1. Introduction – context for the research
2. Literature Review
This must contain a clear and concise summary of the research problems to be investigated, derived from the critical review of current literature. You must:
• clearly define related concepts (drawing on the academic literature)
• provide the analysis of the present understanding of your topic. Consider qualitative, quantitative and conceptual academic works. You might be critical of what is put forward in some articles, but you should support your criticism with other literature.
• identify the ‘business problem and the rationale for using the selected methodology that your research will address.
3. Research design
This must present a description of the research design to be implemented. This must include the following:
• Clear statement of the research problems
• Identification of the relevant unit(s) of analysis (individuals, organisations etc);
• Identification of the sampling frame and a description of the sample design;
• Detailed description and justification of the method(s) of data collection (include detail about the steps to be undertaken);
• A comprehensive discussion of the proposed method(s) of data analysis (including a justification of why this is a suitable method);
• A timetable for your project;
• Discussion of the foreseeable limitations or challenges with your research design (e.g. sampling limitations, non-response bias, access to participants, conceptualisation and measurement issues – be critical!!);
4. Reference list
You can also consult the ‘research proposal checklist’ in Veal (2005: 64).