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Home » Research Project – Definition, Writing Guide and Ideas

Research Project – Definition, Writing Guide and Ideas

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Research Project

Research Project

Definition :

Research Project is a planned and systematic investigation into a specific area of interest or problem, with the goal of generating new knowledge, insights, or solutions. It typically involves identifying a research question or hypothesis, designing a study to test it, collecting and analyzing data, and drawing conclusions based on the findings.

Types of Research Project

Types of Research Projects are as follows:

Basic Research

This type of research focuses on advancing knowledge and understanding of a subject area or phenomenon, without any specific application or practical use in mind. The primary goal is to expand scientific or theoretical knowledge in a particular field.

Applied Research

Applied research is aimed at solving practical problems or addressing specific issues. This type of research seeks to develop solutions or improve existing products, services or processes.

Action Research

Action research is conducted by practitioners and aimed at solving specific problems or improving practices in a particular context. It involves collaboration between researchers and practitioners, and often involves iterative cycles of data collection and analysis, with the goal of improving practices.

Quantitative Research

This type of research uses numerical data to investigate relationships between variables or to test hypotheses. It typically involves large-scale data collection through surveys, experiments, or secondary data analysis.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research focuses on understanding and interpreting phenomena from the perspective of the people involved. It involves collecting and analyzing data in the form of text, images, or other non-numerical forms.

Mixed Methods Research

Mixed methods research combines elements of both quantitative and qualitative research, using multiple data sources and methods to gain a more comprehensive understanding of a phenomenon.

Longitudinal Research

This type of research involves studying a group of individuals or phenomena over an extended period of time, often years or decades. It is useful for understanding changes and developments over time.

Case Study Research

Case study research involves in-depth investigation of a particular case or phenomenon, often within a specific context. It is useful for understanding complex phenomena in their real-life settings.

Participatory Research

Participatory research involves active involvement of the people or communities being studied in the research process. It emphasizes collaboration, empowerment, and the co-production of knowledge.

Research Project Methodology

Research Project Methodology refers to the process of conducting research in an organized and systematic manner to answer a specific research question or to test a hypothesis. A well-designed research project methodology ensures that the research is rigorous, valid, and reliable, and that the findings are meaningful and can be used to inform decision-making.

There are several steps involved in research project methodology, which are described below:

Define the Research Question

The first step in any research project is to clearly define the research question or problem. This involves identifying the purpose of the research, the scope of the research, and the key variables that will be studied.

Develop a Research Plan

Once the research question has been defined, the next step is to develop a research plan. This plan outlines the methodology that will be used to collect and analyze data, including the research design, sampling strategy, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques.

Collect Data

The data collection phase involves gathering information through various methods, such as surveys, interviews, observations, experiments, or secondary data analysis. The data collected should be relevant to the research question and should be of sufficient quantity and quality to enable meaningful analysis.

Analyze Data

Once the data has been collected, it is analyzed using appropriate statistical techniques or other methods. The analysis should be guided by the research question and should aim to identify patterns, trends, relationships, or other insights that can inform the research findings.

Interpret and Report Findings

The final step in the research project methodology is to interpret the findings and report them in a clear and concise manner. This involves summarizing the results, discussing their implications, and drawing conclusions that can be used to inform decision-making.

Research Project Writing Guide

Here are some guidelines to help you in writing a successful research project:

  • Choose a topic: Choose a topic that you are interested in and that is relevant to your field of study. It is important to choose a topic that is specific and focused enough to allow for in-depth research and analysis.
  • Conduct a literature review : Conduct a thorough review of the existing research on your topic. This will help you to identify gaps in the literature and to develop a research question or hypothesis.
  • Develop a research question or hypothesis : Based on your literature review, develop a clear research question or hypothesis that you will investigate in your study.
  • Design your study: Choose an appropriate research design and methodology to answer your research question or test your hypothesis. This may include choosing a sample, selecting measures or instruments, and determining data collection methods.
  • Collect data: Collect data using your chosen methods and instruments. Be sure to follow ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants if necessary.
  • Analyze data: Analyze your data using appropriate statistical or qualitative methods. Be sure to clearly report your findings and provide interpretations based on your research question or hypothesis.
  • Discuss your findings : Discuss your findings in the context of the existing literature and your research question or hypothesis. Identify any limitations or implications of your study and suggest directions for future research.
  • Write your project: Write your research project in a clear and organized manner, following the appropriate format and style guidelines for your field of study. Be sure to include an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.
  • Revise and edit: Revise and edit your project for clarity, coherence, and accuracy. Be sure to proofread for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors.
  • Cite your sources: Cite your sources accurately and appropriately using the appropriate citation style for your field of study.

Examples of Research Projects

Some Examples of Research Projects are as follows:

  • Investigating the effects of a new medication on patients with a particular disease or condition.
  • Exploring the impact of exercise on mental health and well-being.
  • Studying the effectiveness of a new teaching method in improving student learning outcomes.
  • Examining the impact of social media on political participation and engagement.
  • Investigating the efficacy of a new therapy for a specific mental health disorder.
  • Exploring the use of renewable energy sources in reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change.
  • Studying the effects of a new agricultural technique on crop yields and environmental sustainability.
  • Investigating the effectiveness of a new technology in improving business productivity and efficiency.
  • Examining the impact of a new public policy on social inequality and access to resources.
  • Exploring the factors that influence consumer behavior in a specific market.

Characteristics of Research Project

Here are some of the characteristics that are often associated with research projects:

  • Clear objective: A research project is designed to answer a specific question or solve a particular problem. The objective of the research should be clearly defined from the outset.
  • Systematic approach: A research project is typically carried out using a structured and systematic approach that involves careful planning, data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
  • Rigorous methodology: A research project should employ a rigorous methodology that is appropriate for the research question being investigated. This may involve the use of statistical analysis, surveys, experiments, or other methods.
  • Data collection : A research project involves collecting data from a variety of sources, including primary sources (such as surveys or experiments) and secondary sources (such as published literature or databases).
  • Analysis and interpretation : Once the data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed and interpreted. This involves using statistical techniques or other methods to identify patterns or relationships in the data.
  • Conclusion and implications : A research project should lead to a clear conclusion that answers the research question. It should also identify the implications of the findings for future research or practice.
  • Communication: The results of the research project should be communicated clearly and effectively, using appropriate language and visual aids, to a range of audiences, including peers, stakeholders, and the wider public.

Importance of Research Project

Research projects are an essential part of the process of generating new knowledge and advancing our understanding of various fields of study. Here are some of the key reasons why research projects are important:

  • Advancing knowledge : Research projects are designed to generate new knowledge and insights into particular topics or questions. This knowledge can be used to inform policies, practices, and decision-making processes across a range of fields.
  • Solving problems: Research projects can help to identify solutions to real-world problems by providing a better understanding of the causes and effects of particular issues.
  • Developing new technologies: Research projects can lead to the development of new technologies or products that can improve people’s lives or address societal challenges.
  • Improving health outcomes: Research projects can contribute to improving health outcomes by identifying new treatments, diagnostic tools, or preventive strategies.
  • Enhancing education: Research projects can enhance education by providing new insights into teaching and learning methods, curriculum development, and student learning outcomes.
  • Informing public policy : Research projects can inform public policy by providing evidence-based recommendations and guidance on issues related to health, education, environment, social justice, and other areas.
  • Enhancing professional development : Research projects can enhance the professional development of researchers by providing opportunities to develop new skills, collaborate with colleagues, and share knowledge with others.

Research Project Ideas

Following are some Research Project Ideas:

Field: Psychology

  • Investigating the impact of social support on coping strategies among individuals with chronic illnesses.
  • Exploring the relationship between childhood trauma and adult attachment styles.
  • Examining the effects of exercise on cognitive function and brain health in older adults.
  • Investigating the impact of sleep deprivation on decision making and risk-taking behavior.
  • Exploring the relationship between personality traits and leadership styles in the workplace.
  • Examining the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for treating anxiety disorders.
  • Investigating the relationship between social comparison and body dissatisfaction in young women.
  • Exploring the impact of parenting styles on children’s emotional regulation and behavior.
  • Investigating the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for treating depression.
  • Examining the relationship between childhood adversity and later-life health outcomes.

Field: Economics

  • Analyzing the impact of trade agreements on economic growth in developing countries.
  • Examining the effects of tax policy on income distribution and poverty reduction.
  • Investigating the relationship between foreign aid and economic development in low-income countries.
  • Exploring the impact of globalization on labor markets and job displacement.
  • Analyzing the impact of minimum wage laws on employment and income levels.
  • Investigating the effectiveness of monetary policy in managing inflation and unemployment.
  • Examining the relationship between economic freedom and entrepreneurship.
  • Analyzing the impact of income inequality on social mobility and economic opportunity.
  • Investigating the role of education in economic development.
  • Examining the effectiveness of different healthcare financing systems in promoting health equity.

Field: Sociology

  • Investigating the impact of social media on political polarization and civic engagement.
  • Examining the effects of neighborhood characteristics on health outcomes.
  • Analyzing the impact of immigration policies on social integration and cultural diversity.
  • Investigating the relationship between social support and mental health outcomes in older adults.
  • Exploring the impact of income inequality on social cohesion and trust.
  • Analyzing the effects of gender and race discrimination on career advancement and pay equity.
  • Investigating the relationship between social networks and health behaviors.
  • Examining the effectiveness of community-based interventions for reducing crime and violence.
  • Analyzing the impact of social class on cultural consumption and taste.
  • Investigating the relationship between religious affiliation and social attitudes.

Field: Computer Science

  • Developing an algorithm for detecting fake news on social media.
  • Investigating the effectiveness of different machine learning algorithms for image recognition.
  • Developing a natural language processing tool for sentiment analysis of customer reviews.
  • Analyzing the security implications of blockchain technology for online transactions.
  • Investigating the effectiveness of different recommendation algorithms for personalized advertising.
  • Developing an artificial intelligence chatbot for mental health counseling.
  • Investigating the effectiveness of different algorithms for optimizing online advertising campaigns.
  • Developing a machine learning model for predicting consumer behavior in online marketplaces.
  • Analyzing the privacy implications of different data sharing policies for online platforms.
  • Investigating the effectiveness of different algorithms for predicting stock market trends.

Field: Education

  • Investigating the impact of teacher-student relationships on academic achievement.
  • Analyzing the effectiveness of different pedagogical approaches for promoting student engagement and motivation.
  • Examining the effects of school choice policies on academic achievement and social mobility.
  • Investigating the impact of technology on learning outcomes and academic achievement.
  • Analyzing the effects of school funding disparities on educational equity and achievement gaps.
  • Investigating the relationship between school climate and student mental health outcomes.
  • Examining the effectiveness of different teaching strategies for promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Investigating the impact of social-emotional learning programs on student behavior and academic achievement.
  • Analyzing the effects of standardized testing on student motivation and academic achievement.

Field: Environmental Science

  • Investigating the impact of climate change on species distribution and biodiversity.
  • Analyzing the effectiveness of different renewable energy technologies in reducing carbon emissions.
  • Examining the impact of air pollution on human health outcomes.
  • Investigating the relationship between urbanization and deforestation in developing countries.
  • Analyzing the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • Investigating the impact of land use change on soil fertility and ecosystem services.
  • Analyzing the effectiveness of different conservation policies and programs for protecting endangered species and habitats.
  • Investigating the relationship between climate change and water resources in arid regions.
  • Examining the impact of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • Investigating the effects of different agricultural practices on soil health and nutrient cycling.

