of methods you use to apply to your research. While the methodology is the entire section of your research paper that describes your processes, the methods refer to the actual steps you take throughout your research to collect and analyze data. The methodology serves as a summary that demonstrates the validity and reliability of your methods, while the methods you detail in this section of your paper are the scientific approaches to test and make conclusions about the data you study.
The format for a methodology differs from the format you use to list and explain your research and analysis methods. The methodology usually appears at the beginning of your paper and looks like a summary or essay in paragraph form detailing your research validity, process and rationale. The format you use to describe your research and analysis methods can take various forms, depending on the type of research, type of data and type of assessments you use.
For instance, when describing the methods you use to perform quantitative and statistical analyses, the format you use may focus on a graph or chart to display your data. Additionally, the methods you describe within each part of your methodology can include tables or lists to demonstrate your research process and outcomes.
The purpose and format ultimately influence the content that you include in both your methodology and your research method details. However, the content within your entire methodology focuses on delivering a concise summary of your research, approaches and outcomes. Therefore, the content of your methodology includes all aspects of performing your studies. The content in your research paper that details your collection and analysis methods differs because it's often necessary to explain your scientific approaches and research processes with lists and visual aids (like charts or graphs) to support the information.
Example of a methodology in a research paper
The following example of a methodology in a research paper can provide additional insight into what to include and how to structure yours:
This research paper explains the psychological and emotional effects of a support program for employees with mental illness. The program involved extended and individualized support for employment candidates through a job support agency that maintained contact with candidates after initial job placement to offer support in various ways. I used a 50% random sampling of individuals who took part in the support program through the job support agency between April and October, and who fit the study criteria I developed from previous and similar studies.
My team and I randomly assigned the resulting 350 cases to either the treatment group or the control group, which comprised life skills development and employment training within an in-house workshop environment. My team and I measured all 350 participants upon intake and again at the 90-day threshold of employment. The psychological functioning and self-esteem measurements we used provided significant data on the effects of treatment within both measures, including opposing outcomes that differed from our initial hypothesis.
We found through our research that instead of improved function and higher self-esteem, the individuals within the treatment group displayed lower levels of cognitive and emotional function and lower self-esteem. These results led my research team and I to conclude that individuals who work in roles they find unfulfilling often experience significant decreases in performance due to higher job stress and diminished emotional well-being, regardless of their mental health conditions.
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- What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips
What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips
Published on August 25, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on January 30, 2023.
Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation , or research paper , the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research and your dissertation topic .
It should include:
- The type of research you conducted
- How you collected and analyzed your data
- Any tools or materials you used in the research
- How you mitigated or avoided research biases
- Why you chose these methods
- Your methodology section should generally be written in the past tense .
- Academic style guides in your field may provide detailed guidelines on what to include for different types of studies.
- Your citation style might provide guidelines for your methodology section (e.g., an APA Style methods section ).
Table of contents
How to write a research methodology, why is a methods section important, step 1: explain your methodological approach, step 2: describe your data collection methods, step 3: describe your analysis method, step 4: evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made, tips for writing a strong methodology chapter, frequently asked questions about methodology.
Your methods section is your opportunity to share how you conducted your research and why you chose the methods you chose. It’s also the place to show that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated .
It gives your research legitimacy and situates it within your field, and also gives your readers a place to refer to if they have any questions or critiques in other sections.
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You can start by introducing your overall approach to your research. You have two options here.
Option 1: Start with your “what”
What research problem or question did you investigate?
- Aim to describe the characteristics of something?
- Explore an under-researched topic?
- Establish a causal relationship?
And what type of data did you need to achieve this aim?
- Quantitative data , qualitative data , or a mix of both?
- Primary data collected yourself, or secondary data collected by someone else?
- Experimental data gathered by controlling and manipulating variables, or descriptive data gathered via observations?
Option 2: Start with your “why”
Depending on your discipline, you can also start with a discussion of the rationale and assumptions underpinning your methodology. In other words, why did you choose these methods for your study?
- Why is this the best way to answer your research question?
- Is this a standard methodology in your field, or does it require justification?
- Were there any ethical considerations involved in your choices?
- What are the criteria for validity and reliability in this type of research ? How did you prevent bias from affecting your data?
Once you have introduced your reader to your methodological approach, you should share full details about your data collection methods .
In order to be considered generalizable, you should describe quantitative research methods in enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study.
Here, explain how you operationalized your concepts and measured your variables. Discuss your sampling method or inclusion and exclusion criteria , as well as any tools, procedures, and materials you used to gather your data.
