Choosing a Topic and the Research Proposal

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CHOOSING A TOPIC AND THE
RESEARCH PROPOSAL

Objectives
On reading this chapter you should:









understand the importance of choosing a research topic that lends itself to a ’do-able’ project; be able to evaluate potential topics; be able to formulate a valid research question (and hypothesis); understand the importance of creativity, and its relationship to innovation in formulating your research question; understand the integral role played by the research question; understand the vital role of the research proposal; be aware of the common pitfalls to be avoided in writing a successful proposal; and be able to write a logical and
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2. Is the topic worthwhile?
It is very important that you pick a topic that is worthwhile. As already noted in
Chapter 2, poor science is unethical. It is unethical to ask people to participate

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CHOOSING A TOPIC AND THE RESEARCH PROPOSAL

1. Interest and
Curiosity?
Figure 3.1

2. Worthwhile?

3. Do-Able?

Three simple strategies for evaluating a potential research topic

in your study if it has little or no likelihood, because of poor conceptualisation and design, of producing meaningful results or furthering scientific knowledge.
If your topic is not worthwhile, not only is it unethical, but you are also failing to satisfy the requirements of meaningful results with theoretical and practical implications. Hence, you will fail to meet the full requirements for an undergraduate project in psychology, and you will ultimately loose precious marks. If the examiner of your project reads your project and thinks ‘well so what’, then you have not met the full requirements of your psychology project. It is important to note that it is your responsibility to come up with valid topics that are worthwhile. Your supervisor’s role is to guide you through the research process, not to generate topics for you.

3. Is

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