Title: Research Proposal Writing (NOT OFFERED IN 2024)
Keywords: Research
Planning and programming
Country: United Kingdom
Institution: UK - Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Course coordinator: Ibrahim Bou Orm
Date start: 2023-02-06
Date end: 2023-03-02
About duration and dates: 5 weeks
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Distance-based
Course location: Online course delivered electronically from IGHD, Edinburgh
ECTS credit points: 5 ECTS credits
SIT: 150 hours of SITS, which includes:
- 100 hours of self-directed individual study of online materials and readings (25h per week)
- 20 hours of participation on moderated discussion boards (3h per week) and online live (synchronous) sessions (2h per week)
- Assignment preparation: 30 hours
Language: English
Description: On successful completion of the module the student will be able to create a research proposal utilising the following skills:

-Formulate clear and measurable research aims and objectives;
-Identify relevant theory and develop a conceptual framework;
-Develop a methodological strategy for data collection, management and analysis;
-Formulate a plan for communication/dissemination of the research findings;
-Address logistic planning considerations (partnerships, ethics, timelines, and budgets);
-Identify and target appropriate sources of funding.
Assessment Procedures: There is one summative assignment (worth 100%) which will be based on a scaffolding approach. Through two formative mini-assignments reflecting key components of the module, students will be expected to gradually develop the research topic/idea identified in advance of the module. By the end of the module, students will be asked to develop a full (3,000-words) research proposal, partially on the basis of the mini-assignments prepared throughout the module. Whilst the mini-assignments are formative, students are required to submit both of them in order to be allowed to submit the final assignment. If a student misses the date for a mini-assignment, then a new deadline will be agreed with the module coordinator.

The assignment will be graded against a feedback matrix. Students must achieve 50% to pass the module.
Content: This module provides participants with relevant theory, method, and skills to develop an individual research proposal in the area of global health for academic purposes, intended for post-graduate study, a fellowship, or a funding body. We will define key steps of the process and provide guidance for participants to work through these steps in the course of the module. We will also include broader considerations around proposal submission including the funding environment, identifying and engaging with relevant funding bodies or academic institutions; logistic planning, budgets and timelines; communication and dissemination plans; as well as thinking about the impact of the proposed work on both academic and lay communities.

Content will include:
● Global health and development: current topical areas and the funding environment
● Formulating research purpose, aim and objectives
● Sourcing evidence to make the case to support the rationale and important of the chosen research topic/question
● Applying conceptual and theoretical frameworks
● Methodological considerations for data collection and analysis
● Data management plans and ethical considerations
● Working with partners, associates and research assistants
● Communication, impact, and dissemination
● Timelines and budget
● Writing a good case for support: clarity, consistency, and conviction.
Methods: The module will be conducted in an online learning format over 4 weeks. There will be 2-3 learning units (LU) released per week.
Each Learning Unit comprises approximately 8 hours of guided study material, which includes activities ranging from specified readings, narrated PowerPoints, videos or podcasts – accompanied by prompting questions. This varies from general reflection on the content of the unit; through specified reflection exercises on specific topics; to guided sharing of analyses with other participants for peer review and feedback. Based on these questions, students will spend about 3 hours per week posting materials on the Discussion Board (which is accessible to tutors and participants) and reviewing/ commenting on other students’ posts. Additionally, each week participants will attend a synchronous session, which will last approximately 2 hours. The type of session will vary each week, but it will normally require active participation from students – e.g., in the form of an interactive lecture (with questions or group discussion throughout) or in the form of a seminar. Time for Q&A including on practical aspects of the course will always be allowed.

Students will be asked to identify a research topic in advance (prior to the course), which they want to develop a proposal on and to use that topic throughout the module. It will be helpful for students to have done some initial background research on the topic. The topic can be confirmed with the module coordinator at the beginning of the course.
Prerequisites: ● General admission requirements for entry onto MSc courses run at IGHD include IELTS level of an overall score of 6.0 with no component less than 5.5; or for the TOEFL iBT an overall score of 80 with no component less than 17.
● Regular access to a computer and broadband internet for the duration of the module as well as the ability to watch videos.
● Basic computer skills, including using the world-wide web
Attendance: Minimum number of students is usually 8. Maximum number of students is 30 (no limit on number of TropEd students).
Selection: No specific selection criteria apply – first come first served principle. Applications stay open until two weeks before the course is due to start.
Fees: Scot/UK/EU/International: £720 / ~ €865-
Scholarships: None
Major changes since initial accreditation: This is an updated version of the module ‘Research Design and Proposal Writing (RDPW)’, offered online in previous academic years.
The course coordinator has changed since AY 19-20. In the current version, objectives and content have been updated to give less prominence to the ‘research design and methodology components (for example, covering the building blocks of research, details of data collection issues, such as sampling, or approaches to data analysis), which are covered in other modules. More attention is given to the practical aspects of writing a research proposal, including its structure and key sections such as the data management plan, communication/dissemination plan and timelines and budgets. Specific attention will be given to the identification of appropriate sources of funding as well as on how research proposals are evaluated.
Student evaluation: The module has generally been well received. In past evaluations, it was considered that learning objectives were achieved (95% either agreed or strongly agreed), classes were well prepared and organised (95% either agreed or strongly agreed), the coursework was at the right level (85%), and the module overall interesting (95% marked interesting or very interesting). Specific positive comments were made on content, flow, the support and feedback provided and exposure to the diverse experiences of lecturers.
One issue raised concerned the partial overlap with other modules focusing on research methods (in general and specifically on qualitative methods) and approaches to data collection and analysis. We have now reflected this by focusing less on methodological and ‘research design’ issues, and more on proposal development and writing. This revision will also address another reported issue, which concerned the pace of the module (reported to be ‘about right’ for 78% of students in AY 17-18 and 55% in AY 19-20). In addition to the changes to the content of the learning units, we have also clearly differentiated between core and additional/non-essential readings/resources and added alternative forms of resources to replace some of the readings.
Lessons learned: Students are interested in covering specific aspects of proposal development, such as data management plans, communication and dissemination plans and gather ‘tips’ and practices for practical proposal writing.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in September 2012, Re-accredited in February 2017. Re-accredited Feb GA 2022. Valid until Feb 2027
Remarks: The majority of the resources and reference materials will be provided online. Examples of key references include:

Schneider Z, Fuller J (2018), Writing Research Proposals in the Health Sciences. A Step-by-step Guide. London: Sage
Gorsevski, E. W. (2015). Writing successful grant proposals. Springer.
Email Address: PKadetz@qmu.ac.uk
Date Of Record Creation: 2012-09-17 12:05:44 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2017-06-21 21:31:17 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2022-04-14 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2023-11-22 15:43:49 (W3C-DTF)