Surveys Describe where, when, and how the survey was conducted.
- How did you design the questionnaire?
- What form did your questions take (e.g., multiple choice, Likert scale )?
- Were your surveys conducted in-person or virtually?
- What sampling method did you use to select participants?
- What was your sample size and response rate?
Experiments Share full details of the tools, techniques, and procedures you used to conduct your experiment.
- How did you design the experiment ?
- How did you recruit participants?
- How did you manipulate and measure the variables ?
- What tools did you use?
Existing data Explain how you gathered and selected the material (such as datasets or archival data) that you used in your analysis.
- Where did you source the material?
- How was the data originally produced?
- What criteria did you use to select material (e.g., date range)?
The survey consisted of 5 multiple-choice questions and 10 questions measured on a 7-point Likert scale.
The goal was to collect survey responses from 350 customers visiting the fitness apparel company’s brick-and-mortar location in Boston on July 4–8, 2022, between 11:00 and 15:00.
Here, a customer was defined as a person who had purchased a product from the company on the day they took the survey. Participants were given 5 minutes to fill in the survey anonymously. In total, 408 customers responded, but not all surveys were fully completed. Due to this, 371 survey results were included in the analysis.
- Information bias
- Omitted variable bias
- Regression to the mean
- Survivorship bias
- Undercoverage bias
- Sampling bias
In qualitative research , methods are often more flexible and subjective. For this reason, it’s crucial to robustly explain the methodology choices you made.
Be sure to discuss the criteria you used to select your data, the context in which your research was conducted, and the role you played in collecting your data (e.g., were you an active participant, or a passive observer?)
Interviews or focus groups Describe where, when, and how the interviews were conducted.
- How did you find and select participants?
- How many participants took part?
- What form did the interviews take ( structured , semi-structured , or unstructured )?
- How long were the interviews?
- How were they recorded?
Participant observation Describe where, when, and how you conducted the observation or ethnography .
- What group or community did you observe? How long did you spend there?
- How did you gain access to this group? What role did you play in the community?
- How long did you spend conducting the research? Where was it located?
- How did you record your data (e.g., audiovisual recordings, note-taking)?
Existing data Explain how you selected case study materials for your analysis.
- What type of materials did you analyze?
- How did you select them?
In order to gain better insight into possibilities for future improvement of the fitness store’s product range, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 returning customers.
Here, a returning customer was defined as someone who usually bought products at least twice a week from the store.
Surveys were used to select participants. Interviews were conducted in a small office next to the cash register and lasted approximately 20 minutes each. Answers were recorded by note-taking, and seven interviews were also filmed with consent. One interviewee preferred not to be filmed.
- The Hawthorne effect
- Observer bias
- The placebo effect
- Response bias and Nonresponse bias
- The Pygmalion effect
- Recall bias
- Social desirability bias
- Self-selection bias
Mixed methods research combines quantitative and qualitative approaches. If a standalone quantitative or qualitative study is insufficient to answer your research question, mixed methods may be a good fit for you.
Mixed methods are less common than standalone analyses, largely because they require a great deal of effort to pull off successfully. If you choose to pursue mixed methods, it’s especially important to robustly justify your methods.
Next, you should indicate how you processed and analyzed your data. Avoid going into too much detail: you should not start introducing or discussing any of your results at this stage.
In quantitative research , your analysis will be based on numbers. In your methods section, you can include:
- How you prepared the data before analyzing it (e.g., checking for missing data , removing outliers , transforming variables)
- Which software you used (e.g., SPSS, Stata or R)
- Which statistical tests you used (e.g., two-tailed t test , simple linear regression )
In qualitative research, your analysis will be based on language, images, and observations (often involving some form of textual analysis ).
Specific methods might include:
- Content analysis : Categorizing and discussing the meaning of words, phrases and sentences
- Thematic analysis : Coding and closely examining the data to identify broad themes and patterns
- Discourse analysis : Studying communication and meaning in relation to their social context
Mixed methods combine the above two research methods, integrating both qualitative and quantitative approaches into one coherent analytical process.
Above all, your methodology section should clearly make the case for why you chose the methods you did. This is especially true if you did not take the most standard approach to your topic. In this case, discuss why other methods were not suitable for your objectives, and show how this approach contributes new knowledge or understanding.
In any case, it should be overwhelmingly clear to your reader that you set yourself up for success in terms of your methodology’s design. Show how your methods should lead to results that are valid and reliable, while leaving the analysis of the meaning, importance, and relevance of your results for your discussion section .
