Research Proposal, Methodology and Scientific Writing Basic steps of a Research Unit- 5 Sushila C. Nepali September 2012
Contents Identification of research problems Conceptual Framework Basic format of a research report Preparing Research Design eg. Conducting social research.
Proposal Table of Content 1. Summary 2. Introduction to the topic • Issues, what,, • Objectives overall and specific • Limitations 3. Problem justification 4. Literature Review 5. Details Research Plan • Study area description • Methodology • Methods • Work plan • Budget • References
Identification of Research Problem • Two types of Research Problems • Relating to states of nature • Relate to relationships between variables • One needs to formulate research problem (based on a problem, to achieve some objectives, meet objectives by using alternatives, to clear doubts, to mitigate the limiting factors) • Can be done through generalizing a problem statement- initial field study • Understand the nature of the problem • Search through literature reviews • Rephrase it in analytical point of view-
Figure: Relationships between conservation efforts of PA and local livelihood having an impact from escalating conflict Conservation of PA Change in Threats Changes in planning, input, decision making, outputs Effects on illegal trades Effects on community management PA Management Effectiveness Escalation of conflict or civil strife (N- natural capital assets; S = social capital assets; P = political capital assets; H = human capital assets; F = financial capital assets; Ph = physical capital assets.) Local livelihoods
What is Scientific Research? Work that: • Provides new knowledge (novel) • Uses recognized methods for data collection and interpretation (reliable and redoable)
Word of Advice: Don’t believe all what you read! Many errors are printed, many mistakes repeated (particularly by students) Go to the original source—get it right!
Dedication Acknowledgement Contents List of Figures List of Tables Optional Normal Necessary Optional Optional Approach or Methodology Optional Recommendations THESIS: Quantitative data • Title • Abstract • Introduction • Literature Review • (Materials and) Methods • Results and Discussion • Conclusion • References • Appendices
Tell your story! THESIS: Qualitative Data • Title • Abstract • Introduction • Literature Review • (Chapter A) • (Chapter B) • Conclusion • References • Appendices Examples: Social Qualities and Natural Hazards Traditional Values Reactions to Change Long-term Opportunities
Send to publisher Layoutof an”ArticleThesis” • Title • Abstract • Introduction • Literature Review • References • Article • Appendices Title Introduction (Materials and) Methods Results and Discussion Conclusion References
Each chapter is unique! • Title • Abstract • Introduction • Literature Review • ((Materials and)) Methods (Methodology) • Results and Discussion • Conclusion • References • Appendices Common error: Chapter contains ... Introduction Literature Review Methodology Results and Discussion Introduction Literature Review Methodology Results and Discussion Introduction Literature Review Methodology Results and Discussion Introduction Literature Review Methodology Results and Discussion Introduction Literature Review Methodology Results and Discussion THESIS: Organizing information • Title • Abstract • Introduction • Literature Review • (Materials and) Methods (Methodology) • Results and Discussion • Conclusion • References • Appendices
Present and discuss only your own data … Organizing information • Title • Abstract • Introduction • Literature Review • (Materials and) Methods (Methodology) • Results and Discussion • Conclusion • References • Appendices … don’t mix in other information …
Do not insert pieces of literature review* and methods Literature Review Methods Organizing information: Illustration Example: Results and Discussion chapter
Organizing information • Keep in mind: • You have collected data, and now you are back to tell us what you found. • You are not writing a textbook!
THESIS (quantitative) • Title • Abstract • Introduction • Literature Review • (Materials and) Methods (Methodology) • Results and Discussion • Conclusion • References • Appendices
TITLE • Short • Keywords • Express problem and scope • No fillers, jargon or unnecessary words • No justification (?)
TITLE • Short (max. 12 words) • Keywords • Express problem and scope • No fillers, jargon or unnecessary words • No justification (?)
High Proportion of Keywords Example 1: ”A study of the impact of tube wells on farm households in the Maha Oya-Padiyatalawa (Ampara District) in the dry zone of Sri Lanka” Find the essential words(problem and scope)
Keywords Index Example 1: ”A study of the impact of tube wells on farm households in the Maha Oya-Padiyatalawa (Ampara District) in the dry zone of Sri Lanka” Keyword index: 9/25 = 0.36
Keywords Example 2: Can the title be simplified? “Floristic composition of summer habitats and dietary relationships between Tibetan argali (Ovis ammon hodgsonii), naur (Pseudois nayaur) and domestic goat (Capra hircus) in the Damodar Kunda region of Upper Mustang in Nepal Himalaya.” Keyword index: 14/32 = 0.44
Fewer Words — More Keywords: “Dietary composition of summer habitats for Tibetan argali, naur and domestic goat, Damodar Kunda, Nepal” Keyword index: 12/15 = 0.80
Keywords: Diffuse or Specific? Keywords should be as specific as possible Examples: Impacts of agricultural diversification on the environment Impacts ofcotton cultivation on soil erosion
PROBLEM ANDSCOPE: Example 1: “Floristic composition of summer habitats and dietary relationships between Tibetan argali (Ovis ammon hodgsonii), naur (Pseudois nayaur) and domestic goat (Capra hircus) in the Damodar Kunda region of Upper Mustang in Nepal Himalaya.”