Field: Linguistics

  • Analyzing the impact of language diversity on social integration and cultural identity.
  • Investigating the relationship between language and cognition in bilingual individuals.
  • Examining the effects of language contact and language change on linguistic diversity.
  • Investigating the role of language in shaping cultural norms and values.
  • Analyzing the effectiveness of different language teaching methodologies for second language acquisition.
  • Investigating the relationship between language proficiency and academic achievement.
  • Examining the impact of language policy on language use and language attitudes.
  • Investigating the role of language in shaping gender and social identities.
  • Analyzing the effects of dialect contact on language variation and change.
  • Investigating the relationship between language and emotion expression.

Field: Political Science

  • Analyzing the impact of electoral systems on women’s political representation.
  • Investigating the relationship between political ideology and attitudes towards immigration.
  • Examining the effects of political polarization on democratic institutions and political stability.
  • Investigating the impact of social media on political participation and civic engagement.
  • Analyzing the effects of authoritarianism on human rights and civil liberties.
  • Investigating the relationship between public opinion and foreign policy decisions.
  • Examining the impact of international organizations on global governance and cooperation.
  • Investigating the effectiveness of different conflict resolution strategies in resolving ethnic and religious conflicts.
  • Analyzing the effects of corruption on economic development and political stability.
  • Investigating the role of international law in regulating global governance and human rights.

Field: Medicine

  • Investigating the impact of lifestyle factors on chronic disease risk and prevention.
  • Examining the effectiveness of different treatment approaches for mental health disorders.
  • Investigating the relationship between genetics and disease susceptibility.
  • Analyzing the effects of social determinants of health on health outcomes and health disparities.
  • Investigating the impact of different healthcare delivery models on patient outcomes and cost effectiveness.
  • Examining the effectiveness of different prevention and treatment strategies for infectious diseases.
  • Investigating the relationship between healthcare provider communication skills and patient satisfaction and outcomes.
  • Analyzing the effects of medical error and patient safety on healthcare quality and outcomes.
  • Investigating the impact of different pharmaceutical pricing policies on access to essential medicines.
  • Examining the effectiveness of different rehabilitation approaches for improving function and quality of life in individuals with disabilities.

Field: Anthropology

  • Analyzing the impact of colonialism on indigenous cultures and identities.
  • Investigating the relationship between cultural practices and health outcomes in different populations.
  • Examining the effects of globalization on cultural diversity and cultural exchange.
  • Investigating the role of language in cultural transmission and preservation.
  • Analyzing the effects of cultural contact on cultural change and adaptation.
  • Investigating the impact of different migration policies on immigrant integration and acculturation.
  • Examining the role of gender and sexuality in cultural norms and values.
  • Investigating the impact of cultural heritage preservation on tourism and economic development.
  • Analyzing the effects of cultural revitalization movements on indigenous communities.

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Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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research project what is

Illustration by James Round

How to plan a research project

Whether for a paper or a thesis, define your question, review the work of others – and leave yourself open to discovery.

by Brooke Harrington   + BIO

is professor of sociology at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Her research has won international awards both for scholarly quality and impact on public life. She has published dozens of articles and three books, most recently the bestseller Capital without Borders (2016), now translated into five languages.

Edited by Sam Haselby

Need to know

‘When curiosity turns to serious matters, it’s called research.’ – From Aphorisms (1880-1905) by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Planning research projects is a time-honoured intellectual exercise: one that requires both creativity and sharp analytical skills. The purpose of this Guide is to make the process systematic and easy to understand. While there is a great deal of freedom and discovery involved – from the topics you choose, to the data and methods you apply – there are also some norms and constraints that obtain, no matter what your academic level or field of study. For those in high school through to doctoral students, and from art history to archaeology, research planning involves broadly similar steps, including: formulating a question, developing an argument or predictions based on previous research, then selecting the information needed to answer your question.

Some of this might sound self-evident but, as you’ll find, research requires a different way of approaching and using information than most of us are accustomed to in everyday life. That is why I include orienting yourself to knowledge-creation as an initial step in the process. This is a crucial and underappreciated phase in education, akin to making the transition from salaried employment to entrepreneurship: suddenly, you’re on your own, and that requires a new way of thinking about your work.

What follows is a distillation of what I’ve learned about this process over 27 years as a professional social scientist. It reflects the skills that my own professors imparted in the sociology doctoral programme at Harvard, as well as what I learned later on as a research supervisor for Ivy League PhD and MA students, and then as the author of award-winning scholarly books and articles. It can be adapted to the demands of both short projects (such as course term papers) and long ones, such as a thesis.

At its simplest, research planning involves the four distinct steps outlined below: orienting yourself to knowledge-creation; defining your research question; reviewing previous research on your question; and then choosing relevant data to formulate your own answers. Because the focus of this Guide is on planning a research project, as opposed to conducting a research project, this section won’t delve into the details of data-collection or analysis; those steps happen after you plan the project. In addition, the topic is vast: year-long doctoral courses are devoted to data and analysis. Instead, the fourth part of this section will outline some basic strategies you could use in planning a data-selection and analysis process appropriate to your research question.

Step 1: Orient yourself

Planning and conducting research requires you to make a transition, from thinking like a consumer of information to thinking like a producer of information. That sounds simple, but it’s actually a complex task. As a practical matter, this means putting aside the mindset of a student, which treats knowledge as something created by other people. As students, we are often passive receivers of knowledge: asked to do a specified set of readings, then graded on how well we reproduce what we’ve read.

Researchers, however, must take on an active role as knowledge producers . Doing research requires more of you than reading and absorbing what other people have written: you have to engage in a dialogue with it. That includes arguing with previous knowledge and perhaps trying to show that ideas we have accepted as given are actually wrong or incomplete. For example, rather than simply taking in the claims of an author you read, you’ll need to draw out the implications of those claims: if what the author is saying is true, what else does that suggest must be true? What predictions could you make based on the author’s claims?

In other words, rather than treating a reading as a source of truth – even if it comes from a revered source, such as Plato or Marie Curie – this orientation step asks you to treat the claims you read as provisional and subject to interrogation. That is one of the great pieces of wisdom that science and philosophy can teach us: that the biggest advances in human understanding have been made not by being correct about trivial things, but by being wrong in an interesting way . For example, Albert Einstein was wrong about quantum mechanics, but his arguments about it with his fellow physicist Niels Bohr have led to some of the biggest breakthroughs in science, even a century later.

Step 2: Define your research question

Students often give this step cursory attention, but experienced researchers know that formulating a good question is sometimes the most difficult part of the research planning process. That is because the precise language of the question frames the rest of the project. It’s therefore important to pose the question carefully, in a way that’s both possible to answer and likely to yield interesting results. Of course, you must choose a question that interests you, but that’s only the beginning of what’s likely to be an iterative process: most researchers come back to this step repeatedly, modifying their questions in light of previous research, resource limitations and other considerations.

Researchers face limits in terms of time and money. They, like everyone else, have to pose research questions that they can plausibly answer given the constraints they face. For example, it would be inadvisable to frame a project around the question ‘What are the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict?’ if you have only a week to develop an answer and no background on that topic. That’s not to limit your imagination: you can come up with any question you’d like. But it typically does require some creativity to frame a question that you can answer well – that is, by investigating thoroughly and providing new insights – within the limits you face.

In addition to being interesting to you, and feasible within your resource constraints, the third and most important characteristic of a ‘good’ research topic is whether it allows you to create new knowledge. It might turn out that your question has already been asked and answered to your satisfaction: if so, you’ll find out in the next step of this process. On the other hand, you might come up with a research question that hasn’t been addressed previously. Before you get too excited about breaking uncharted ground, consider this: a lot of potentially researchable questions haven’t been studied for good reason ; they might have answers that are trivial or of very limited interest. This could include questions such as ‘Why does the area of a circle equal π r²?’ or ‘Did winter conditions affect Napoleon’s plans to invade Russia?’ Of course, you might be able to make the argument that a seemingly trivial question is actually vitally important, but you must be prepared to back that up with convincing evidence. The exercise in the ‘Learn More’ section below will help you think through some of these issues.

Finally, scholarly research questions must in some way lead to new and distinctive insights. For example, lots of people have studied gender roles in sports teams; what can you ask that hasn’t been asked before? Reinventing the wheel is the number-one no-no in this endeavour. That’s why the next step is so important: reviewing previous research on your topic. Depending on what you find in that step, you might need to revise your research question; iterating between your question and the existing literature is a normal process. But don’t worry: it doesn’t go on forever. In fact, the iterations taper off – and your research question stabilises – as you develop a firm grasp of the current state of knowledge on your topic.

Step 3: Review previous research

In academic research, from articles to books, it’s common to find a section called a ‘literature review’. The purpose of that section is to describe the state of the art in knowledge on the research question that a project has posed. It demonstrates that researchers have thoroughly and systematically reviewed the relevant findings of previous studies on their topic, and that they have something novel to contribute.

Your own research project should include something like this, even if it’s a high-school term paper. In the research planning process, you’ll want to list at least half a dozen bullet points stating the major findings on your topic by other people. In relation to those findings, you should be able to specify where your project could provide new and necessary insights. There are two basic rhetorical positions one can take in framing the novelty-plus-importance argument required of academic research:

  • Position 1 requires you to build on or extend a set of existing ideas; that means saying something like: ‘Person A has argued that X is true about gender; this implies Y, which has not yet been tested. My project will test Y, and if I find evidence to support it, that will change the way we understand gender.’
  • Position 2 is to argue that there is a gap in existing knowledge, either because previous research has reached conflicting conclusions or has failed to consider something important. For example, one could say that research on middle schoolers and gender has been limited by being conducted primarily in coeducational environments, and that findings might differ dramatically if research were conducted in more schools where the student body was all-male or all-female.

Your overall goal in this step of the process is to show that your research will be part of a larger conversation: that is, how your project flows from what’s already known, and how it advances, extends or challenges that existing body of knowledge. That will be the contribution of your project, and it constitutes the motivation for your research.

Two things are worth mentioning about your search for sources of relevant previous research. First, you needn’t look only at studies on your precise topic. For example, if you want to study gender-identity formation in schools, you shouldn’t restrict yourself to studies of schools; the empirical setting (schools) is secondary to the larger social process that interests you (how people form gender identity). That process occurs in many different settings, so cast a wide net. Second, be sure to use legitimate sources – meaning publications that have been through some sort of vetting process, whether that involves peer review (as with academic journal articles you might find via Google Scholar) or editorial review (as you’d find in well-known mass media publications, such as The Economist or The Washington Post ). What you’ll want to avoid is using unvetted sources such as personal blogs or Wikipedia. Why? Because anybody can write anything in those forums, and there is no way to know – unless you’re already an expert – if the claims you find there are accurate. Often, they’re not.

Step 4: Choose your data and methods

Whatever your research question is, eventually you’ll need to consider which data source and analytical strategy are most likely to provide the answers you’re seeking. One starting point is to consider whether your question would be best addressed by qualitative data (such as interviews, observations or historical records), quantitative data (such as surveys or census records) or some combination of both. Your ideas about data sources will, in turn, suggest options for analytical methods.

You might need to collect your own data, or you might find everything you need readily available in an existing dataset someone else has created. A great place to start is with a research librarian: university libraries always have them and, at public universities, those librarians can work with the public, including people who aren’t affiliated with the university. If you don’t happen to have a public university and its library close at hand, an ordinary public library can still be a good place to start: the librarians are often well versed in accessing data sources that might be relevant to your study, such as the census, or historical archives, or the Survey of Consumer Finances.

Because your task at this point is to plan research, rather than conduct it, the purpose of this step is not to commit you irrevocably to a course of action. Instead, your goal here is to think through a feasible approach to answering your research question. You’ll need to find out, for example, whether the data you want exist; if not, do you have a realistic chance of gathering the data yourself, or would it be better to modify your research question? In terms of analysis, would your strategy require you to apply statistical methods? If so, do you have those skills? If not, do you have time to learn them, or money to hire a research assistant to run the analysis for you?

