How to Develop a Research Plan
In order to make a credible thesis or research paper, a concise research plan is necessary. Therefore it is imperative that we know how to develop a research plan. After identifying and defining the problem as also accomplishing the relating task, researcher must arrange his ideas in order and write them in the form of an experimental plan or what can be described as ‘Research Plan’.
Research plan must contain the following items.
- Research objective should be clearly stated in a line or two which tells exactly what it is that the researcher expects to do.
- The problem to be studied by researcher must be explicitly stated so that one may know what information is to be obtained for solving the problem.
- A clear mention of the population to be studied should be made. If the study happens to be sample based, the research plan should state the sampling plan i.e., how the sample is to be identified. The method of identifying the sample should be such that generalization from the sample to the original population is feasible.
- In order to make a research plan, the plan must also state the details of the techniques to be adopted. For instance, if interview method is to be used, an account of the nature of the contemplated interview procedure should be given. Similarly, if tests are to be given, the conditions under which they are to be administered should be specified along with the nature of instruments to be used. If public records are to be consulted as sources of data, the fact should be recorded in the research plan. Procedure for quantifying data should also be written out in all details.
- The plan must also contain the methods to be used in processing the data. Statistical and other methods to be used must be indicated in the plan. Such methods should not be left until the data have been collected. This part of the plan may be reviewed by experts in the field, for they can often suggest changes that result in substantial saving of time and effort.
- When developing a research plan, the plan should contain the method to be used in solving the problem. An overall description of the approach to be adopted is usually given and assumptions, if any, of the concerning method to be used are clearly mentioned in the research plan.
- Results of pilot test, if any, should be reported. Time and cost budgets for the research project should also be prepared and laid down in the plan itself.