Title: Research Proposal Writing (not offered 2020-21)
Keywords: Research (in general)
Planning and programming (incl.. budgeting and evaluation)
Communication (oral, written)
Country: United Kingdom
Institution: UK - Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Course coordinator: Maria Bertone
Date start: 2021-02-22
Date end: 2021-03-29
About duration and dates: 2021-2-22 to 2021-3-19: 4 weeks of online learning 2021-3-29: (summative) assignment submission Applications stay open until two weeks before the course starts.
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 SIT:
● Self-directed individual study of online materials and readings: 25h per week = 25 x 4 =100 hours
● Participation on moderated discussion boards or synchronous sessions: 5h per week = 5 x 4 = 20 hours
● Assignment preparation: 30 hours
Language: English
Description:
At the end of the module, the student should be able to:
● Formulate clear and appropriate research aims and objectives
● Identify relevant theory and develop a conceptual framework
● Describe a methodological strategy for data collection, management and analysis
● Reflect on ethical issues concerning data collection and analysis
● Formulate a plan for communication/dissemination of the research findings
● Identify and target appropriate sources of funding
● Address logistic planning considerations (partnerships, timelines, and budgets)
Assessment Procedures:
The summative assignment 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. Short written feedback will be provided to the students on the formative assignments, while more extensive feedback using a marking matrix will be provided for the summative assignment.
If a student fails the summative assignment they can resubmit it. The mark will be capped at 50% upon resubmission
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.

Learning Units:
● 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 importance of the chosen research topic/question
● Applying conceptual and theoretical frameworks
● Ethical considerations for primary and secondary data collection and analysis
● Methodological considerations for primary and secondary data collection and analysis
● Data management plans
● Communication, impact, and dissemination plans
● Working with partners, associates and research assistants
● Timelines and budgets
● Writing a good proposal: clarity, consistency, and conviction
● Evaluation of research proposals
Methods:
Each Leaning Unit comprises approximately 8 hours of guided study material, which includes activities ranging from specified readings, narrated PowerPoints, videos and podcasts, each 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 1 hour per learning unit/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, which they want to develop a proposal on and to use that topic throughout the module. It will be helpful to have done some initial background research on the topic.
Prerequisites:
• ● General admission requirements for entry onto MSc courses run at IGHD with an IELTS overall score of 6.0 with no individual component score less than 5.5.
● Regular access to a computer and the internet (broadband) for the duration of the module.
● Basic computer skills, including using the world-wide web
Attendance:
Max number of students: 30 (no limit on tropEd students)
Selection:
First 30 students who apply and who meet all the requirements will be selected.
Fees: Scot/UK/EU: £720 / ~ €810,-
International: £1460 / ~€1,620,-
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 due to relocation of the former coordinator (this change was already effective in 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 which was perceived as too fast by students (it was 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. This accreditation is valid until February 2022.
Remarks:
Key readings for the module include:

BOOTH, W. C., COLOMB, G. G., and WILIAMS, J.M., 2008. The craft of research. Chicago: University Chicago Press.
BLAXTER, L., HUGHES, C. and TIGHT, M., 2010. How to research. 4nd ed. Buckingham: Open University Press.
CRESWELL, J., 2009. Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. 3rd ed. London: Sage.
POLGAR, S., and THOMAS, S.A., 2013. Introduction to research in health sciences. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
POPE, C., MAYS, N. and POPAY, J., 2007. Synthesizing qualitative and quantitative health evidence a guide to methods. New York: McGraw Hill Education.
SUPINO, P. G., and BORER, J. S., 2012. Principles of research methodology. New York: Springer.
Email Address: CEyber@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: 2017-07-20 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2021-01-12 11:39:09 (W3C-DTF)

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