- Quantitative: Lab-based experiments cannot always accurately simulate real-life situations and behaviors, but they are effective for testing causal relationships between variables .
- Qualitative: Unstructured interviews usually produce results that cannot be generalized beyond the sample group , but they provide a more in-depth understanding of participants’ perceptions, motivations, and emotions.
- Mixed methods: Despite issues systematically comparing differing types of data, a solely quantitative study would not sufficiently incorporate the lived experience of each participant, while a solely qualitative study would be insufficiently generalizable.
Remember that your aim is not just to describe your methods, but to show how and why you applied them. Again, it’s critical to demonstrate that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated.
1. Focus on your objectives and research questions
The methodology section should clearly show why your methods suit your objectives and convince the reader that you chose the best possible approach to answering your problem statement and research questions .
2. Cite relevant sources
Your methodology can be strengthened by referencing existing research in your field. This can help you to:
- Show that you followed established practice for your type of research
- Discuss how you decided on your approach by evaluating existing research
- Present a novel methodological approach to address a gap in the literature
3. Write for your audience
Consider how much information you need to give, and avoid getting too lengthy. If you are using methods that are standard for your discipline, you probably don’t need to give a lot of background or justification.
Regardless, your methodology should be a clear, well-structured text that makes an argument for your approach, not just a list of technical details and procedures.
Methodology refers to the overarching strategy and rationale of your research project . It involves studying the methods used in your field and the theories or principles behind them, in order to develop an approach that matches your objectives.
Methods are the specific tools and procedures you use to collect and analyze data (for example, experiments, surveys , and statistical tests ).
In shorter scientific papers, where the aim is to report the findings of a specific study, you might simply describe what you did in a methods section .
In a longer or more complex research project, such as a thesis or dissertation , you will probably include a methodology section , where you explain your approach to answering the research questions and cite relevant sources to support your choice of methods.
In a scientific paper, the methodology always comes after the introduction and before the results , discussion and conclusion . The same basic structure also applies to a thesis, dissertation , or research proposal .
Depending on the length and type of document, you might also include a literature review or theoretical framework before the methodology.
Quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative research deals with words and meanings.
Quantitative methods allow you to systematically measure variables and test hypotheses . Qualitative methods allow you to explore concepts and experiences in more detail.
Reliability and validity are both about how well a method measures something:
- Reliability refers to the consistency of a measure (whether the results can be reproduced under the same conditions).
- Validity refers to the accuracy of a measure (whether the results really do represent what they are supposed to measure).
If you are doing experimental research, you also have to consider the internal and external validity of your experiment.
A sample is a subset of individuals from a larger population . Sampling means selecting the group that you will actually collect data from in your research. For example, if you are researching the opinions of students in your university, you could survey a sample of 100 students.
In statistics, sampling allows you to test a hypothesis about the characteristics of a population.
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Thank you. payment completed., you will receive an email from us to confirm your registration, please click the link in the email to activate your account., there was error during payment, orcid profile found in public registry, download history, understanding and developing a concept paper.
- Charlesworth Author Services
- 15 December, 2021
A concept paper, simply put, is a one- to two-page written document describing an idea for a project . At this stage, there is no need to flesh out details, but rather just introduce the overall rationale of the project, how it’ll be carried out and the expected outcomes. There is no hard rule as to how this should be structured, but below are some tips on what to include and why to include them.
Discuss the rationale
The need for the project is an important aspect to address, and is often something a funding body might look for when considering funding a project. A concept paper might be the first thing a funding round requests to get an idea of what the project is all about. So make sure that it includes:
- Importance of the work being proposed
- What the impact (not the same as ‘ impact factor ’ – see later below) will be
- How the outcomes of your project might meet or respond to the need
- Priorities of your intended audience
Outline your methodology and procedures
Your overall methodology , i.e. how you intend to approach your work, should be outlined here to give your reader an idea of how you propose to achieve your research objectives. Mentioning the proposed methodology in advance allows them to conduct an independent evaluation into whether it is a valid approach.
Further, you should highlight some exciting, specific procedures or methods that you might be especially well-placed to perform. For example, your institute may have a specific piece of equipment, or you may have access to very high quality expertise. This will inspire confidence in the review panel that you are well-positioned to take the project on.
Describe the potential impact
Impact is a term often thrown around in research circles, usually relating to the ‘impact factor’ of a journal. Impact in this instance does not refer to that. The impact that you should be describing here is the real-world impact of your work.
Will your idea or innovation change people’s lives? Will it save the taxpayer money? How will it do those things?
Make sure you describe impacts that go beyond discovering something new to shaking up your research community.
