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The summative assessment will be in the form of a 4000-word research proposal. The proposal should include as a minimum: Background, literature review/rationale, aims and objectives, research question or hypothesis, research methodology, methods, consideration of ethics, governance issues, validity / reliability / trustworthiness and reflection on your role in the process. (Module Learning Outcomes 1-7). The following is a suggested structure for the work.
Title: A clear title for the research protocol which clearly addresses the variables and concepts that are being researched.
Background: an outline for the key drivers and need for the research proposal. This may include key political, professional, clinical and service user drivers for the research project.
Literature review: a critical discussion of the research literature that forms the foundations for your proposal. This will inform the rationale for the research project and explore how it builds on existing knowledge and /or practice. In other words, your critical reading and summarising of the literature will show what is known, as well as what is not yet known about your particular topic. Module learning outcomes 2 (critically appraised the research literature in a specific area of public health / healthcare management) and 4 (demonstrated advanced competence in the location, retrieval and management of literature from a variety of sources)
Aims and Objectives: a clearly articulated outline of the aims and objectives of the research proposal which will clearly derive from literature review.
Research Question / Hypothesis: Clearly defined question (s) that is specific to the study in order to provide data that will provide answers. The research question or hypothesis will also indicate the kind of empirical evidence which you are proposing to collect. The research question or hypothesis will frame the boundaries of the research project (what it is / isn’t about).
Methodology: This will provide the philosophical and theoretical orientation of the research project that will inform the study design and the methods used to collect data (this is what we explore in the ‘thinking about research’ part of the module). This needs to build on
the literature review, in that the methodological approach you adopt needs to clearly help answer your research question(s). Module learning outcomes 1 (demonstrates a critical awareness and evaluation of a range of philosophical research approaches to enquiry) and 3 (demonstrates a systematic understanding of evidence based knowledge to critically justify the choice of a research methodology to apply to a specific public health /healthcare management issue) Methods: Here you should discuss what we explore in the ‘doing research’ and‘analysing research data’ parts of the module. You should cover sampling and recruitment strategies, inclusion and exclusion criteria, data collection methods and process for analysing the data. It is important to explore issues of reliability and validity with regard to empirical data and the research process, and the feasibility of carrying out the research. This section will also include a consideration of the key ethical concerns associated with the study together with the strategies and processes that will be implemented to address those concerns. These may relate to issues of confidentiality, anonymity, capacity and consent, vulnerable populations etc. Governance issues will relate to the organisational and political processes that govern the research processes. Module learning outcomes 5 (Identifies ethical issues arising and strategies for their management) and 6 (critically evaluates appropriate methods of data collection and data analysis). Discussion: this includes a critical reflection on your role in the research process together with a commentary on your development as a researcher and the strategies that you will implement in order to conduct the research project. Module learning outcome 7 (critical reflection on your role within the research process).