What is the principal phenomenon or phenomena under investigation?
RESEARCH PROPOSAL DESCRIPTION GUIDELINES
Introduce the topic and identify the purpose of the project
What do you propose to research? What is the principal phenomenon or phenomena under investigation?
Who would be interested in the kind of research you plan to produce? Explain why this is potentially interesting or important research. (If you want, explain this in light of the existing literature on your topic.)
Identify any potential consequences of finding answers to your questions. (Remember that consequences can be positive as well as negative.)
State the study question(s)
What is/are the main research question(s) that you plan to address?
Describe the field
Describe the proposed field site and your relationship to this site.
Describe the population among which you will be making your observations in the field.
Describe your relationship to these people. Are you (sometimes) one of them? Explain how or how not. Do you plan to approach the field as a known or an unknown investigator?
In the role of researcher, how will you gain access to the field and kind of information that you are seeking? Will this entail risks for you, or for the people you are studying, or for your relationship with them? Explain how or how not.
Do you foresee any potential ethical problems? How will you address them?
What sorts of activities and practices take place within this field?
What is the scope of the field that you are proposing to observe? How will you know that you
have entered it—that you are there when you see it? And how will you know when you have
exited this temporally and spatially bound place you identify as your field to be researched?
At this point, can you think of any extra-local processes which influence this field? Or, can you
think of any linkages between local process (or practices, or people) and processes which are
more far-reaching (e.g., at the trans-local, regional, national, trans-national or global levels of
analysis), and to what extent do you wish to pay attention to such linkages?
What methods and procedures will you be using?
What units of observation do you plan to adopt for focusing on the principal
phenomenon/phenomena (e.g., individuals, groups, events)?
What aspects of observation do you plan to adopt for focusing on the principal
Cognitive (how people think, believe, or strategize)
Emotional (how people feel or experience)
Discursive (how people argue, although not necessarily believe or feel; can be an
impersonal, disembodied cultural logic)
Hierarchical (social relations of power, e.g., based on gender, race/ethnicity, social class,
age, rank, etc.)
State the topics of observation, or, the sensitizing concepts, that you plan to develop in focusing
on the principal phenomenon/phenomena.
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