SSHRC Proposal Example 4

This proposal is a submission from a master of psychology student, researching student-teacher relationships to understand how to deal with behavioural problems in the classroom. The overreaching theme seemed to be that everything they have done (volunteer work, past education, past research) and will do (continue with a dissertation) connects back to this research. To me, it was this dedication to the project that makes this proposal very convincing.

The proposal is divided into three main sections. 

1. Personal Qualification and Background Information; approximately half a page in length, this section spoke briefly of the root of their research interest and the various experiences that 'reinforced' their interest. Spoken in the past-tense, each experience also cited their role and the general benefit of each experience.

2. Relevant Course Work; at only a single paragraph, the smallest section, the author quickly describes their program and what courses they will be taking this year to help prepare for this research. A variety of course types was stressed (theory, practical, research) and connected back to how this will help conduct research.

3. Proposed Master’s Research; the bulk of the proposal, just over a page, the author subdivides this section into three main areas:

3A. Previous findings; as this research is an extension of previous work, there is a discussion of what has already been done (with citations of author and date) and the gaps in the research they wish to fill in.

3B. Methodology; a two paragraph overview of the approach of the research. Most of the sentences are action oriented (‘Participants will complete’, ‘I will use direct observation’, etc).

3C. Importance of research; as one of the closing paragraphs, this section reinstates the relevance of the research project and also mentions their intentions of furthering this research into a dissertation.   

Finally, a few sentences explicitly stating that her preparation makes them a strong SSHRC candidate close the proposal.

“Beat the Uncertainty”

Understanding the overlapping areas of the petals of the research daisy and pooling in all of them to the core seem to be one of the trickiest tasks, very much like introducing aliens into a Michelangelo conversation. Luker’s research process seems to be extremely exhilarating at times. To think of it as logic of discovery instead of logic of verification and theory generating and not just theory testing makes us reach a whole new level.

Whether it is gaining entrée into the information world and then deciding through data cropping what is relevant to the large picture: it seems daunting when the task has not even begun. Organizational research, which I am planning to partake, not only involves assessing the extent to which a program has achieved its intended results but also acute observation of the users and usability of software interfaces. Meta-analysis is also often regarded as the dominant approach for the organizational sciences. Ethnographic research is no doubt one of the most applicable to our changing times. Pertaining to the earlier described visual research methods, there are in reality various exotic ways of finding out that information which will lead us to the deep meaning, for example, there are processes like Sensory analysis which is a actually a branch of psychology. Personally I was once very interested in research through photography. But then, sometimes I feel the need to know the canonical ways too so that they can give me a more rigid structure. What is required, in short, is an awakening – visual or verbal, that would point me to the North Star.

Research Question

As Yuliya mentioned in her blog that ….lot of dots because lot of thoughts. I am fully agreed with her because Research itself means search again and find out in a systematically and scientific manner. As we got assignment on research proposal and everyone is in their research thoughts. Before starting with the Research Proposal, I found that Research process must be clear. As Luker define in chapter 4 that most challenging task of this kind of research is to transform the Research interest into a Research question. There are four features set off a true Research Question from a Research interest:
1) a true research process.
2) understanding the relationship.
3) permit’s a range of possible answers.
4) a good research question properly answered.

Once research question is frame, it easy to take out the research proposal.
As I learned from the Research class about the framing of the SSHRC proposal this Monday. Therefore, the most important part in the proposal grant writing is the way that you frame your project, to make it relevant to the current topics. Yet, we have to do our own research project under the guidance of Prof. Sara.


SSHRC Proposal Example

I and three others got assigned the SSHRC Proposal Example #2, which is a Masters proposal for a research project that examines “the programs and policies of a chapter of Big Sisters,” in relation to body image issues among young girls. I have broken down the structure of the proposal, which I offer here (briefly). The first two sentences of the first paragraph begin with the word “I.” The first describes the student’s future academic affiliation, and the second describes the student’s “keen interest.” The remainder of the paragraph is dedicated to justifying a “space” for the research the student intends on undertaking. The second paragraph is concerned entirely with the student’s academic credentials – i.e. the courses they intend to take. The “purpose of the research” is in bold, and the particular objectives are listed in bullet points. The student then introduces each of the following sections with a subtitle: Background (which is allotted three paragraphs), Methodology (which is again presented in lettered bullet points), Contribution to the Advancement of Knowledge, and Access and Experience. Background and Methodology take up the largest portion of the two page proposal (probably about a page altogether). An interesting question raised during group discussion was the placement of the last section, Access and Experience. It seemed awkwardly placed, and as though it perhaps should follow the second paragraph, where the student lists the courses relevant to the research, and the perceived benefits of her supervisor’s guidance. My guess is that the student believed that, while relevant – and thus necessary to include – the reader would nevertheless judge this section the least “important” and therefore it was placed at the end. Or alternatively, because the student resumes their discussion of him/herself in the first person, he/she wanted to leave the reader with a strong impression of her expertise and trustworthiness. There was, however, a typo in the last sentence; the student writes “I belief my good…” instead of “I believe my good…” making it impressive that this proposal was accepted. Perhaps this was not the final draft.