Please be aware that qualitative methods in particular are not the casual undertaking they might appear to be. Many people make the mistake of thinking that only quantitative data and methods are scientific and systematic, while qualitative methods are just a fancy way of saying: ‘I talked to some people, read some old newspapers, and drew my own conclusions.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. In the final section of this guide, you’ll find some links to resources that will provide more insight on standards and procedures governing qualitative research, but suffice it to say: there are rules about what constitutes legitimate evidence and valid analytical procedure for qualitative data, just as there are for quantitative data.

Circle back and consider revising your initial plans

As you work through these four steps in planning your project, it’s perfectly normal to circle back and revise. Research planning is rarely a linear process. It’s also common for new and unexpected avenues to suggest themselves. As the sociologist Thorstein Veblen wrote in 1908 : ‘The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where only one grew before.’ That’s as true of research planning as it is of a completed project. Try to enjoy the horizons that open up for you in this process, rather than becoming overwhelmed; the four steps, along with the two exercises that follow, will help you focus your plan and make it manageable.

Key points – How to plan a research project

  • Planning a research project is essential no matter your academic level or field of study. There is no one ‘best’ way to design research, but there are certain guidelines that can be helpfully applied across disciplines.
  • Orient yourself to knowledge-creation. Make the shift from being a consumer of information to being a producer of information.
  • Define your research question. Your question frames the rest of your project, sets the scope, and determines the kinds of answers you can find.
  • Review previous research on your question. Survey the existing body of relevant knowledge to ensure that your research will be part of a larger conversation.
  • Choose your data and methods. For instance, will you be collecting qualitative data, via interviews, or numerical data, via surveys?
  • Circle back and consider revising your initial plans. Expect your research question in particular to undergo multiple rounds of refinement as you learn more about your topic.

Good research questions tend to beget more questions. This can be frustrating for those who want to get down to business right away. Try to make room for the unexpected: this is usually how knowledge advances. Many of the most significant discoveries in human history have been made by people who were looking for something else entirely. There are ways to structure your research planning process without over-constraining yourself; the two exercises below are a start, and you can find further methods in the Links and Books section.

The following exercise provides a structured process for advancing your research project planning. After completing it, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • describe clearly and concisely the question you’ve chosen to study
  • summarise the state of the art in knowledge about the question, and where your project could contribute new insight
  • identify the best strategy for gathering and analysing relevant data

In other words, the following provides a systematic means to establish the building blocks of your research project.

Exercise 1: Definition of research question and sources

This exercise prompts you to select and clarify your general interest area, develop a research question, and investigate sources of information. The annotated bibliography will also help you refine your research question so that you can begin the second assignment, a description of the phenomenon you wish to study.

Jot down a few bullet points in response to these two questions, with the understanding that you’ll probably go back and modify your answers as you begin reading other studies relevant to your topic:

  • What will be the general topic of your paper?
  • What will be the specific topic of your paper?

b) Research question(s)

Use the following guidelines to frame a research question – or questions – that will drive your analysis. As with Part 1 above, you’ll probably find it necessary to change or refine your research question(s) as you complete future assignments.

  • Your question should be phrased so that it can’t be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
  • Your question should have more than one plausible answer.
  • Your question should draw relationships between two or more concepts; framing the question in terms of How? or What? often works better than asking Why ?

c) Annotated bibliography

Most or all of your background information should come from two sources: scholarly books and journals, or reputable mass media sources. You might be able to access journal articles electronically through your library, using search engines such as JSTOR and Google Scholar. This can save you a great deal of time compared with going to the library in person to search periodicals. General news sources, such as those accessible through LexisNexis, are acceptable, but should be cited sparingly, since they don’t carry the same level of credibility as scholarly sources. As discussed above, unvetted sources such as blogs and Wikipedia should be avoided, because the quality of the information they provide is unreliable and often misleading.

To create an annotated bibliography, provide the following information for at least 10 sources relevant to your specific topic, using the format suggested below.

Name of author(s):
Publication date:
Title of book, chapter, or article:
If a chapter or article, title of journal or book where they appear:
Brief description of this work, including main findings and methods ( c 75 words):
Summary of how this work contributes to your project ( c 75 words):
Brief description of the implications of this work ( c 25 words):
Identify any gap or controversy in knowledge this work points up, and how your project could address those problems ( c 50 words):

Exercise 2: Towards an analysis

Develop a short statement ( c 250 words) about the kind of data that would be useful to address your research question, and how you’d analyse it. Some questions to consider in writing this statement include:

  • What are the central concepts or variables in your project? Offer a brief definition of each.
  • Do any data sources exist on those concepts or variables, or would you need to collect data?
  • Of the analytical strategies you could apply to that data, which would be the most appropriate to answer your question? Which would be the most feasible for you? Consider at least two methods, noting their advantages or disadvantages for your project.

Links & books

One of the best texts ever written about planning and executing research comes from a source that might be unexpected: a 60-year-old work on urban planning by a self-trained scholar. The classic book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) by Jane Jacobs (available complete and free of charge via this link ) is worth reading in its entirety just for the pleasure of it. But the final 20 pages – a concluding chapter titled ‘The Kind of Problem a City Is’ – are really about the process of thinking through and investigating a problem. Highly recommended as a window into the craft of research.

Jacobs’s text references an essay on advancing human knowledge by the mathematician Warren Weaver. At the time, Weaver was director of the Rockefeller Foundation, in charge of funding basic research in the natural and medical sciences. Although the essay is titled ‘A Quarter Century in the Natural Sciences’ (1960) and appears at first blush to be merely a summation of one man’s career, it turns out to be something much bigger and more interesting: a meditation on the history of human beings seeking answers to big questions about the world. Weaver goes back to the 17th century to trace the origins of systematic research thinking, with enthusiasm and vivid anecdotes that make the process come alive. The essay is worth reading in its entirety, and is available free of charge via this link .

For those seeking a more in-depth, professional-level discussion of the logic of research design, the political scientist Harvey Starr provides insight in a compact format in the article ‘Cumulation from Proper Specification: Theory, Logic, Research Design, and “Nice” Laws’ (2005). Starr reviews the ‘research triad’, consisting of the interlinked considerations of formulating a question, selecting relevant theories and applying appropriate methods. The full text of the article, published in the scholarly journal Conflict Management and Peace Science , is available, free of charge, via this link .

Finally, the book Getting What You Came For (1992) by Robert Peters is not only an outstanding guide for anyone contemplating graduate school – from the application process onward – but it also includes several excellent chapters on planning and executing research, applicable across a wide variety of subject areas. It was an invaluable resource for me 25 years ago, and it remains in print with good reason; I recommend it to all my students, particularly Chapter 16 (‘The Thesis Topic: Finding It’), Chapter 17 (‘The Thesis Proposal’) and Chapter 18 (‘The Thesis: Writing It’).

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Overview of research process.

Research Process arrow example 1

The Research Process

Anything you write involves organization and a logical flow of ideas, so understanding the logic of the research process before beginning to write is essential. Simply put, you need to put your writing in the larger context—see the forest before you even attempt to see the trees.

In this brief introductory module, we’ll review the major steps in the research process, conceptualized here as a series of steps within a circle, with each step dependent on the previous one. The circle best depicts the recursive nature of the process; that is, once the process has been completed, the researcher may begin again by refining or expanding on the initial approach, or even pioneering a completely new approach to solving the problem.

Identify a Research Problem

You identify a research problem by first selecting a general topic that’s interesting to you and to the interests and specialties of your research advisor. Once identified, you’ll need to narrow it. For example, if teenage pregnancy is your general topic area, your specific topic could be a comparison of how teenage pregnancy affects young fathers and mothers differently.

Review the Literature

Find out what’s being asked or what’s already been done in the area by doing some exploratory reading. Discuss the topic with your advisor to gain additional insights, explore novel approaches, and begin to develop your research question, purpose statement, and hypothesis(es), if applicable.

Determine Research Question

A good research question is a question worth asking; one that poses a problem worth solving. A good question should:

  • Be clear . It must be understandable to you and to others.
  • Be researchable . It should be capable of developing into a manageable research design, so data may be collected in relation to it. Extremely abstract terms are unlikely to be suitable.
  • Connect with established theory and research . There should be a literature on which you can draw to illuminate how your research question(s) should be approached.
  • Be neither too broad nor too narrow. See Appendix A for a brief explanation of the narrowing process and how your research question, purpose statement, and hypothesis(es) are interconnected.

Appendix A Research Questions, Purpose Statement, Hypothesis(es)

Develop Research Methods

Once you’ve finalized your research question, purpose statement, and hypothesis(es), you’ll need to write your research proposal—a detailed management plan for your research project. The proposal is as essential to successful research as an architect’s plans are to the construction of a building.

See Appendix B to view the basic components of a research proposal.

Appendix B Components of a Research Proposal

Collect & Analyze Data

In Practical Research–Planning and Design (2005, 8th Edition), Leedy and Ormrod provide excellent advice for what the researcher does at this stage in the research process. The researcher now

  • collects data that potentially relate to the problem,
  • arranges the data into a logical organizational structure,
  • analyzes and interprets the data to determine their meaning, 
  • determines if the data resolve the research problem or not, and
  • determines if the data support the hypothesis or not.

Document the Work

Because research reports differ by discipline, the most effective way for you to understand formatting and citations is to examine reports from others in your department or field. The library’s electronic databases provide a wealth of examples illustrating how others in your field document their research.

Communicate Your Research

Talk with your advisor about potential local, regional, or national venues to present your findings. And don’t sell yourself short: Consider publishing your research in related books or journals.

Refine/Expand, Pioneer

Earlier, we emphasized the fact that the research process, rather than being linear, is recursive—the reason we conceptualized the process as a series of steps within a circle. At this stage, you may need to revisit your research problem in the context of your findings. You might also investigate the implications of your work and identify new problems or refine your previous approach.

The process then begins anew . . . and you’ll once again move through the series of steps in the circle.

Continue to Module Two

Appendix C - Key Research Terms

TAA Abstract

The What: Defining a research project

During Academic Writing Month 2018, TAA hosted a series of #AcWriChat TweetChat events focused on the five W’s of academic writing. Throughout the series we explored The What: Defining a research project ; The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment ; The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research ; The Who: Finding key sources in the existing literature ; and The Why: Explaining the significance of your research . This series of posts brings together the discussions and resources from those events. Let’s start with The What: Defining a research project .

Before moving forward on any academic writing effort, it is important to understand what the research project is intended to understand and document. In order to accomplish this, it’s also important to understand what a research project is. This is where we began our discussion of the five W’s of academic writing.

Q1: What constitutes a research project?

According to a Rutgers University resource titled, Definition of a research project and specifications for fulfilling the requirement , “A research project is a scientific endeavor to answer a research question.” Specifically, projects may take the form of “case series, case control study, cohort study, randomized, controlled trial, survey, or secondary data analysis such as decision analysis, cost effectiveness analysis or meta-analysis”.

Hampshire College offers that “Research is a process of systematic inquiry that entails collection of data; documentation of critical information; and analysis and interpretation of that data/information, in accordance with suitable methodologies set by specific professional fields and academic disciplines.” in their online resource titled, What is research? The resource also states that “Research is conducted to evaluate the validity of a hypothesis or an interpretive framework; to assemble a body of substantive knowledge and findings for sharing them in appropriate manners; and to generate questions for further inquiries.”

TweetChat participant @TheInfoSherpa , who is currently “investigating whether publishing in a predatory journal constitutes blatant research misconduct, inappropriate conduct, or questionable conduct,” summarized these ideas stating, “At its simplest, a research project is a project which seeks to answer a well-defined question or set of related questions about a specific topic.” TAA staff member, Eric Schmieder, added to the discussion that“a research project is a process by which answers to a significant question are attempted to be answered through exploration or experimentation.”

