Students of graduate school (Masters, Seniors, and Ph. D) are required to write their research proposals. The main goal of this work is to introduce what you are going to write in your future dissertation. You may be interested in what's the difference between a master research proposal, senior research proposal, and Doctorate research proposal. Actually, the main difference is the Ph.D. work contains new research, and of course, this type of work is much longer than others. The common thing is these types of work have the same aim and similar structure. This paper helps you to identify your goals, define problems and questions you are going to highlight, and describe your methods of study. There are different requirements for different types and subjects of this work. All of them have quite different application guidelines for writing.
Read our useful guide and get to know how to write a research proposal without wasting your time. We have gathered the most effective tips to complete this paper successfully on time.
Research Proposal Format
The following tips will help you to create a well-structured document according to general requirements. Here is how the structure of your paper must look like:
- Title page. The cover page for the research proposal must contain such data as the title of your work, author, mentor, and date.
- Abstract. It's a short summary of your work that must introduce your study. Usually, the main recommendations to this part require to make it no longer than 300 words.
- Contents table. In this part, you have to list all your work's heading and subheading, noticing page numbers.
- Introduction. In this part, you have to grab readers' attention and present your work to the audience. This section isn't long. You don't have to tell everything you are going to write in the work, but give readers a clear understanding of what your paper is about. You can write the introduction at the end of your work, then it will be easier to formulate the main idea of the whole paper when you'll finish its structure.
- Formulation of the problem. Here you have to write your research question and explain what you are going to research and how it will impact on the problem.
- Background. Make your work interesting to the readers, write 3-4 reasons that explain why this problem is so important for the research.
- Work purpose. Define the main goal of your work. Keep in mind that your study brings some kind of action – interpret, evaluate, analyze, or change the current problem. This is not just a problem review.
- Importance. Here you have to highlight your work's value. Define why your paper is important, to whom it's valuable, what aspects you can change with the results.
- Research methodology. Describe methods you are going to use in your work, and explain why they are the best for your study.
- Sources review. Find and describe those theories and studies that already have been done on this problem. Write about what you are going to make in your own study.
- Work hypotheses. Define what kind of results you expect from your work and describe your expectations.
- Terms definition. All terms used in your work must be described for readers to avoid confusing. Make the list of terms with clear and understandable descriptions.
- Work assumptions. Here you have to describe world views, beliefs, or untested positions that you assumed to be in the study.
- The procedure of the study. Describe your steps you are going to do in your work. According to this procedure, another scientist can duplicate your study.
- References. This is a list of sources cited in alphabetical order.
Research Proposal Goals
Let's answer the question – what is a research proposal and why do you need to write it? This document is an outline of your future project that defines the main question of your paper, adds something new in the study, and explains the significance of your work. Please keep in your memory that if you're working on a Ph.D. dissertation, it must be finished in 3 or 6 years (depending on if you work full time or part-time). You have to define the subject and scope of your future work and to explain how you are going to complete it according to certain terms. Before starting your research, the research proposal must be submitted and signed by the members of the doctoral committee. Only after this process, you are allowed to start writing the whole dissertation.
Revising Your Research Proposal
When you finish writing a research proposal, make sure that you revise and proofread your work thoroughly to avoid grammar, spelling, and logical errors. Spend enough time on this process because mistakes are unacceptable for such a serious paper. You can use different vocabularies and dictionaries to define words' meanings as well as surf the Internet and look for online services that will help you to check and correct grammar mistakes to polish your work.
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Research Proposal Example
A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management
Every construction project is unique and has its own operating environment and sets of technical requirements. As a result, the execution of a construction project is subject to numerous constraints that limit the commencement or progression of field operations, which invariably have significant negative impact on overall project performance. By definition, constraints refer to any condition, such as temporal/spatial limitations and safety/quality concerns, which may prevent a project to achieve its goals. Successful execution and control of a construction project relies on effective identification and management of constraints through master planning and short-term look-ahead scheduling. While the master schedule provides a global view of a project and the overall execution strategy, a look-ahead schedule offers a detail account of operational constraints and a detailed plan showing work to be done within a relatively short time window. Ideally, these detailed schedules should reflect actual field conditions and provide field personnel with operation instructions free of constraints and conflicts (Hinze 2008). This look-ahead scheduling and constraint analysis procedure is also a critical component of the last-planner methodology proposed by Ballard (2000). This research project will provide an overview of state-of-art schedule constraint analysis practice during look-ahead scheduling. In addition, it will propose a conceptual framework for managing constraints.
