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The introduction to a research proposal:
- Is usually two to three pages long
- Is meant to capture the reader's attention and to introduce the
- Is written in the present tense (After you propose, then it will
become past tense)
The introduction should provide:
- A clear picture of the broad problem(s) or research question(s)
- Some supportive background information.
- Details of any related theories.
- Reason(s) why the research is needed.
- A context for the research by setting the scene.
- "Physical therapist are often baffled by the increased
incidence of ACL injuries in female athletes. The reason why females oral
contraceptives seem to protect from ACL is unclear. Further research on
menstrual cycle, oral contraceptives
and ACL injuries is warranted.
The statement of the problem should be a single,
clear and unambiguous question regarding the specific problem to be
Some examples of problem statements are:
"When do most ACL injuries occur within the
"Do oral contraceptives provide a protective effect against ACL injuries?
statement of the problem:
- Is often followed by a more detailed discussion of the problem area.
- Explains its background more fully.
- Summarizes its implications in terms of professional significance or
- Provides the reader with a more comprehensive understanding of what
has been done or learned so far by other researchers.
briefly the literature relevant to the problem.
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Research objectives are not always stated in
proposals, but when provided, the reader is given a clearer picture of the
direction of the study.
are developed for each research objective. In research we empirically test
hypotheses and not the objectives or problem statement (because they are too
normally have five key characteristics:
- They are stated in a declarative form (e.g., there is….).
- They identify and describe the relationship between two or more
- They should be testable through empirical measurement.
- They are clearly stated (no ambiguity) about the variables or
- They should relate to the problem statement and lend themselves to
developing a solution or outcome to the problem.
- Hypothesis: There
will be a statistically significant different
in ACL injury occurrence during ovulation.
- Null Hypothesis: There will
be no difference in ACL injury occurrence during ovulation.
Hypotheses may be
directional (e.g., there will be a difference..., there will not be a
difference…). Where a difference is expected a "research" or
"alternative" hypothesis is presented. Where no difference is expected
a "null" hypothesis is presented.
Research justification states why the study is
What is the potential value of the study?
To whom the results of the study will be
important, in what way and how?
- "Given the absence of research on the effects of menstrual
cycle on ACL injuries this type of research is
are shortcomings, conditions or influences that cannot be controlled by the
researcher. Any limitations that might influence the results should be
- The researcher would not
be able to control the recall of the subjects "day of injury".
are choices made by the researcher which should be mentioned.
- A researcher chooses to look only at female volleyball players.
- The researcher chooses EMG to analyze electrical activity.
Assumptions are things that the researcher
assumes to be true.
- Researchers usually assume subjects will give 100% effort.
- Researchers assume data collection instruments are valid and
reliable based upon their previous use.
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Definition of Terms is a very brief section
consisting of a series of definitions of the key terms or concepts found in the
Since some words like "recreation" or
"leisure" may have various meanings, it is important to clarify to the
reader the way they are used in the proposal.
or technical words may also require an exact definition.
- "In this study the term 'ovulation' is defined as
"approximately day 14 of the menstrual cycle" (Source).