In quantitative studies, one uses theory deductively and places it toward the beginning of the plan for a study. One thus begins the study advancing a theory, collects data to test it, and reflects on whether the theory was confirmed or disconfirmed by the results in the study.
The theory becomes a framework for the entire study, an organizing model for the research questions or hypotheses for the data collection procedure (Creswell, 1994, pp. In qualitative inquiry, the use of theory and of a line of inquiry depends on the nature of the investigation.
(If you prefer, there is also a PDF version of this page: Writing a research proposal) Why write a research proposal ?
A research proposal is an essential step in any research project.
Remember that the theory/line of inquiry selected will inform the statement of the problem, rationale for the study, questions and hypotheses, selection of instruments, and choice of methods.
Ultimately, findings will be discussed in terms of how they relate to the theory/line of inquiry that undergirds the study.
A research question poses a relationship between two or more variables but phrases the relationship as a question; a hypothesis represents a declarative statement of the relations between two or more variables (Kerlinger, 1979; Krathwohl, 1988).
Deciding whether to use questions or hypotheses depends on factors such as the purpose of the study, the nature of the design and methodology, and the audience of the research (at times even the taste and preference of committee members, particularly the Chair).
The introduction is the part of the paper that provides readers with the background information for the research reported in the paper.
Its purpose is to establish a framework for the research, so that readers can understand how it is related to other research (Wilkinson, 1991, p. If a researcher is working within a particular theoretical framework/line of inquiry, the theory or line of inquiry should be introduced and discussed early, preferably in the introduction or literature review.