Contemporary Research 2

Research proposal 2000 words 50% of module mark

The research proposal will include an introduction, research questions, and identification and consideration of the methodology to be used for the research project which you the student intends to undertake at Level 6 in SOC 6044 Professional Research Project, as well as annotated bibliographies of primary and secondary sources.

Assignment – Research Proposal

You must write a proposal for a piece of research on a topic of your choice. YOU WILL NOT CARRY OUT this research, although you should use this assignment as an opportunity to develop your ideas for research to carry out for your dissertation.

Structure of the Research Proposal

The below structure is for guidance on how to structure your research proposal. You should follow this, though the following deviations are acceptable:

  • Merging sections 3 and 4;
  • Merging sections 5 and 6
  • Depending on your project there may not be a need for section 6.

These sections are separated in the outline below to ensure that they are not overlooked when you write your proposal and to indicate approximately how much time should be spent discussing them.

Note – depending on your project, these sections will differ. For example, a content analysis of newspapers will likely have a shorter ethics section than interviews conducted with a vulnerable group.

For those doing a library based dissertation you still need to establish research questions and be explicit about your intended aims and purpose of the research. Whilst your methodology section will be shorter, there still needs to be some consideration of why you will use certain theories and texts, and how you will gain access to those texts.


[Enter your Student ID Number in the space below.]


Enter up to 100 characters in this space [To check the character count, highlight the relevant text and click on the tab at the bottom-left border of the Word window which shows the word count – this will open up the Word Count dialogue box which shows the character count.]


Guideline word count – this will differ between sections depending on what your topic is.

[600 words]

[1000 words for a literature-based project]

This section will set out the context for your research. You will review the literature on your chosen research topic, in order to establish what we already know and what YOU hope to add to the current knowledge base.

Bryman (2017) Chapter 5 – ‘Getting started: reviewing the literature’, pp.90-119




[400 words]

The literature review should have identified a gap in current knowledge/ an issue we want to know more about. From this, you will derive your research questions.

Bryman (2017) Chapter 4 ‘Planning a research project and formulating research questions’, pp. 90-119



[700 words]

  • How are you going to collect data relevant to your research question(s)? In other words: What research methods are you planning to use?
  • (Why) Are the research methods/ sources you have selected the appropriate ones for your research question(s)?
  • How do these methods promise to deliver on the research questions?
  • How will you analyse your data?


Depending on your chosen research method you should begin by reading the relevant section from Bryman that relates to that method. Following this you should then engage with further sources focussed on your chosen approach.



[300 words]

  • What, if any, ethical issues do you believe are relevant to the proposed research project?
  • How do you aim to address these?
  • If you believe that an ethics review is not necessary, please explain your view.
Bryman (2017) Chapter 6 ‘Ethics and Politics in Social Research’, pp. 120-146



[The bibliography is not included in your word count.]

We use APA to reference for Criminology and Sociology in the School of Social and Health Sciences.

For more information on how to format references please see:^2

Appendix 1 – Research Question: What should the project be about?

This assignment is your opportunity to pick a research area and topic that are of interest to you. Indeed, you will get the most from this proposal by choosing something you want to understand in greater depth. A good starting point if you are unsure about your area is to read the following from Bryman (2017)


Chapter 4 – ‘Planning a research project and formulating research questions’ (pp. 73-89).


Make use of the workshops to ask questions and explore issues relating to social research.