develop a research proposal

Develop a Research Proposal


Writing the Introduction - The Purpose
of My Proposal

The part of the introduction explains the purpose for your study.  It describes the goals and objectives that are the targets for your research investigation.    Usually it is defined in terms of a goal(s), the expected final product, result, or application of the investigation process.  It defines specific tasks through listing objectives necessary to achieve that goal.

Use Crafting the Research Proposal:  The Introduction and the material below to help you to plan and compose your purpose of the study explanation for your research proposal.

The purpose often starts with a single, overall goal statement that explains what the study intends to accomplish. A few typical statements are:

The goal of this study is to...
      ... overcome the difficulty with _____________.

     ... discover what _____________.
      ... understand the causes or effects of ____________.
      ... refine our current understanding of ______________.
      ... provide a new interpretation of _______________ .
      ... understand what makes ______________ successful or unsuccessful.

It is then followed by a paragraph which describes the objectives that support the goal of the research investigation.

The words goal and objective are often confused with each other. They both describe things that a person may want to achieve or attain; however, each is different in its scope. 

Goals are more global in nature, affecting larger populations over longer time frames.  They are the big vision and are more general in wording. 

Use the following questions to help you to plan your long term goals:

Long-Term Goals:

  • Why are you doing this research?
  • What are the long-term implications?
  • What will happen after the grant?
  • What other avenues are open to explore?
  • What is the ultimate application or use of the research?

Objectives are more specific and defined in nature.  They are time-related to achieve a certain task, and are the measurable outcomes of activities undertaken to achieve goals; they are described as achieved or not achieved. Objectives should align with a study’s goals.

The following chart can help you in determine whether a statement that you have written is a goal or an objective.

  Goal  Objective 
What is the meaning of the statement? 

The purpose toward which an investigation is directed. 

Something that one's efforts or actions are intended to attain or accomplish; purpose; target 
What is the time frame of the statement?  Long term  Short term 
How would you measure the action described in the statement?  Cannot be measured  Can be measured  
What is the type of outcome of the action described in the statement? Intangible  Tangible 
What kind of action is described in the statement? Generic action  Specific action 
What overall plan is the statement describing? Broad plan  Specific stages or steps 

The following chart lists some verbs that you could used to start your objectives phrases. 

Major Concept Minor Terms Synonyms
Depict Describe (qualitative)  
Estimate (quantitative)
Identify, define, distinguish, limit, determine 

Appraise, rate, count, rank, measure, norm, standardize, extrapolate

Relate Compare (qualitative) 

Correlate (quantitative)

Liken, contrast, collate, match 

Connect, associate

Conceptualize Analyze  
Examine, categorize, abstract, reduce, deduce 

Prepare, develop, construct, compose, induce, assemble, systematize, 

model, devise

Test ------- Confirm, resolve, verify, substantiate, disprove

Record your ideas in the planning guide to complete this step in creating your research proposal's introduction.

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