In a learning module focused on research and the application of the Scientific Method, the Office of Research Integrity within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that “Research is a process to discover new knowledge…. No matter what topic is being studied, the value of the research depends on how well it is designed and done.”

Wenyi Ho of Penn State University states that “Research is a systematic inquiry to describe, explain, predict and control the observed phenomenon.” in an online resource which further shares four types of knowledge that research contributes to education, four types of research based on different purposes, and five stages of conducting a research study. Further understanding of research in definition, purpose, and typical research practices can be found in this Study.com video resource .

Now that we have a foundational understanding of what constitutes a research project, we shift the discussion to several questions about defining specific research topics.

Q2: When considering topics for a new research project, where do you start?

A guide from the University of Michigan-Flint on selecting a topic states, “Be aware that selecting a good topic may not be easy. It must be narrow and focused enough to be interesting, yet broad enough to find adequate information.”

Schmieder responded to the chat question with his approach.“I often start with an idea or question of interest to me and then begin searching for existing research on the topic to determine what has been done already.”

@TheInfoSherpa added, “Start with the research. Ask a librarian for help. The last thing you want to do is design a study thst someone’s already done.”

The Utah State University Libraries shared a video that “helps you find a research topic that is relevant and interesting to you!”

Q2a: What strategies do you use to stay current on research in your discipline?

The California State University Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program Community Commons resource offers four suggestions for staying current in your field:

  • Become an effective consumer of research
  • Read key publications
  • Attend key gatherings
  • Develop a network of colleagues

Schmieder and @TheInfoSherpa discussed ways to use databases for this purpose. Schmieder identified using “journal database searches for publications in the past few months on topics of interest” as a way to stay current as a consumer of research.

@TheInfoSherpa added, “It’s so easy to set up an alert in your favorite database. I do this for specific topics, and all the latest research gets delivered right to my inbox. Again, your academic or public #librarian can help you with this.” To which Schmieder replied, “Alerts are such useful advancements in technology for sorting through the myriad of material available online. Great advice!”

In an open access article, Keeping Up to Date: An Academic Researcher’s Information Journey , researchers Pontis, et. al. “examined how researchers stay up to date, using the information journey model as a framework for analysis and investigating which dimensions influence information behaviors.” As a result of their study, “Five key dimensions that influence information behaviors were identified: level of seniority, information sources, state of the project, level of familiarity, and how well defined the relevant community is.”

Q3: When defining a research topic, do you tend to start with a broad idea or a specific research question?

In a collection of notes on where to start by Don Davis at Columbia University, Davis tells us “First, there is no ‘Right Topic.’”, adding that “Much more important is to find something that is important and genuinely interests you.”

Schmieder shared in the chat event, “I tend to get lost in the details while trying to save the world – not sure really where I start though. :O)” @TheInfoSherpa added, “Depends on the project. The important thing is being able to realize when your topic is too broad or too narrow and may need tweaking. I use the five Ws or PICO(T) to adjust my topic if it’s too broad or too narrow.”

In an online resource , The Writing Center at George Mason University identifies the following six steps to developing a research question, noting significance in that “the specificity of a well-developed research question helps writers avoid the ‘all-about’ paper and work toward supporting a specific, arguable thesis.”

  • Choose an interesting general topic
  • Do some preliminary research on your general topic
  • Consider your audience
  • Start asking questions
  • Evaluate your question
  • Begin your research

USC Libraries’ research guides offer eight strategies for narrowing the research topic : Aspect, Components, Methodology, Place, Relationship, Time, Type, or a Combination of the above.

Q4: What factors help to determine the realistic scope a research topic?

The scope of a research topic refers to the actual amount of research conducted as part of the study. Often the search strategies used in understanding previous research and knowledge on a topic will impact the scope of the current study. A resource from Indiana University offers both an activity for narrowing the search strategy when finding too much information on a topic and an activity for broadening the search strategy when too little information is found.

The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing identifies scope as an element to be included in the problem statement. Further when discussing problem statements, this resource states, “If you are focusing on a problem, be sure to define and state it specifically enough that you can write about it. Avoid trying to investigate or write about multiple problems or about broad or overly ambitious problems. Vague problem definition leads to unsuccessful proposals and vague, unmanageable documents. Naming a topic is not the same as defining a problem.”

Schmieder identified in the chat several considerations when determining the scope of a research topic, namely “Time, money, interest and commitment, impact to self and others.” @TheInfoSherpa reiterated their use of PICO(T) stating, “PICO(T) is used in the health sciences, but it can be used to identify a manageable scope” and sharing a link to a Georgia Gwinnett College Research Guide on PICOT Questions .

By managing the scope of your research topic, you also define the limitations of your study. According to a USC Libraries’ Research Guide, “The limitations of the study are those characteristics of design or methodology that impacted or influenced the interpretation of the findings from your research.” Accepting limitations help maintain a manageable scope moving forward with the project.

Q5/5a: Do you generally conduct research alone or with collaborative authors? What benefits/challenges do collaborators add to the research project?

Despite noting that the majority of his research efforts have been solo, Schmieder did identify benefits to collaboration including “brainstorming, division of labor, speed of execution” and challenges of developing a shared vision, defining roles and responsibilities for the collaborators, and accepting a level of dependence on the others in the group.

In a resource on group writing from The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, both advantages and pitfalls are discussed. Looking to the positive, this resource notes that “Writing in a group can have many benefits: multiple brains are better than one, both for generating ideas and for getting a job done.”

Yale University’s Office of the Provost has established, as part of its Academic Integrity policies, Guidance on Authorship in Scholarly or Scientific Publications to assist researchers in understanding authorship standards as well as attribution expectations.

In times when authorship turns sour , the University of California, San Francisco offers the following advice to reach a resolution among collaborative authors:

  • Address emotional issues directly
  • Elicit the problem author’s emotions
  • Acknowledge the problem author’s emotions
  • Express your own emotions as “I feel …”
  • Set boundaries
  • Try to find common ground
  • Get agreement on process
  • Involve a neutral third party

Q6: What other advice can you share about defining a research project?

Schmieder answered with question with personal advice to “Choose a topic of interest. If you aren’t interested in the topic, you will either not stay motivated to complete it or you will be miserable in the process and not produce the best results from your efforts.”

For further guidance and advice, the following resources may prove useful:

  • 15 Steps to Good Research (Georgetown University Library)
  • Advice for Researchers and Students (Tao Xie and University of Illinois)
  • Develop a research statement for yourself (University of Pennsylvania)

Whatever your next research project, hopefully these tips and resources help you to define it in a way that leads to greater success and better writing.

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Home Market Research

What is Research: Definition, Methods, Types & Examples

What is Research

The search for knowledge is closely linked to the object of study; that is, to the reconstruction of the facts that will provide an explanation to an observed event and that at first sight can be considered as a problem. It is very human to seek answers and satisfy our curiosity. Let’s talk about research.

Content Index

What is Research?

What are the characteristics of research.

  • Comparative analysis chart

Qualitative methods

Quantitative methods, 8 tips for conducting accurate research.

Research is the careful consideration of study regarding a particular concern or research problem using scientific methods. According to the American sociologist Earl Robert Babbie, “research is a systematic inquiry to describe, explain, predict, and control the observed phenomenon. It involves inductive and deductive methods.”

Inductive methods analyze an observed event, while deductive methods verify the observed event. Inductive approaches are associated with qualitative research , and deductive methods are more commonly associated with quantitative analysis .

Research is conducted with a purpose to:

  • Identify potential and new customers
  • Understand existing customers
  • Set pragmatic goals
  • Develop productive market strategies
  • Address business challenges
  • Put together a business expansion plan
  • Identify new business opportunities
  • Good research follows a systematic approach to capture accurate data. Researchers need to practice ethics and a code of conduct while making observations or drawing conclusions.
  • The analysis is based on logical reasoning and involves both inductive and deductive methods.
  • Real-time data and knowledge is derived from actual observations in natural settings.
  • There is an in-depth analysis of all data collected so that there are no anomalies associated with it.
  • It creates a path for generating new questions. Existing data helps create more research opportunities.
  • It is analytical and uses all the available data so that there is no ambiguity in inference.
  • Accuracy is one of the most critical aspects of research. The information must be accurate and correct. For example, laboratories provide a controlled environment to collect data. Accuracy is measured in the instruments used, the calibrations of instruments or tools, and the experiment’s final result.

What is the purpose of research?

There are three main purposes:

  • Exploratory: As the name suggests, researchers conduct exploratory studies to explore a group of questions. The answers and analytics may not offer a conclusion to the perceived problem. It is undertaken to handle new problem areas that haven’t been explored before. This exploratory data analysis process lays the foundation for more conclusive data collection and analysis.

LEARN ABOUT: Descriptive Analysis

  • Descriptive: It focuses on expanding knowledge on current issues through a process of data collection. Descriptive research describe the behavior of a sample population. Only one variable is required to conduct the study. The three primary purposes of descriptive studies are describing, explaining, and validating the findings. For example, a study conducted to know if top-level management leaders in the 21st century possess the moral right to receive a considerable sum of money from the company profit.

LEARN ABOUT: Best Data Collection Tools

  • Explanatory: Causal research or explanatory research is conducted to understand the impact of specific changes in existing standard procedures. Running experiments is the most popular form. For example, a study that is conducted to understand the effect of rebranding on customer loyalty.

Here is a comparative analysis chart for a better understanding:

It begins by asking the right questions and choosing an appropriate method to investigate the problem. After collecting answers to your questions, you can analyze the findings or observations to draw reasonable conclusions.

When it comes to customers and market studies, the more thorough your questions, the better the analysis. You get essential insights into brand perception and product needs by thoroughly collecting customer data through surveys and questionnaires . You can use this data to make smart decisions about your marketing strategies to position your business effectively.

To make sense of your study and get insights faster, it helps to use a research repository as a single source of truth in your organization and manage your research data in one centralized data repository .

Types of research methods and Examples

what is research

Research methods are broadly classified as Qualitative and Quantitative .

Both methods have distinctive properties and data collection methods .

Qualitative research is a method that collects data using conversational methods, usually open-ended questions . The responses collected are essentially non-numerical. This method helps a researcher understand what participants think and why they think in a particular way.

Types of qualitative methods include:

  • One-to-one Interview
  • Focus Groups
  • Ethnographic studies
  • Text Analysis

Quantitative methods deal with numbers and measurable forms . It uses a systematic way of investigating events or data. It answers questions to justify relationships with measurable variables to either explain, predict, or control a phenomenon.

Types of quantitative methods include:

  • Survey research
  • Descriptive research
  • Correlational research

LEARN MORE: Descriptive Research vs Correlational Research

Remember, it is only valuable and useful when it is valid, accurate, and reliable. Incorrect results can lead to customer churn and a decrease in sales.

It is essential to ensure that your data is:

  • Valid – founded, logical, rigorous, and impartial.
  • Accurate – free of errors and including required details.
  • Reliable – other people who investigate in the same way can produce similar results.
  • Timely – current and collected within an appropriate time frame.
  • Complete – includes all the data you need to support your business decisions.

Gather insights

What is a research - tips

  • Identify the main trends and issues, opportunities, and problems you observe. Write a sentence describing each one.
  • Keep track of the frequency with which each of the main findings appears.
  • Make a list of your findings from the most common to the least common.
  • Evaluate a list of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats identified in a SWOT analysis .
  • Prepare conclusions and recommendations about your study.
  • Act on your strategies
  • Look for gaps in the information, and consider doing additional inquiry if necessary
  • Plan to review the results and consider efficient methods to analyze and interpret results.

Review your goals before making any conclusions about your study. Remember how the process you have completed and the data you have gathered help answer your questions. Ask yourself if what your analysis revealed facilitates the identification of your conclusions and recommendations.