PROBLEM ANDSCOPE: Example 2: ”Groundwater Management in Northwest Syria: The case of Jabal Al Hoss.” ”Groundwater Management in Jabal Al Hoss, Northwest Syria”
FILLERSAND JARGON: Example: ”Management of natural resources: An assessment of the forest conservation program conducted by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project in Ghandruk VDC, Nepal”
In scientific writing ... Conclusion is a ...Summary of findings (results and discussion) Abstract is a ...Summary of entire publication (introduction, materials and methods, results and discussion and conclusions)
The abstract ... • Must only contain information that is presented in the paper • Commonly 150-350 words • No literature review or references • The last thing you write
Structure of an Abstract (condensed) Amelioration of subsoil acidity requires an increase in calcium status along with a decrease in aluminum status in the subsoil.In this study, effects of phosphogypsum (PG) on the amelioration of subsoil acidity have been evaluated using cultivated and woodland subsoils representing Cecil, Wedowee and Bladen soil series. Subsoil samples were collected and treated with either PG, calcium nitrate or magnesium nitrate along with an unamended control treatment. A fertile topsoil amended with ammonium nitrate was placed on top of all treated subsoils.Top and root growth of alfalfa and soybean were significantly greater in PG-amended than in unamended pots of the Cecil and Wedowee soils, although most growth was observed with the calcium nitrate amended treatment. In the Bladen soil, however, none of the amend-ments evoked a significant growth response in either alfalfa or soybean. The con-centration of Ca in the displaced soil solution (in soils with no plants) as well as tissue levels of calcium suggest that the growth response was partly due to an im-proved calcium availability in both PG and calcium nitrate treated soils. Exchange-able aluminum decreased in PG-amended soils. The self-liming effect of PG, which is a release of hydroxyl due to ligand exchange between sulfate and hydroxide, as well as a decrease in exchangeable aluminum in PG-amended soil is greater in the predominantly kaolinitic Cecil and Wedowee soils than in the smectitic Bladen soil.As a result, significant growth response to PG amendment was observed in the Cecil and Wadowee soils but not in the Bladen soil. (253 words)
INTRODUCTION Warning: You may have changed your focus somewhat since you wrote the proposal. Go through the introduction again to make sure that it hits the subject of your thesis accurately. You will most likely use the introduction that you wrote for your proposal.
INTRODUCTION Ask yourself: Introduction to what?
Chapter 2 Introduction to: 1. The issue 2. Present knowledge (briefly) 3. Remaining questions 4. My work (objectives)
Chapter 2 Implementation project Research project Introduction: The Problem No research needed (?) Social problem ? Technical problem ? Knowledge problem ?
Chapter 2 Socio-technical problem Socio-technical problem Knowledge and knowledge gap Knowledge gap Research needs Research needs Intro. to an implementation project Intro. to a research project Socio-technical problem Introduction: The Problem
Chapter 2 First sentence Introduction 1. The issue 2. Present knowledge 3. Remaining questions 4. My work (objectives)
Intro • Introduction to a situation (or condition)— should rather introduce a knowledge gap (i.e., research problem) • Too general • Lots of statistical information • Starts out with an issue different from the title • Too long • Boring • Too much ”ain’t it awful” Common Flaws in Introductions
Intro Logical Flow • Go straight to your research topic (see title) • Give the reader an overview of the present knowledge and recent research • Point out missing or insufficient knowledge • Describe your objectives
Intro Objectives • State objectives in a way that facilitates the test question: ”Have I reached my objectives?”
Intro Even better objective:Description of a tangible object Objective: ”Develop a tested model” Test question: Have we developed a tested model?
Intro Common mistakes in objective statements • Diffuse • Process instead of product • Too many objectives • Some ’objectives’ are methods • Some are intermediate objectives
Chapter 3 LITERATURE REVIEW Should have been written as part of your proposal Contains ONLY published information Not a single word about your own study in this chapter, please NOT A SINGLE WORD ABOUT YOUR OWN STUDY IN THIS CHAPTER, PLEASE
Next slide LITERATURE REVIEW Move from the global to the local; from the general to the specific Describe what is known about the topic you have studied; what have people found elsewhere? Common mistakes: Too general Lack international perspectives Plagiarism
Many readers Few readers Local / Global Perspectives –Number of Potential Readers Global Continental Regional National Local
Straight-forward Attention needed! Watch out! USE OF REFERENCE • Three reasons for using references: • To substantiate facts • To describe what others think • To substantiate your own views
References • Use references to ... • support questionable statements • give credit to the holder of intellectual property rights
References • Do NOT use references to support generally known facts, e.g., ”Earth is round”; ”Uganda is located between latitude 1 °S and 4 °N”. • Do NOT add references just to obtain a long reference list • Do NOT use references just to show that you have read lots of books and papers