2. Problem Statement
The importance of developing a constraint-free and reliable work plan has long been recognized by the industry. However, numerous construction projects are still plagued by delays and cost overruns, which can frequently be traced to ineffective identification and treatment of constraints. First, when a constraint is not properly identified during scheduling, subsequent conflicts in the field are inevitable. Today’s projects are becoming more and more technically complex and logistically challenging, which exposes construction operations to even more complex constraints. Second, the traditional scheduling methods, bar charts and Critical Path Method (CPM) which are widely used as a basis for constraint analysis, greatly limit our capability in modeling and resolving constraints during look-ahead scheduling. These methods have long been blamed for their limitations in modeling and communicating constraints, including inability to cope with non-time-related precedence constraints and difficulty to evaluate and communicate inter-dependencies at the field operation level (e.g. Sriprasert and Dawood 2002; Chua and Shen 2001). In summary, there is a need for a better understanding of constraints in construction and a structured approach in identifying and modeling constraints to ensure a constraint-free work plan. More specifically, the following research questions need to be addressed:
- What are the typical constraints found in various construction projects?
- How to classify these constrains for easier identification and modeling?
- What are the current industry practice as well as research advancements in modeling and resolving constraints? How to unify the constraint classification knowledge and various constraint modeling efforts into a framework for total constraint management?
The long term goal of the research is to develop a formalized constraint management system. Constraint management is defined herein as the process of identifying, classifying, modeling, and resolving constraints. The objective of the current study is to provide a comprehensive review of literature and industry practices in relation to constraint analysis and outline a conceptual framework for constraint management. Particularly, the study has the following sub-objectives:
- To provide a comprehensive review of sources and characteristics of constraints typically found in construction projects;
- To develop a constraint classification method for easier constraint identification and modeling;
- To review current industry practices and researches in regards to constraint modeling;
- To outline a conceptual framework for total constraint management. The result of this study will be valuable to the industry practitioners as well as related software providers in developing better practice and tools for constraint management and look-ahead scheduling.
4. Preliminary Literature Review
A preliminary literature review shows that past studies are primarily focused on understanding and modeling a particular type of constraint, such as technological, contractual, resource, spatial, and information constraints. Limited progress has been made on classifying various constraints according to their characteristics in a comprehensive manner. In terms of modeling and resolving constraints, various approaches have been recommended. For example, many CPM-based methods are applied to deal with time-related constraints; knowledge-based systems were used to automate work plan generation; network-based optimization algorithms were developed to resolve constraints; and databases and visualization techniques, such as 3D, 4D, and Virtual Reality (VR), are used to communicate and visualize constraints. What is missing from the past studies is a comprehensive and structured approach in managing constraints in construction projects.
The primary research method for this study is literature review and conceptual modeling. Constraint identification and classification through a structured approach is the very first step toward a “zero-constraint” environment. This study will first review various types of constraints in construction and their characteristics. Based on this understanding, a classification method will be developed to categorize constraint factors for the purpose of constraint identification and modeling. In the second stage of this study, existing constraint modeling methods will be identified based on a comprehensive review of current industry practices and academic researches. Finally, once the constraint classification and modeling techniques are identified, a conceptual framework for total constraint management will be outlined. This study will be conducted between September 2010 and May 2011. Research methodology defines the research methods and logic steps - What to do and how to solve the problem and achieve proposed objectives? Which research methods (e.g. survey, modeling, case study …) will be used? Attach a project schedule table, if necessary.
Ballard, G. (2000). “Last planner system of production control.” Ph.D. Dissertation. Univ. of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.
Chua, D. and Shen, L. J. (2001). “Constraint modeling and buffer management with integrated production scheduler.” Proceedings of International Conferences on Lean Construction 2001, Singapore.
Hinze, J. W. (2008). Construction planning and scheduling, 3rd ed. Pearson, NJ.
Sriprasert, E. and Dawood, N (2002). “Requirements identification for 4D constraint-based construction planning and control system.” Proceedings of CIB W78 conference – distributing knowledge in building, Aarhus, Danmark.