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How to Get Started With a Research Project

Last Updated: October 3, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Chris Hadley, PhD . Chris Hadley, PhD is part of the wikiHow team and works on content strategy and data and analytics. Chris Hadley earned his PhD in Cognitive Psychology from UCLA in 2006. Chris' academic research has been published in numerous scientific journals. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 311,749 times.

You'll be required to undertake and complete research projects throughout your academic career and even, in many cases, as a member of the workforce. Don't worry if you feel stuck or intimidated by the idea of a research project, with care and dedication, you can get the project done well before the deadline!

Development and Foundation

Step 1 Brainstorm an idea or identify a problem or question.

  • Don't hesitate while writing down ideas. You'll end up with some mental noise on the paper – silly or nonsensical phrases that your brain just pushes out. That's fine. Think of it as sweeping the cobwebs out of your attic. After a minute or two, better ideas will begin to form (and you might have a nice little laugh at your own expense in the meantime).

Step 2 Use the tools you've already been given.

  • Some instructors will even provide samples of previously successful topics if you ask for them. Just be careful that you don't end up stuck with an idea you want to do, but are afraid to do because you know someone else did it before.

Step 4 Think from all angles.

  • For example, if your research topic is “urban poverty,” you could look at that topic across ethnic or sexual lines, but you could also look into corporate wages, minimum wage laws, the cost of medical benefits, the loss of unskilled jobs in the urban core, and on and on. You could also try comparing and contrasting urban poverty with suburban or rural poverty, and examine things that might be different about both areas, such as diet and exercise levels, or air pollution.

Step 5 Synthesize specific topics.

  • Think in terms of questions you want answered. A good research project should collect information for the purpose of answering (or at least attempting to answer) a question. As you review and interconnect topics, you'll think of questions that don't seem to have clear answers yet. These questions are your research topics.

Step 7 Brush across information you have access to.

  • Don't limit yourself to libraries and online databases. Think in terms of outside resources as well: primary sources, government agencies, even educational TV programs. If you want to know about differences in animal population between public land and an Indian reservation, call the reservation and see if you can speak to their department of fish and wildlife.
  • If you're planning to go ahead with original research, that's great – but those techniques aren't covered in this article. Instead, speak with qualified advisors and work with them to set up a thorough, controlled, repeatable process for gathering information.

Step 8 Clearly define your project.

  • If your plan comes down to “researching the topic,” and there aren't any more specific things you can say about it, write down the types of sources you plan to use instead: books (library or private?), magazines (which ones?), interviews, and so on. Your preliminary research should have given you a solid idea of where to begin.

Expanding Your Idea with Research

Step 1 Start with the basics.

  • It's generally considered more convincing to source one item from three different authors who all agree on it than it is to rely too heavily on one book. Go for quantity at least as much as quality. Be sure to check citations, endnotes, and bibliographies to get more potential sources (and see whether or not all your authors are just quoting the same, older author).
  • Writing down your sources and any other relevant details (such as context) around your pieces of information right now will save you lots of trouble in the future.

Step 2 Move outward.

  • Use many different queries to get the database results you want. If one phrasing or a particular set of words doesn't yield useful results, try rephrasing it or using synonymous terms. Online academic databases tend to be dumber than the sum of their parts, so you'll have to use tangentially related terms and inventive language to get all the results you want.

Step 3 Gather unusual sources.

  • If it's sensible, consider heading out into the field and speaking to ordinary people for their opinions. This isn't always appropriate (or welcomed) in a research project, but in some cases, it can provide you with some excellent perspective for your research.
  • Review cultural artifacts as well. In many areas of study, there's useful information on attitudes, hopes, and/or concerns of people in a particular time and place contained within the art, music, and writing they produced. One has only to look at the woodblock prints of the later German Expressionists, for example, to understand that they lived in a world they felt was often dark, grotesque, and hopeless. Song lyrics and poetry can likewise express strong popular attitudes.

Step 4 Review and trim.

Expert Q&A

Chris Hadley, PhD

  • Start early. The foundation of a great research project is the research, which takes time and patience to gather even if you aren't performing any original research of your own. Set aside time for it whenever you can, at least until your initial gathering phase is complete. Past that point, the project should practically come together on its own. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • When in doubt, write more, rather than less. It's easier to pare down and reorganize an overabundance of information than it is to puff up a flimsy core of facts and anecdotes. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

research project what is

  • Respect the wishes of others. Unless you're a research journalist, it's vital that you yield to the wishes and requests of others before engaging in original research, even if it's technically ethical. Many older American Indians, for instance, harbor a great deal of cultural resentment towards social scientists who visit reservations for research, even those invited by tribal governments for important reasons such as language revitalization. Always tread softly whenever you're out of your element, and only work with those who want to work with you. Thanks Helpful 8 Not Helpful 2
  • Be mindful of ethical concerns. Especially if you plan to use original research, there are very stringent ethical guidelines that must be followed for any credible academic body to accept it. Speak to an advisor (such as a professor) about what you plan to do and what steps you should take to verify that it will be ethical. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 2

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  • ↑ http://www.butte.edu/departments/cas/tipsheets/research/research_paper.html
  • ↑ https://www.nhcc.edu/academics/library/doing-library-research/basic-steps-research-process
  • ↑ https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185905
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/research_papers/choosing_a_topic.html
  • ↑ https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/using-an-interview-in-a-research-paper
  • ↑ https://www.science.org/content/article/how-review-paper

About This Article

Chris Hadley, PhD

The easiest way to get started with a research project is to use your notes and other materials to come up with topics that interest you. Research your favorite topic to see if it can be developed, and then refine it into a research question. Begin thoroughly researching, and collect notes and sources. To learn more about finding reliable and helpful sources while you're researching, continue reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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What is Research?


Research is independent study and discovery in a field of interest. In the sciences, research is usually conducted in a laboratory led by a Principal Investigator (PI) – this is the faculty member who runs a research project. Research addresses a hypothesis, or scientific question. New student researchers typically join an ongoing project in a faculty’s lab and are often trained & supervised by postdoctoral scholars & graduate students.


  • Conducting independent study complements your studies, your academic goals, and your professional goals
  • UCLA is a world-class research institution with prestigious faculty conducting original research in their fields. Take advantage of the resources available to you
  • Find out if a career in research is right for you
  • Get valuable research experience to make you a competitive applicant for graduate or professional school
  • Research can serve as valuable work experience to make you a competitive applicant for your future career
  • Earn university credit and funding for your research
  • Build meaningful relationships with and receive mentorship from faculty and lab members

Conducting research as an undergraduate is an excellent way to gain experiences and skills that will benefit you both academically and professionally. In addition to exploring your areas of interest, undergraduate research develops skills in collaborative learning and critical thinking. For students interested in pursuing graduate or professional school, undergraduate research is a way of expanding your education outside of the classroom and better preparing yourself for the rigors of graduate study. Even if you are unsure about graduate studies, conducting undergraduate research is a way of exploring your research interests and testing the suitability of a research career to your interests.


Some questions to ask yourself as you plan your research are:

  • What subjects am I interested in and passionate about?
  • How much time can I commit to research?
  • Will I need financial support to conduct research throughout the summer and academic year?
  • What do I want to gain from my research experience?
  • How can I best prepare myself academically and professionally to do research?
  • What courses should I take that will complement the work I do?
  • What safety courses will I need to take to do research in my field or lab?

The better you plan your academic coursework, the better you will be able to organize your time for research. Whatever your future professional and academic plans are, gaining experience in research will enhance your application and your preparedness for more self-directed research.

Once you have evaluated your research interests and organized your time, the next step is finding a faculty mentor. As part of a collaborative research team, you will need to find the right position both for you and your potential research lab.

You can also take part in UC Online’s ‘Introduction to Research’ class available through the Cross-Campus Enrollment System (CCES). This introductory course will help you understand what research means and provide guidance in how to find a research position.

Do you have a question about getting involved in research? Send us a message through Message Center ( Topic: Beginning Undergraduate Research )!

Grad Coach

What (Exactly) Is A Research Proposal?

A simple explainer with examples + free template.

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewed By: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | June 2020 (Updated April 2023)

Whether you’re nearing the end of your degree and your dissertation is on the horizon, or you’re planning to apply for a PhD program, chances are you’ll need to craft a convincing research proposal . If you’re on this page, you’re probably unsure exactly what the research proposal is all about. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Overview: Research Proposal Basics

  • What a research proposal is
  • What a research proposal needs to cover
  • How to structure your research proposal
  • Example /sample proposals
  • Proposal writing FAQs
  • Key takeaways & additional resources

What is a research proposal?

Simply put, a research proposal is a structured, formal document that explains what you plan to research (your research topic), why it’s worth researching (your justification), and how  you plan to investigate it (your methodology). 

The purpose of the research proposal (its job, so to speak) is to convince  your research supervisor, committee or university that your research is  suitable  (for the requirements of the degree program) and  manageable  (given the time and resource constraints you will face). 

The most important word here is “ convince ” – in other words, your research proposal needs to  sell  your research idea (to whoever is going to approve it). If it doesn’t convince them (of its suitability and manageability), you’ll need to revise and resubmit . This will cost you valuable time, which will either delay the start of your research or eat into its time allowance (which is bad news). 

A research proposal is a  formal document that explains what you plan to research , why it's worth researching and how you'll do it.

What goes into a research proposal?

A good dissertation or thesis proposal needs to cover the “ what “, “ why ” and” how ” of the proposed study. Let’s look at each of these attributes in a little more detail:

Your proposal needs to clearly articulate your research topic . This needs to be specific and unambiguous . Your research topic should make it clear exactly what you plan to research and in what context. Here’s an example of a well-articulated research topic:

An investigation into the factors which impact female Generation Y consumer’s likelihood to promote a specific makeup brand to their peers: a British context

As you can see, this topic is extremely clear. From this one line we can see exactly:

  • What’s being investigated – factors that make people promote or advocate for a brand of a specific makeup brand
  • Who it involves – female Gen-Y consumers
  • In what context – the United Kingdom

So, make sure that your research proposal provides a detailed explanation of your research topic . If possible, also briefly outline your research aims and objectives , and perhaps even your research questions (although in some cases you’ll only develop these at a later stage). Needless to say, don’t start writing your proposal until you have a clear topic in mind , or you’ll end up waffling and your research proposal will suffer as a result of this.

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research project what is

As we touched on earlier, it’s not good enough to simply propose a research topic – you need to justify why your topic is original . In other words, what makes it  unique ? What gap in the current literature does it fill? If it’s simply a rehash of the existing research, it’s probably not going to get approval – it needs to be fresh.

But,  originality  alone is not enough. Once you’ve ticked that box, you also need to justify why your proposed topic is  important . In other words, what value will it add to the world if you achieve your research aims?

As an example, let’s look at the sample research topic we mentioned earlier (factors impacting brand advocacy). In this case, if the research could uncover relevant factors, these findings would be very useful to marketers in the cosmetics industry, and would, therefore, have commercial value . That is a clear justification for the research.

So, when you’re crafting your research proposal, remember that it’s not enough for a topic to simply be unique. It needs to be useful and value-creating – and you need to convey that value in your proposal. If you’re struggling to find a research topic that makes the cut, watch  our video covering how to find a research topic .

Free Webinar: How To Write A Research Proposal

It’s all good and well to have a great topic that’s original and valuable, but you’re not going to convince anyone to approve it without discussing the practicalities – in other words:

  • How will you actually undertake your research (i.e., your methodology)?
  • Is your research methodology appropriate given your research aims?
  • Is your approach manageable given your constraints (time, money, etc.)?

While it’s generally not expected that you’ll have a fully fleshed-out methodology at the proposal stage, you’ll likely still need to provide a high-level overview of your research methodology . Here are some important questions you’ll need to address in your research proposal:

  • Will you take a qualitative , quantitative or mixed -method approach?
  • What sampling strategy will you adopt?
  • How will you collect your data (e.g., interviews, surveys, etc)?
  • How will you analyse your data (e.g., descriptive and inferential statistics , content analysis, discourse analysis, etc, .)?
  • What potential limitations will your methodology carry?

