HOW TO WRITE A PROPOSAL? 論文翻譯之如何寫論文計畫書?


每個領域寫 proposal 的方式有些不同,很難找到一個範本是所有領域都適用的。範本雖然沒有,但總有一些相同的原則可依循。今天要推薦的書籍:Research Design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (強烈建議買第三版的),在我寫 proposal  的時候給我不少指引。中文方面關於寫作論文計畫書的書籍我不大熟悉,就不隨便推了。

寫論文計畫書會分成很多階段、章節,但我覺得最重要的一步就是:為什麼要作這個研究?我認識不少研究生,有作研究的能力,但是不會找/找不到題目 (這個大問題以後再談,今天先跳過);也有一些研究生,有點子、會找題目、會作研究,但就是不知道 proposal 從哪著手,或是寫的 proposal 失焦沒有重點甚至不吸引人。一篇研究好不好,其實從 proposal 就可以看出一些端倪了。
既然我推薦這本書,總是要從這本書找出一些好用的東西讓大家參考。在這本書的第三章:Writing strategies and ethical considerations ,引用了 Maxwell (1996) 所提出的九個作研究的核心問題,我想這對初寫 proposal 的人應該很有幫助:

1. What do we need to better understand your topic?
2. What do we know little about in terms of your topic?
3. What do you propose to study?
4. What are the setting and the people that you will study?
5. What methods do you plan to use to provide data?
6. How will you analyze the data?
7. How will you validate your findings?
8. What ethical issues will you study present?
9. What do preliminary results show about the practicability and the value of the proposed study?

一開始寫 proposal 不求多,只要花個兩到三頁的篇幅,回答上面這些問題,你就已經有一個很好的開始了。在回答這些問題與寫作的過程中,你會想得更多、更深,自然而然也就會愈寫愈多了。

Ingredients of a Winning Thesis Proposal

1. Introduction (1-2 pages)

  • If you are required to write an introduction, write it so it captures the reader’s interest in this overview. It does not have to be perfect.
  • You can write this section last. Your best overview of you project most likely will come after you have written the other sections of your proposal.

2. Problem Statement

  • First formulate a research question. Next restate the question in the form of a statement: note the adverse consequences of the problem.
  • The type of study determines the kinds of question you should formulate, such as Is there something wrong in society, theoretically unclear or in dispute, or historically worth studying? Is there a program, drug, project, or product that needs evaluation? What do you intend to create or produce and how will it be of value to you and society?

3. Background

  • Capture the reader’s interest and convince him/her of the significance of the problem.
  • Give at least three reasons why the problem you have chosen is important to you and society, and specify at least two concrete examples of the problem.

4. Purpose

  • Begin with “The purpose of this study is to…” change, interpret, understand, evaluate, or analyze the problem.
  • State your thesis goal completely. Remember, it should be some form of investigative activity.

5. Significance

  • Focus on the benefits of your study not the research problem.
  • Place yourself in the position of responding to someone who says “so what?” Provide a persuasive rationale for your argument by answering the following questions: Why is your study important? To whom is it importantWhat can happen to society, or theory, or a program if the study is done or not done?

6. Methodology

  • Describe in technical language your research perspective and your past, present, or possible future points of view.
  • List three research methodologies you could use, and describe why each might be appropriate and feasible. Select the most viable method.

7. Literature Review

  • Locate and briefly describe those studies and theories that support and oppose your approach to the problem. In other words, place the proposed study in context through a critical analysis of selected research reports.
  • Be sure to include alternative methodological approaches that have been used by others who studied your problem.

8. Hypotheses

  • State clearly and succinctly what you expect the results of your study to show.
  • Focus more on the substantive nature of what you expect to find and less on how you will test for those expectations.

9. Definition of Terms

  • Describe for the reader the exact meaning of all terms used in the problem, purpose and methodology sections. Include any terms that, if not defined, might confuse the reader.
  • State the clearest definition of each term using synonyms, analogies, descriptions, examples etc. Define any theoretical terms as they are defined by proponents of the theory you are using.

10. Assumptions

  • Describe untested and un-testable positions, basic values, world views, or beliefs that are assumed in your study.
  • Your examination should extend to your methodological assumptions, such as the attitude you have toward different analytic approaches and data-gathering methods. Make the reader aware of your own biases.

11. Scope & Limitations

  • Disclose any conceptual and methodological limitations
  • Use the following questions to identify the limitations of your study: What kind of design, sampling, measurement, and analysis would be used “in the best of all possible worlds”? How far from these ideals is your study likely to be?

12. Procedure

  • Describe in detail all the steps you will carry out to choose subjects, construct variables, develop hypotheses, gather and present data, such that another researcher could replicate your work.
  • Remember the presentation of data never speaks for itself, it must be interpreted.

13. Long-Range Consequences

  • Think ahead approximately three years after the completion of your thesis project. What are the long-term consequences of your having done the study or not done the study?
  • If you carry out the study successfully your results will: confirm your hypothesis; contradict your hypothesis; or possibly be inconclusive.

Source: Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 3rd Edition 3rd Edition by John W. Creswell
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