Thorns of focusing

First Knight as if pushed gently to reconsider what research, or rather results of research mean: not description of state of facts but explaining them to the best of one’s understanding. The Luker’s voice added inertia to the initial push: explore, seek knowledge, seek place within it, slither into it, explore again, and add knowledge by answering your very special question... At that moment I stopped thinking that I didn’t have time to do Luker’s exercises: too exciting and promising became vision of challenging myself with following the way of the thinking researcher...

...A lot of dots because of a lot of thoughts... Especially the whole lot of them after the first rebound from the literature review while attempting to frame my research interest. Is the topic not worthy to be researched? No good skills of searching for what I need to find or even the lack of them in defining what I need to know? It made me to skip framing and proceed to the daisy:

My second literature review didn’t begin as focused as the first. I tried to stay calm about finding a little bit more on the petal themes than I expected to read in a lifetime except maybe the two of them. “Don’t panic” was the credo for this part of the work.

The victory over info glut flashed when I began to cross my broad searches in pares and was fully manifested for threes of them thanks to the great catalogue tools. Unfortunately, for me it doesn’t look satisfactory again for it seems as if I didn’t find those people who hold a conversation I want to slither in and I am not sure that I now have capacity to start a new one. I only can guess that the cure for this is still more focusing.

P.S.: for those who are not visual learners and researches as Jennette and Eleonore, but more of a textual, reading and “pronouncing in one’s head” types, I can advise for brainstorming such tools as Visuwords. Yes, it is pretty visual but the main point is in textual connections not imaginal ones.

One person's hermit crab is another's baseball cap

The play-doh community map (picture offered by Eleonore) instantly made me think about the board game ‘Cranium.’ In one of the categories a teammate constructs something with clay so that the other teammate can guess what it is. What is clear to one person is (very likely) confounding to the next. Granted, it’s within a short time limit, but it got me thinking about communication gaps and group contexts.
When someone feels they are under fire in a group interview, they will more than likely end up speaking the particular community language of the group, or what they think is proper in that setting. There can also be inequalities of representation between group members, in addition to miscommunications and misunderstandings. The Lunt and Livingston reading suggests that familiarity between members of the group can result in a more open group culture and therefore more substantive results.
Given the scope of our research, I may end up conducting one-on-one interviews regardless. At the cost of reliability and pertinence of the data (which will hopefully be covered in a separate quantitative data portion), I believe that in such interviews, people may give more complete and honest responses. This method could also sidestep the issues of arbitrarily mixing subjects into homogenous groups and then generalizing group opinions.


Serious Play

Eleonore's post about the Lego Serious Play Research Project peaked my interest in the subject. I know it was a recommended reading, but there is A LOT of reading as everyone knows.

I grew up with an artist mother and went to art camp all through my youth, so I understand that some things are often easier to represent through art or visualization, especially when it comes to personal thoughts or feelings. It sounds like a "touchy, feely", super subjective method, and certainly not a quantifiable one, and it is. However, it's a method that may be able to tap into a person's psyche in a way that other methods don't have the power to. It's a method that allows for revisiting and revising as well. I like David Guantlett's personal work regarding the individual's identity, I think that I could use it to inform my own research choice.

For my research question, I'm playing with the idea of online and offline identities and how users feel about themselves in those different spheres. Are they different spheres? Or just extensions of one sphere? Do they require different identities? Why? I think that having a person build a representation for their identity in both their online and offline lives would be really interesting and revealing. Seeing the similarities and differences in the two representations would be very telling about a person's true feelings towards their contemporary identity (ies).

I was also thinking about having online and offline focus groups with the same sample and comparing the results...but perhaps that's for a different post.

Thank you Eleonore and Jennette for being so enthusiastic about such an interesting method, good luck on the workshop!

Get experience in visual research methods - October 8 at 2 PM in the Inforum

Jennette and I have been going back and forth on the ArtLab approach and we decided to host a visual research workshop for all those interested in exploring the method and delving deeper into their own research topic. The workshop will be based on Gauntlett's approach, as highlighted in the Lego Serious Play Research Project. The workshop will take place on Friday, October 8, from 2 PM to 4 PM, in the Inforum. The room number will be confirmed as soon as possible.

Because Lego is too expensive, at this point, we will be using clay to model and explore our research areas, examining ways to visually represent our areas of interest and what is still unclear to us. After an introduction and the modelling session, we will share and discuss our models with each other, exploring questions such as: why we chose to present our ideas in this way, how the other participants understand our model, and what insights we can derive from this discussion into our research.

We hope that the participants will leave the workshop with: 1) experience with a modelling research method; 2) a better grasp of their research ideas; 3) a clearer sense of how their research might be perceived and interpreted by others.

Because we will be buying the clay ahead of time, we suggest that each participant contribute 1$ to the materials. If you have any suggestions on how to make this workshop more useful or would like to be involved in organizing it, please do not hesitate to let us know. If you intend to participate, please also RSVP at: before Thursday, October 7.