So, be sure to give some thought to the practicalities of your research and have at least a basic methodological plan before you start writing up your proposal. If this all sounds rather intimidating, the video below provides a good introduction to research methodology and the key choices you’ll need to make.

How To Structure A Research Proposal

Now that we’ve covered the key points that need to be addressed in a proposal, you may be wondering, “ But how is a research proposal structured? “.

While the exact structure and format required for a research proposal differs from university to university, there are four “essential ingredients” that commonly make up the structure of a research proposal:

  • A rich introduction and background to the proposed research
  • An initial literature review covering the existing research
  • An overview of the proposed research methodology
  • A discussion regarding the practicalities (project plans, timelines, etc.)

In the video below, we unpack each of these four sections, step by step.

Research Proposal Examples/Samples

In the video below, we provide a detailed walkthrough of two successful research proposals (Master’s and PhD-level), as well as our popular free proposal template.

Proposal Writing FAQs

How long should a research proposal be.

This varies tremendously, depending on the university, the field of study (e.g., social sciences vs natural sciences), and the level of the degree (e.g. undergraduate, Masters or PhD) – so it’s always best to check with your university what their specific requirements are before you start planning your proposal.

As a rough guide, a formal research proposal at Masters-level often ranges between 2000-3000 words, while a PhD-level proposal can be far more detailed, ranging from 5000-8000 words. In some cases, a rough outline of the topic is all that’s needed, while in other cases, universities expect a very detailed proposal that essentially forms the first three chapters of the dissertation or thesis.

The takeaway – be sure to check with your institution before you start writing.

How do I choose a topic for my research proposal?

Finding a good research topic is a process that involves multiple steps. We cover the topic ideation process in this video post.

How do I write a literature review for my proposal?

While you typically won’t need a comprehensive literature review at the proposal stage, you still need to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the key literature and are able to synthesise it. We explain the literature review process here.

How do I create a timeline and budget for my proposal?

We explain how to craft a project plan/timeline and budget in Research Proposal Bootcamp .

Which referencing format should I use in my research proposal?

The expectations and requirements regarding formatting and referencing vary from institution to institution. Therefore, you’ll need to check this information with your university.

What common proposal writing mistakes do I need to look out for?

We’ve create a video post about some of the most common mistakes students make when writing a proposal – you can access that here . If you’re short on time, here’s a quick summary:

  • The research topic is too broad (or just poorly articulated).
  • The research aims, objectives and questions don’t align.
  • The research topic is not well justified.
  • The study has a weak theoretical foundation.
  • The research design is not well articulated well enough.
  • Poor writing and sloppy presentation.
  • Poor project planning and risk management.
  • Not following the university’s specific criteria.

Key Takeaways & Additional Resources

As you write up your research proposal, remember the all-important core purpose:  to convince . Your research proposal needs to sell your study in terms of suitability and viability. So, focus on crafting a convincing narrative to ensure a strong proposal.

At the same time, pay close attention to your university’s requirements. While we’ve covered the essentials here, every institution has its own set of expectations and it’s essential that you follow these to maximise your chances of approval.

By the way, we’ve got plenty more resources to help you fast-track your research proposal. Here are some of our most popular resources to get you started:

  • Proposal Writing 101 : A Introductory Webinar
  • Research Proposal Bootcamp : The Ultimate Online Course
  • Template : A basic template to help you craft your proposal

If you’re looking for 1-on-1 support with your research proposal, be sure to check out our private coaching service , where we hold your hand through the proposal development process (and the entire research journey), step by step.

Literature Review Course

Psst… there’s more!

This post is an extract from our bestselling short course, Research Proposal Bootcamp . If you want to work smart, you don't want to miss this .

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Myrna Pereira

I truly enjoyed this video, as it was eye-opening to what I have to do in the preparation of preparing a Research proposal.

I would be interested in getting some coaching.


I real appreciate on your elaboration on how to develop research proposal,the video explains each steps clearly.

masebo joseph

Thank you for the video. It really assisted me and my niece. I am a PhD candidate and she is an undergraduate student. It is at times, very difficult to guide a family member but with this video, my job is done.

In view of the above, I welcome more coaching.

Zakia Ghafoor

Wonderful guidelines, thanks

Annie Malupande

This is very helpful. Would love to continue even as I prepare for starting my masters next year.


Thanks for the work done, the text was helpful to me

Ahsanullah Mangal

Bundle of thanks to you for the research proposal guide it was really good and useful if it is possible please send me the sample of research proposal

Derek Jansen

You’re most welcome. We don’t have any research proposals that we can share (the students own the intellectual property), but you might find our research proposal template useful: https://gradcoach.com/research-proposal-template/

Cheruiyot Moses Kipyegon

Cheruiyot Moses Kipyegon

Thanks alot. It was an eye opener that came timely enough before my imminent proposal defense. Thanks, again


thank you very much your lesson is very interested may God be with you


I am an undergraduate student (First Degree) preparing to write my project,this video and explanation had shed more light to me thanks for your efforts keep it up.

Synthia Atieno

Very useful. I am grateful.

belina nambeya

this is a very a good guidance on research proposal, for sure i have learnt something

Wonderful guidelines for writing a research proposal, I am a student of m.phil( education), this guideline is suitable for me. Thanks

You’re welcome 🙂


Thank you, this was so helpful.

Amitash Degan

A really great and insightful video. It opened my eyes as to how to write a research paper. I would like to receive more guidance for writing my research paper from your esteemed faculty.

Glaudia Njuguna

Thank you, great insights

Thank you, great insights, thank you so much, feeling edified


Wow thank you, great insights, thanks a lot

Roseline Soetan

Thank you. This is a great insight. I am a student preparing for a PhD program. I am requested to write my Research Proposal as part of what I am required to submit before my unconditional admission. I am grateful having listened to this video which will go a long way in helping me to actually choose a topic of interest and not just any topic as well as to narrow down the topic and be specific about it. I indeed need more of this especially as am trying to choose a topic suitable for a DBA am about embarking on. Thank you once more. The video is indeed helpful.


Have learnt a lot just at the right time. Thank you so much.

laramato ikayo

thank you very much ,because have learn a lot things concerning research proposal and be blessed u for your time that you providing to help us

Cheruiyot M Kipyegon

Hi. For my MSc medical education research, please evaluate this topic for me: Training Needs Assessment of Faculty in Medical Training Institutions in Kericho and Bomet Counties


I have really learnt a lot based on research proposal and it’s formulation

Arega Berlie

Thank you. I learn much from the proposal since it is applied


Your effort is much appreciated – you have good articulation.

You have good articulation.

Douglas Eliaba

I do applaud your simplified method of explaining the subject matter, which indeed has broaden my understanding of the subject matter. Definitely this would enable me writing a sellable research proposal.


This really helping


Great! I liked your tutoring on how to find a research topic and how to write a research proposal. Precise and concise. Thank you very much. Will certainly share this with my students. Research made simple indeed.

Alice Kuyayama

Thank you very much. I an now assist my students effectively.

Thank you very much. I can now assist my students effectively.

Abdurahman Bayoh

I need any research proposal


Thank you for these videos. I will need chapter by chapter assistance in writing my MSc dissertation


Very helpfull

faith wugah

the videos are very good and straight forward


thanks so much for this wonderful presentations, i really enjoyed it to the fullest wish to learn more from you

Bernie E. Balmeo

Thank you very much. I learned a lot from your lecture.

Ishmael kwame Appiah

I really enjoy the in-depth knowledge on research proposal you have given. me. You have indeed broaden my understanding and skills. Thank you

David Mweemba

interesting session this has equipped me with knowledge as i head for exams in an hour’s time, am sure i get A++

Andrea Eccleston

This article was most informative and easy to understand. I now have a good idea of how to write my research proposal.

Thank you very much.

Georgina Ngufan

Wow, this literature is very resourceful and interesting to read. I enjoyed it and I intend reading it every now then.


Thank you for the clarity

Mondika Solomon

Thank you. Very helpful.


Thank you very much for this essential piece. I need 1o1 coaching, unfortunately, your service is not available in my country. Anyways, a very important eye-opener. I really enjoyed it. A thumb up to Gradcoach

Md Moneruszzaman Kayes

What is JAM? Please explain.


Thank you so much for these videos. They are extremely helpful! God bless!

azeem kakar

very very wonderful…

Koang Kuany Bol Nyot

thank you for the video but i need a written example

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Undergraduate Research & Projects Conference

  • Cite Your Presentation

What is the research process?

  • What are scholarly articles?
  • What are tips for reading scientific papers?
  • How can I identify a primary research article?
  • How can I make sure my sources are credible?
  • How can I cite my sources properly?
  • Use Library Resources
  • Find Discipline-Specific Guides
  • Best-Bet STEM Resources
  • Does writing matter in STEM?
  • Writing Literature Reviews

T he research process can usually be broken into six steps. 

The research process shown as a cycle of six steps

  • Exploring the background of a topic
  • Developing a topic
  • Finding sources
  • Evaluating sources
  • Using and citing sources
  • Creating new knowledge

(Image licensed under CC BY 2.0)

How might I use each step?

1. explore background.

Every research project starts with gathering basic information on a potential topic. Try to select a topic that will hold your attention. Use this stage of the research process to find an overview of the topic and its main concepts or issues.

2. Develop a Topic

Once you've selected a topic, you will need to develop it to make sure it has an appropriate scope. Think about what specifically interests you about the topic. Is there a particular problem or demographic that you'd like to address? 

  • Four Steps to Narrow Your Research Topic The University of Guelph Library has an excellent, brief (3 minute) video on developing research topics, which may assist you with this process. This video has captions and a transcript available on YouTube. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

3. Find Sources

Information can come from anywhere: social media, blogs, books, academic journal articles, magazine or newspaper articles, and more. The types of information you need depend on the question you are trying to answer.

The SLCC Library provides FREE access to millions of journal, magazine, and newspaper articles, along with books, streaming films, and more. For more information on using these resources, explore the "Use Library Resources" and "Best-Bet STEM Resources" sections of this guide.

4. Evaluate Sources

Evaluating sources is not a clear-cut process. This is partially due to differing contexts for using information. Citing a Facebook post may be out of place in a research paper on the science behind climate change. However, real-world examples found on social media might be useful in a presentation on the experiences of climate refugees. Get into the practice of thinking critically about all information that you encounter, regardless of where you find it.

5. Use and Cite Sources

Using sources in your work allows you to strengthen it with credible information, identify contributions to research, and point your readers toward more information on your topic. When you paraphrase or quote sources, you will want to cite them.  For citation assistance, ask a librarian or visit the SLCC Student Writing and Reading Center .

6. Create New Knowledge

Every paper you write or project you complete creates new knowledge that you can share with others. 

Does research always follow these steps?

You likely will use these six steps whenever you complete a project that relies on outside resources. For example, when you put together a research paper, case study, or presentation. As you use these steps, you will likely realize that the actual research process is not as straightforward as it seems. In fact, it is often not a linear process at all! Sometimes you’ll do steps out of order or need to revisit earlier steps.

Research is messy, but it can also be an enjoyable "treasure hunt" too!

How can I learn more about the research process?

If you want to learn more about the research process, you may take one of the tutorials linked below. Each further explores the six basic steps of the research process.  For additional questions or assistance, please contact the Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Librarian.

