- 英文文献格式之Harvard Style细节详解
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首先，我们要明确两个写Research Proposal的目的，一是明确研究问题的必要性，二是提出研究的实用方法。Research Proposal应该包含大量的文献综述，从而为你的观点提供有说服力的证据，证明你计划的研究是有必要的。除了提供基本原理外，还需要根据专业或学术领域的要求进行研究的详细方法，并说明了预期的结果和/或从研究完成中获得的收益。
What do I want to study?
Why is the topic important?
How is it significant within the subject areas covered in my class?
What problems will it help solve?
How does it build upon[and hopefully go beyond]research already conducted on the topic?
What exactly should I plan to do,and can I get it done in the time available?
In general,a compelling research proposal should document your knowledge of the topic and demonstrate your enthusiasm for conducting the study.Approach it with the intention of leaving your readers feeling like,"Wow,that's an exciting idea and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!"
In the real world of higher education,a research proposal is most often written by scholars seeking grant funding for a research project or it's the first step in getting approval to write a doctoral dissertation.Even if this is just a course assignment,treat your introduction as the initial pitch of an idea or a thorough examination of the significance of a research problem.After reading the introduction,your readers should not only have an understanding of what you want to do,but they should also be able to gain a sense of your passion for the topic and to be excited about the study's possible outcomes.Note that most proposals do not include an abstract[summary]before the introduction.
Think about your introduction as a narrative written in two to four paragraphs that succinctly answers the following four questions:
What is the central research problem?
What is the topic of study related to that research problem?
What methods should be used to analyze the research problem?
Why is this important research,what is its significance,and why should someone reading the proposal care about the outcomes of the proposed study?
II.Background and Significance背景和重要性
This is where you explain the context of your proposal and describe in detail why it's important.It can be melded into your introduction or you can create a separate section to help with the organization and narrative flow of your proposal.Approach writing this section with the thought that you can’t assume your readers will know as much about the research problem as you do.Note that this section is not an essay going over everything you have learned about the topic;instead,you must choose what is most relevant in explaining the aims of your research.
To that end,while there are no prescribed rules for establishing the significance of your proposed study,you should attempt to address some or all of the following:
State the research problem and give a more detailed explanation about the purpose of the study than what you stated in the introduction.This is particularly important if the problem is complex or multifaceted.
Present the rationale of your proposed study and clearly indicate why it is worth doing;be sure to answer the"So What?question[i.e.,why should anyone care].
Describe the major issues or problems to be addressed by your research.This can be in the form of questions to be addressed.Be sure to note how your proposed study builds on previous assumptions about the research problem.
Explain the methods you plan to use for conducting your research.Clearly identify the key sources you intend to use and explain how they will contribute to your analysis of the topic.
Describe the boundaries of your proposed research in order to provide a clear focus.Where appropriate,state not only what you plan to study,but what aspects of the research problem will be excluded from the study.
If necessary,provide definitions of key concepts or terms.
Connected to the background and significance of your study is a section of your proposal devoted to a more deliberate review and synthesis of prior studies related to the research problem under investigation.The purpose here is to place your project within the larger whole of what is currently being explored,while demonstrating to your readers that your work is original and innovative.Think about what questions other researchers have asked,what methods they have used,and what is your understanding of their findings and,when stated,their recommendations.
Since a literature review is information dense,it is crucial that this section is intelligently structured to enable a reader to grasp the key arguments underpinning your proposed study in relation to that of other researchers.A good strategy is to break the literature into"conceptual categories"[themes]rather than systematically or chronologically describing groups of materials one at a time.Note that conceptual categories generally reveal themselves after you have read most of the pertinent literature on your topic so adding new categories is an on-going process of discovery as you review more studies.How do you know you've covered the key conceptual categories underlying the research literature?Generally,you can have confidence that all of the significant conceptual categories have been identified if you start to see repetition in the conclusions or recommendations that are being made.
NOTE:Do not shy away from challenging the conclusions made in prior research as a basis for supporting the need for your proposal.Assess what you believe is missing and state how previous research has failed to adequately examine the issue that your study addresses.
To help frame your proposal's review of prior research,consider the"five C’s"of writing a literature review:
Cite,so as to keep the primary focus on the literature pertinent to your research problem.
Compare the various arguments,theories,methodologies,and findings expressed in the literature:what do the authors agree on?Who applies similar approaches to analyzing the research problem?
Contrast the various arguments,themes,methodologies,approaches,and controversies expressed in the literature:describe what are the major areas of disagreement,controversy,or debate among scholars?
Critique the literature:Which arguments are more persuasive,and why?Which approaches,findings,and methodologies seem most reliable,valid,or appropriate,and why?Pay attention to the verbs you use to describe what an author says/does[e.g.,asserts,demonstrates,argues,etc.].
Connect the literature to your own area of research and investigation:how does your own work draw upon,depart from,synthesize,or add a new perspective to what has been said in the literature?
The conclusion reiterates the importance or significance of your proposal and provides a brief summary of the entire study.This section should be only one or two paragraphs long,emphasizing why the research problem is worth investigating,why your research study is unique,and how it should advance existing knowledge.
Someone reading this section should come away with an understanding of:
Why the study should be done,
The specific purpose of the study and the research questions it attempts to answer,
The decision to why the research design and methods used where chosen over other options,
The potential implications emerging from your proposed study of the research problem,and
A sense of how your study fits within the broader scholarship about the research problem.
As with any scholarly research paper,you must cite the sources you used.In a standard research proposal,this section can take two forms,so consult with your professor about which one is preferred.
References--lists only the literature that you actually used or cited in your proposal.
Bibliography--lists everything you used or cited in your proposal,with additional citations to any key sources relevant to understanding the research problem.
In either case,this section should testify to the fact that you did enough preparatory work to ensure the project will complement and not just duplicate the efforts of other researchers.Start a new page and use the heading"References"or"Bibliography"centered at the top of the page.Cited works should always use a standard format that follows the writing style advised by the discipline of your course e.g.,education=APA;history=Chicago]or that is preferred by your professor.This section normally does not count towards the total page length of your research proposal.
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