You are required to write a 2000 (up to 2500) word research proposal for a hypothetical doctoral research project focused on an aspect of Indigenous education in an Australian context. A detailed rubric for the standards and criteria against which this task will be assessed are supplied in the Assessment section in iLearn.
The research proposal is an integral component to all research projects even outside of postgraduate studies. Breaking the study down into smaller sections makes the overall task appear less daunting and will make them more manageable. Designing your research provides an avenue for you to unpack your ideas and identify areas where there may be gaps in terms of understanding and development. The research proposal is a means of planning and structuring your research, and articulating what you hope to achieve, and how you plan to go about it. With this kind of proposal you are not required to do any actual research. This assessment is only the design of a project, and it's formed proposal.
Some of you may be thinking of undertaking Higher Degree Research (HDR) in the future: this task will prove highly beneficial to this cohort. The following headings should guide your thinking and are standard across most research proposals. However, if there are any additional headings you believe are integral to your research you may include them in the research proposal. There will be many useful resources online to assist you in writing a generic proposal, however there will be attention paid to the way that you acknowledge and incorporate Indigenous Peoples, Communities and Knowledge(s) in your project, following on from what you learned in your essay. Your essay will have given you an grounding of ethical and cultural considerations in conducting research alongside Indigenous peoples.
COMPONENTS OF A RESEARCH PROPOSAL MAY LOOK LIKE THIS
Provide a short title for your project. If you can, give it a memorable/catchy title. For example, leading Torres Strait Islander academic Professor Martin Nakata wrote a book called ‘Disciplining the savages: Savaging the Disciplines’.
Introduction (approx. 200 words)
Provide a brief introduction to the research, including an introduction to who you are; position yourself. Provide a brief background about your research topic without going directly into what you plan to do. Here you need to include some references!
Research Aim /Questions (approx. 100 words)
Describe the key aims of the research. What questions do you seek to answer? These questions often include words such as identify, establish, develop; and phrases such as “how do…” “what are…” “how can…”.
Significance (approx. 200 words)
Explain why your research will be significant. All research should anticipate some benefits but as you will have learned in your preparations toward writing your essay, Indigenous research has specific requirements regarding who benefits, and how you demonstrate this benefit.
Literature Review (approx. 600 words)
Any research project is expected to fill a gap in existing research. Usually a topic or area of study no one has fully covered, or, a new way of looking at something other research has covered. You need to locate literature in the areas related to your research question – including research findings written by Indigenous people throughout the world either specifically on the topic or across similar topics that relate and strengthen your argument. Your literature review needs to convince the reader/examiner that you already know what others have found across your topic.
Methodology (approx. 300 words)
This is the “process” as well as the underpinning beliefs and the way that you go about your research. It also includes the research tools, or methods, you intend to use to gain data in your project.
Here you need to convince the reader that you have a clear process in terms of how you will go about your research. You need to describe in detail the steps you will take in the project. How will you collect your data? Will you be relying on publicly accessible information (such as literature or archival evidence), will you speak with participants? Here you also need to mention details relating to participants, including how you will recruit them, the numbers of people you intend to engage in the study, and demographic . Data collection – Will you be recording the data, if so how (audio, visual etc)?
Ethical Issues (approx. 150 words)
Describe any ethical dilemmas you may have in undertaking your project. These are particularly important, especially when working with young people, those at risk, Indigenous people, or vulnerable communities. Your essay will assist in the cultural issues you will also note in this section, such as appropriateness of gender, age and questions.
Note: Remember the AIATSIS and NHMRC Ethics Guidelines when writing your methodology and your ethics area.
Timeline (approx. 150 words)
Provide a detailed summary of your plan to undertake your project. Your timeline must include all parts of the project, fro the literature review you must conduct, through to actually going out into the field and conducting interviews or related activities, through to data analysis and writing up. Most PhD research programs stretch from 2.5 to 5 years in length, to give one example of how long a timeline might be.
Communication of Results (approx. 150 words)
It is normal practice for research results to be disseminated to research participants and academic peers. Explain how you plan to
communicate the results of your research project. This includes peer-reviewed articles, publications, presentations, monographs, exhibitions and or a thesis.
Provide at least 15 references.
Between 2000-2500 words (References included).
This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
• Investigate the ethical and methodological requirements of ethical research with Indigenous Peoples, Communities and Knowledge(s).
• Analyse, identify and evaluate issues concerning research in Indigenous contexts.
• Choose an area of Indigenous research and develop your own research questions in relation to the topic.
• Evaluate the complexities of conducting research with Indigenous People and Communities and Knowledge(s).
• Critically reflect on your responsibilities as a researcher in practice contexts.