A concept paper is a loose framework by which you are able to quickly communicate an idea for a piece of work you might want to do in the future. At the very least, it can help you put ideas to paper and look at them as a whole, allowing you to critically assess what is needed to make it a reality. In the best case scenario, a concept paper might be used to advance your grant applications or attract investment for your idea. Whatever you are using it for, it is a valuable piece of writing that can help you formalise your idea and make it a reality.
Read next (second) in series: Writing a successful Research Proposal
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What is a Concept Paper and How do You Write One?
- By DiscoverPhDs
- August 26, 2020
What is a Concept Paper?
A concept paper is a short document written by a researcher before starting their research project, with the purpose of explaining what the study is about, why it is important and the methods that will be used.
The concept paper will include your proposed research title, a brief introduction to the subject, the aim of the study, the research questions you intend to answer, the type of data you will collect and how you will collect it. A concept paper can also be referred to as a research proposal.
What is the Purpose of a Concept Paper?
The primary aim of a research concept paper is to convince the reader that the proposed research project is worth doing. This means that the reader should first agree that the research study is novel and interesting. They should be convinced that there is a need for this research and that the research aims and questions are appropriate.
Finally, they should be satisfied that the methods for data collection proposed are feasible, are likely to work and can be performed within the specific time period allocated for this project.
The three main scenarios in which you may need to write a concept paper are if you are:
- A final year undergraduate or master’s student preparing to start a research project with a supervisor.
- A student submitting a research proposal to pursue a PhD project under the supervision of a professor.
- A principal investigator submitting a proposal to a funding body to secure financial support for a research project.
How Long is a Concept Paper?
The concept paper format is usually between 2 and 3 pages in length for students writing proposals for undergraduate, master’s or PhD projects. Concept papers written as part of funding applications may be over 20 pages in length.
How do you Write a Concept Paper?
There are 6 important aspects to consider when writing a concept paper or research proposal:
- 1. The wording of the title page, which is best presented as a question for this type of document. At this study concept stage, you can write the title a bit catchier, for example “Are 3D Printed Engine Parts Safe for Use in Aircraft?”.
- A brief introduction and review of relevant existing literature published within the subject area and identification of where the gaps in knowledge are. This last bit is particularly important as it guides you in defining the statement of the problem. The concept paper should provide a succinct summary of ‘the problem’, which is usually related to what is unknown or poorly understood about your research topic . By the end of the concept paper, the reader should be clear on how your research idea will provide a ‘solution’ to this problem.
- The overarching research aim of your proposed study and the objectives and/or questions you will address to achieve this aim. Align all of these with the problem statement; i.e. write each research question as a clear response to addressing the limitations and gaps identified from previous literature. Also give a clear description of your primary hypothesis.
- The specific data outputs that you plan to capture. For example, will this be qualitative or quantitative data? Do you plan to capture data at specific time points or at other defined intervals? Do you need to repeat data capture to asses any repeatability and reproducibility questions?
- The research methodology you will use to capture this data, including any specific measurement or analysis equipment and software you will use, and a consideration of statistical tests to help interpret the data. If your research requires the use of questionnaires, how will these be prepared and validated? In what sort of time frame would you plan to collect this data?
- Finally, include a statement of the significance of the study , explaining why your research is important and impactful. This can be in the form of a concluding paragraph that reiterate the statement of the problem, clarifies how your research will address this and explains who will benefit from your research and how.
You may need to include a short summary of the timeline for completing the research project. Defining milestones of the time points at which you intend to complete certain tasks can help to show that you’ve considered the practicalities of running this study. It also shows that what you have proposed is feasible in order to achieve your research goal.
If you’re pitching your proposed project to a funder, they may allocate a proportion of the money based on the satisfactory outcome of each milestone. These stakeholders may also be motivated by knowing that you intend to convert your dissertation into an article for journal publication; this level of dissemination is of high importance to them.
Additionally, you may be asked to provide a brief summary of the projected costs of running the study. For a PhD project this could be the bench fees associated with consumables and the cost of any travel if required.
Make sure to include references and cite all other literature and previous research that you discuss in your concept paper.
This guide gave you an overview of the key elements you need to know about when writing concept papers. The purpose of these are first to convey to the reader what your project’s purpose is and why your research topic is important; this is based on the development of a problem statement using evidence from your literature review.
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Understanding and developing a Concept Paper · Discuss the rationale · Outline your methodology and procedures · Describe the potential impact · End
A concept paper is a short document written by a researcher before starting their research project, with the purpose of explaining what the