  • Advanced Research Process Tutorial - (2000s) Detailed tutorial on library and other research by Jamie Dwyer.
  • Library Research Tutorial - (1000s Level) Library Research aimed at 1000s course level. Created by Keith Slade.
  • Beginning Library Research Tutorial (0900s) Basics Tutorial for 900s level courses.
  • << Previous: Develop Research Skills
  • Next: What are scholarly articles? >>
  • Last Updated: Apr 5, 2024 2:11 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.slcc.edu/uprc

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MMI to participate in multicenter NIH research project

  • Written by Kelsey Kirk, UNMC strategic communications
  • Published Apr 18, 2024

Jennifer Blackford&comma; PhD

Jennifer Blackford, PhD

The UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute will participate in a five-year, $8.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish the Vanderbilt Alcohol Research and Education Center.

The goal of the center is to perform research studies that translate findings from animal models into human studies and that use findings from human studies to guide new research directions in animal models. The center will support collaborative efforts by researchers at Vanderbilt and across the country to help better understand and treat alcohol use disorder.

Jennifer Blackford, PhD, MMI’s director of research, will serve as the associate director of VAREC and will lead one of four research projects tied to the grant.

Dr. Blackford’s MMI-based project will investigate brain changes and symptoms in people in the early stages of recovery from an alcohol use disorder. Heightened anxiety and depression are common in early recovery; however, Dr. Blackford’s research has shown that not everyone experiences these symptoms, which are thought to be triggers for relapse.

Dr. Blackford’s project will provide an in-depth study of people in the first month of recovery from an alcohol use disorder, including two brain scans and repeated symptom measures. Her goal is to identify the brain networks that predict anxiety and depression symptoms during early recovery from an AUD.

The new center grant was inspired by cross-species translational work that Dr. Blackford has been conducting with Danny Winder, PhD, director of the Vanderbilt Alcohol Research and Education Center and chair of the department of neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School for more than five years, Dr. Blackford said.

“It is challenging to perform research which rapidly translates findings between rodents and humans, and this large center grant will provide us with exactly that opportunity,” she said. “The center grant includes three rodent projects, which all connect conceptually with my human project. We hope that this will serve as a model for other researchers.”

The center includes a dissemination core that will focus on education and outreach by translating complex scientific findings into accessible information for the public. Plans include podcasts, webinars and a near-peer mentoring program.

The center also includes a research methods core that will establish a course and provide scholarships for researchers across the country to learn innovative neuroscience technologies at Vanderbilt. A summer student program will provide stipends for students from underrepresented communities to work in addiction labs at Vanderbilt, the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School and UNMC.

Congratulations! Great research!

Congrats Dr. Blackford. Such important work

Congratulations! This is impactful, much needed work.

Congratulations. Good luck to you and you program project team.

Awesome news, congrats Jenni!

Congratulations, Jenny! We continue to be so proud of you and your important work!

Congratulations, Dr. Blackford!

Congrats, Dr. Blackford, on your important research!

Well done Jenni! The Alcohol Center of Research-Nebraska (ACORN) is excited to have such an internationally-recognized alcohol researcher as Dr. Blackford continuing her career research here at UNMC. We look forward to future collaborations.

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research project what is

College of Agriculture & Natural Resources Faculty & Staff

Impactful research projects honored with canr excellence in research impact award.

April 19, 2024

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The SARS-CoV-2 Epidemiology-Wastewater Evaluation and Reporting (SEWERS) Network and Metrics, Management, and Monitoring: An Investigation of Pasture and Rangeland Soil Health and its Drivers (3M) Team are being honored May 2.

research project what is

The SARS-CoV-2 Epidemiology-Wastewater Evaluation and Reporting (SEWERS) Network and Metrics, Management, and Monitoring: An Investigation of Pasture and Rangeland Soil Health and its Drivers (3M) Team are being honored with CANR Excellence in Research Impact Awards.

The CANR Excellence in Research Award program recognizes the outstanding contributions of CANR researchers to the research mission of Michigan State University (MSU). In particular, the awards focus on the impact that their achievements have had on academic and/or external stakeholder communities. The Impact Award, co-sponsored by ABR and MSUE, recognizes research projects that have made an outstanding impact in the external stakeholder community. During this year’s CANR Faculty and Staff Awards, recipients of both the 2023 and 2024 CANR Excellence in Research Awards will be honored.

2023 Impact Award SARS-CoV-2 Epidemiology-Wastewater Evaluation and Reporting (SEWERS) Network

The MSU SEWERS team is being recognized for their impactful work related to SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance. In collaboration with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the MSU SEWERS team has worked to harness and expand monitoring capabilities in Michigan to track the SARS-CoV-2 virus in wastewater. The team has served as an essential hub in a statewide network of laboratories conducting advanced testing of recreational waters and microbial source tracking.

Members of the SARS-CoV-2 Epidemiology-Wastewater Evaluation and Reporting (SEWERS) Network include:

  • Joan Rose , Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences 
  • Erin Dreelin , Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Nishita D'Souza , Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Rebecca Ives , Department of Fisheries and Wildlife 
  • Jade Mitchell , Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
  • Ryan Julien , Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
  • Lydia Arbaugh, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Xijiao Wang, Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
  • Spencer Kuehn, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Simran Singh, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Alex Tran, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Corrine Caponigro, Biomedical Laboratory Science, College of Natural Science
  • Emily Zak, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Natural Science
  • Melissa Downs, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Sarah Holmes, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Mackenzie DeRaad, Lyman Briggs College, Zoology

2024 Impact Award Metrics, Management, and Monitoring: An Investigation of Pasture and Rangeland Soil Health and its Drivers (3M) Team

The 3M Team’s project works to provide tools to accurately measure outcomes of soil health in grazing land environments to farmers and ranchers, in turn guiding management decisions and quantifying the impact of intentional management. The project also examines social and economic sustainability, otherwise known as producer well-being, items rarely studied in livestock agriculture. In collaboration with 60 farms, the team collects intensive data from sites in Michigan, Oklahoma and Wyoming. The project uniquely combines technology, ecology, social and economic sciences in a wholistic approach to allow producers to make informed decisions that benefit their operations.

Members of the Metrics, Management, and Monitoring: An Investigation of Pasture and Rangeland Soil Health and its Drivers (3M) Team include:

  • Jason Rowntree , Department of Animal Science
  • Matt Raven , Department of Community Sustainability
  • Melissa McKendree , Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics
  • Frank Lupi , Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics
  • Jeremiah Asher , Institute of Water Research

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2.1.4: Components of a Research Project

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  • Describe useful strategies to employ when searching for literature.
  • Describe why sociologists review prior literature and how they organize their literature reviews.
  • Identify the main sections contained in scholarly journal articles.
  • Identify and describe the major components researchers need to plan for when designing a research project.

In this section, we’ll examine the most typical components that make up a research project, bringing in a few additional components to those we have already discussed. Keep in mind that our purpose at this stage is simply to provide a general overview of research design. The specifics of each of the following components will vary from project to project. Further, the stage of a project at which each of these components comes into play may vary. In later chapters, we will consider more specifically how these components work differently depending on the research method being employed.

Searching for Literature

Familiarizing yourself with research that has already been conducted on your topic is one of the first stages of conducting a research project and is crucial for coming up with a good research design. But where to start? How to start? In  Chapter 1.3 "Beginning a Research Project" , you learned about some of the most common databases that house information about published sociological research. As you search for literature, you may have to be fairly broad in your search for articles.

I’m guessing you may feel you’ve heard enough about electronic gadget addiction in this chapter, so let’s consider a different example here. On my campus, much to the chagrin of a group of student smokers, smoking was recently banned. These students were so upset by the idea that they would no longer be allowed to smoke on university grounds that they staged several smoke-outs during which they gathered in populated areas around campus and enjoyed a puff or two together.

A student in my research methods class wanted to understand what motivated this group of students to engage in activism centered around what she perceived to be, in this age of smoke-free facilities, a relatively deviant act. Were the protesters otherwise politically active? How much effort and coordination had it taken to organize the smoke-outs? The student researcher began her research by attempting to familiarize herself with the literature on her topic. Yet her search in Sociological Abstracts for “college student activist smoke-outs,” yielded no results. Concluding there was no prior research on her topic, she informed me that she would need an alternative assignment to the  annotated bibliography  I required since there was no literature for her to review. How do you suppose I responded to this news? What went wrong with this student’s search for literature?

In her first attempt, the student had been too narrow in her search for articles. But did that mean she was off the hook for completing the annotated bibliography assignment? Absolutely not. Instead, she went back to Sociological Abstracts and searched again using different combinations of search terms. Rather than searching for “college student activist smoke-outs” she tried, among other sets of terms, “college student activism.” This time her search yielded a great many articles. Of course, they were not focused on prosmoking activist efforts, but they were focused on her population of interest, college students, and on her broad topic of interest, activism. I suggested that reading articles on college student activism might give her some idea about what other researchers have found in terms of what motivates college students to become involved in activist efforts. I also suggested she could play around with her search terms and look for research on activism centered on other sorts of activities that are perceived by some as deviant, such as marijuana use or veganism. In other words, she needed to be broader in her search for articles.

While this student found success by broadening her search for articles, her reading of those articles needed to be narrower than her search. Once she identified a set of articles to review by searching broadly, it was time to remind herself of her specific research focus: college student activist smoke-outs. Keeping in mind her particular research interest while reviewing the literature gave her the chance to think about how the theories and findings covered in prior studies might or might not apply to her particular point of focus. For example, theories on what motivates activists to get involved might tell her something about the likely reasons the students  she  planned to study got involved. At the same time, those theories might not cover all the particulars of student participation in smoke-outs. Thinking about the different theories then gave the student the opportunity to focus her research plans and even to develop a few hypotheses about what she thought she was likely to find.

Reviewing the Literature

Developing an annotated bibliography is often one of the early steps that researchers take as they begin to familiarize themselves with prior research on their topic. A second step involves a literature review in which a researcher positions his or her work within the context of prior scholarly work in the area. A literature review addresses the following matters: What sorts of questions have other scholars asked about this topic? What do we already know about this topic? What questions remain? As the researcher answers these questions, he or she synthesizes what is contained in the literature, possibly organizing prior findings around themes that are relevant to his or her particular research focus.

I once advised an undergraduate student who conducted a research project on speciesism, the belief that some species are superior to or have more value and rights than others. Her research question was “Why and how do humans construct divisions between themselves and animals?” This student organized her review of literature around the two parts of her research question: the why and the how. In the “why” section of her literature review, she described prior research that addressed questions of why humans are sometimes speciesist. She organized subsections around the three most common answers that were presented in the scholarly literature. She used the same structure in the “how” section of her literature review, arranging subsections around the answers posed in previous literature about  how  humans construct divisions between themselves and animals. This organizational scheme helped readers understand what we already know about the topic and what theories we rely on to help make sense of the topic. In addition, by also highlighting what we still don’t know, it helped the student set the stage for her own empirical research on the topic.

The preceding discussion about how to organize a review of scholarly literature assumes that we all know how to read scholarly literature. Yes, yes, I understand that you must know how to read. But reading scholarly articles can be a bit more challenging than reading a textbook. Here are a few pointers about how to do it successfully. First, it is important to understand the various sections that are typically contained in scholarly journals’ reports of empirical research. One of the most important and easiest to spot sections of a journal article is its  abstract , the short paragraph at the beginning of an article that summarizes the author’s research question, methods used to answer the question, and key findings. The abstract may also give you some idea about the theoretical proclivities of the author. As a result, reading the abstract gives you both a framework for understanding the rest of the article and the punch line. It tells you what the author(s) found and whether the article is relevant to your area of inquiry.

After the abstract, most journal articles will contain the following sections (although exact section names are likely to vary): introduction, literature review, methodology, findings, and discussion. Of course, there will also be a list of references cited,Lists of references cited are a useful source for finding additional literature in an area. and there may be a few tables, figures, or appendices at the end of the article as well. While you should get into the habit of familiarizing yourself with articles you wish to cite  in their entirety , there are strategic ways to read journal articles that can make them a little easier to digest. Once you have read the abstract and determined that this is an article you’d like to read in full, read through the discussion section at the end of the article next. Because your own review of literature is likely to emphasize findings from previous literature, you should make sure that you have a clear idea about what those findings are. Reading an article’s discussion section helps you understand what the author views as the study’s major findings and how the author perceives those findings to relate to other research.

As you read through the rest of the article, think about the elements of research design that we have covered in this chapter. What approach does the researcher take? Is the research exploratory, descriptive, or explanatory? Is it inductive or deductive? Idiographic or nomothetic? Qualitative or quantitative? What claims does the author make about causality? What are the author’s units of analysis and observation? Use what you have learned in this chapter about the promise and potential pitfalls associated with each of these research elements to help you responsibly read and understand the articles you review. Future chapters of this text will address other elements of journal articles, including choices about measurement, sampling, and research method. As you learn about these additional items, you will increasingly gain more knowledge that you can apply as you read and critique the scholarly literature in your area of inquiry.

Additional Important Components

Thinking about the overarching goals of your research project and finding and reviewing the existing literature on your topic are two of the initial steps you’ll take when designing a research project. Forming a clear research question, as discussed in  Chapter 1.3 "Beginning a Research Project" , is another crucial step. There are a number of other important research design components you’ll need to consider, and we will discuss those here.

At the same time that you work to identify a clear research question, you will probably also think about the overarching goals of your research project. Will it be exploratory, descriptive, or explanatory? Will your approach be idiographic or nomothetic, inductive or deductive? How you design your project might also be determined in part by whether you aim for your research to have some direct application or if your goal is to contribute more generally to sociological knowledge about your topic. Next, think about what your units of analysis and units of observation will be. These will help you identify the key concepts you will study. Once you have identified those concepts, you’ll need to decide how to define them, and how you’ll  know  that you’re observing them when it comes time to collect your data. Defining your concepts, and knowing them when you see them, has to do with conceptualization and operationalization. Of course, you also need to know what approach you will take to collect your data. Thus identifying your research method is another important part of research design. You also need to think about who your research participants will be and what larger group(s) they may represent. Last, but certainly not least, you should consider any potential ethical concerns that could arise during the course of your research project. These concerns might come up during your data collection, but they might also arise when you get to the point of analyzing or sharing your research results.

Decisions about the various research components do not necessarily occur in sequential order. In fact, you may have to think about potential ethical concerns even before zeroing in on a specific research question. Similarly, the goal of being able to make generalizations about your population of interest could shape the decisions you make about your method of data collection. Putting it all together, the following list shows some of the major components you’ll need to consider as you design your research project:

  • Research question
  • Literature review
  • Research strategy (idiographic or nomothetic, inductive or deductive)
  • Research goals (basic or applied)
  • Units of analysis and units of observation
  • Key concepts (conceptualization and operationalization)
  • Method of data collection
  • Research participants (sample and population)
  • Ethical concerns


  • When identifying and reading relevant literature, be broad in your search  for  articles, but be narrower in your reading  of  articles.
  • Writing an annotated bibliography can be a helpful first step to familiarize yourself with prior research in your area of interest.
  • Literature reviews summarize and synthesize prior research.
  • Literature reviews are typically organized around substantive ideas that are relevant to one’s research question rather than around individual studies or article authors.
  • When designing a research project, be sure to think about, plan for, and identify a research question, a review of literature, a research strategy, research goals, units of analysis and units of observation, key concepts, method(s) of data collection, population and sample, and potential ethical concerns.
  • Find and read a complete journal article that addresses a topic that is of interest to you (perhaps using Sociological Abstracts, which is introduced in  Chapter 3.1 "Beginning a Research Project" ). In four to eight sentences, summarize the author’s research question, theoretical framing, methods used, and major findings. Reread the article, and see how close you were in reporting these key elements. What did you understand and remember best? What did you leave out? What reading strategies may have helped you better recall relevant details from the article?
  • Using the example of students’ electronic gadget addictions, design a hypothetical research project by identifying a plan for each of the nine components of research design that are presented in this section.

Google fires 28 workers for protesting $1.2 billion Israel contract

Google has fired more than two dozen employees for protesting its $1.2 billion contract to provide the Israeli government and military with cloud and artificial intelligence services.

Twenty-eight people were fired after nine employees were arrested Tuesday night following a sit-in at the company’s offices in Seattle, New York and Sunnyvale, California — including one at Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian’s office, according to the group that organized the demonstration, No Tech for Apartheid.

Protesters sat in his office for more than nine hours, wearing shirts and raising banners that read “No more genocide for profit,” until they were eventually arrested.

It is the latest high-profile clash in the U .S. stoked by tensions over the Israel-Hamas war .

“These protests were part of a longstanding campaign by a group of organizations and people who largely don’t work at Google," a Google spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday.

"A small number of employee protesters entered and disrupted a few of our locations. Physically impeding other employees’ work and preventing them from accessing our facilities is a clear violation of our policies, and completely unacceptable behavior. After refusing multiple requests to leave the premises, law enforcement was engaged to remove them to ensure office safety," the statement said.

"We have so far concluded individual investigations that resulted in the termination of employment for 28 employees, and will continue to investigate and take action as needed," it added.

The protests were led by No Tech for Apartheid, a group of tech workers who have been demanding Amazon and Google drop their Project Nimbus, which is a joint $1.2 billion contract providing the Israeli government and military with cloud infrastructure, artificial intelligence services and data centers.

No Tech for Apartheid said that the workers had engaged in a “peaceful sit-in and refusing to leave did not damage property or threaten other workers” and that Google had fired them “indiscriminately.”

“This excuse to avoid confronting us and our concerns directly, and attempt to justify its illegal, retaliatory firings, is a lie,” it said in a statement late Wednesday, accusing the company of valuing its contract with the Israeli government more than its employees.

Google employees protest at the company offices in Sunnyvale, Calif., in an image posted to social media Wednesday.

Google issued a stern warning to its employees, with the company’s vice president of global security, Chris Rackow, saying, “If you’re one of the few who are tempted to think we’re going to overlook conduct that violates our policies, think again,” according to an internal memo obtained by CNBC.

The company also said its work "is not directed at highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services.”

“Google Cloud supports numerous governments around the world in countries where we operate, including the Israeli government, with our generally available cloud computing services,” a Google spokesperson told CNBC on Wednesday evening.

The Israeli prime minister's office and the Israel Defense Forces did not immediately respond to requests for comment from NBC News.

The workers were also protesting labor conditions at the company — saying the contract was affecting “health and safety on the job” — and what they said was Google’s disregard “for the well-being of our Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim colleagues  facing  Google-enabled racism, discrimination, harassment, and censorship.”

The project has become a “major health & safety workplace conditions issue,” with many employees quitting after having cited “mental health consequences of working at a company that is using their labor to enable a genocide,” the group said in a statement posted Wednesday on Medium .

“On a personal level, I am opposed to Google taking any military contracts — no matter which government they’re with or what exactly the contract is about,” Cheyne Anderson, a Google Cloud software engineer based in Washington, told CNBC on Wednesday.

Anderson was one of the nine workers arrested across the country Tuesday, with some of the arrests streamed live on Twitch.

Four people were arrested for “trespassing” inside Google’s New York office, a New York police spokesperson told NBC News on Wednesday. Almost 50 protesters had taken part in the demonstration, the spokesperson said.

Mithil Aggarwal is a Hong Kong-based reporter/producer for NBC News.

Research Project Coordinator (Hybrid/Remote) - 127795

Job description, #127795 research project coordinator (hybrid/remote).

UCSD Layoff from Career Appointment : Apply by 4/22/2024 for consideration with preference for rehire. All layoff applicants should contact their Employment Advisor.

Special Selection Applicants : Apply by 5/2/2024. Eligible Special Selection clients should contact their Disability Counselor for assistance.

This position will work a hybrid schedule which includes a combination of working both onsite on Campus and remote.


The Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at the University of California, San Diego. The goals of the institute include:1) Creating and promoting public health innovations to advance equity, justice, and wellbeing for all,2) Cultivating new generations of diverse public health professionals, 3) Advancing scientific discovery, dissemination, and implementation, 4) Collaborating with diverse partners to develop community-led health solutions.

Training, Research, and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) conducts research, develops assessment tools, and delivers interventions to prevent injuries and fatalities resulting from collisions. Programs are offered statewide that address age-related driving impairments, distracted driving, drowsy driving, pedestrian collisions, and driving while impaired/intoxicated the influence. Target audiences include health care providers, law enforcement, social service providers, educators, commercial transportation, older drivers, youth ages 15-20, and the public at large. Programs and products developed by TREDS are nationally recognized and serve as models for other states.

The Project Coordinator will collaborate closely with the Project Manager to establish timelines, monitor task progress, facilitate team meetings, and document meeting notes. Additionally, they will be responsible for obtaining purchase orders, reviewing invoices, and serving as a point of contact for project inquiries. Furthermore, the Coordinator will work in conjunction with the Communications Manager to develop project-related communications.

The role involves overseeing assessments and ensuring quality control, preserving the accuracy of research data, conducting analyses, and assisting in the preparation of quarterly and final progress reports and presentations. The Coordinator will also be accountable for the preparation, editing, and modification of diverse documents, including research reports, manuscripts, presentations, and proposals. Effectively handling daily management challenges with tact, diplomacy, and discretion, the Coordinator will actively participate in various day-to-day operations as needed and address complex and sensitive issues.

Applies professional concepts to conduct analytical studies or projects of moderate scope and complexity to address a variety of policy, research, and procedural issues. Fully analyzes issues and problems, gathers data and information, finds and evaluates alternatives, and makes sound recommendations.


Six (6) years of related experience, education/training, OR a Bachelor's degree in related area plus two (2) years of related experience/training.

Working knowledge of common organization- or research-specific and other computer application programs.

Proficient in communication and interpersonal skills to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.

Proficient in ability to use discretion and maintain all confidentiality.

Demonstrates ability to use sound judgment in responding to issues and concerns.

Demonstrates ability to analyze, research, and synthesize large amounts of data with strong attention to detail.

Proficient in ability to multi-task with demanding timeframes.

Working knowledge of applicable policy analysis techniques.

Experience in program planning and project management.


Master’s degree in public health or related fields.

Advanced degree in health services research, public health, policy, or related field. Academic background and experience in community engagement, health equity and health disparities.

Demonstrated experience working with faculty in developing research proposals and in writing and securing contracts, grants, and/or other support from public and private funding sources in the field of public health.


  • Employment is subject to a criminal background check.

Pay Transparency Act

Annual Full Pay Range: $56,700 - $97,500 (will be prorated if the appointment percentage is less than 100%)

Hourly Equivalent: $27.16 - $46.70

Factors in determining the appropriate compensation for a role include experience, skills, knowledge, abilities, education, licensure and certifications, and other business and organizational needs. The Hiring Pay Scale referenced in the job posting is the budgeted salary or hourly range that the University reasonably expects to pay for this position. The Annual Full Pay Range may be broader than what the University anticipates to pay for this position, based on internal equity, budget, and collective bargaining agreements (when applicable).

If employed by the University of California, you will be required to comply with our Policy on Vaccination Programs, which may be amended or revised from time to time. Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements. If applicable, life-support certifications (BLS, NRP, ACLS, etc.) must include hands-on practice and in-person skills assessment; online-only certification is not acceptable.

UC San Diego Health Sciences is comprised of our School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, The Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, and our Student Health and Well-Being Department. We have long been at the forefront of translational - or "bench-to-bedside" - research, transforming patient care through discovery and innovation leading to new drugs and technologies. Translational research is carried out every day in the hundreds of clinical trials of promising new therapies offered through UC San Diego Health, and in the drive of our researchers and clinician-scientists who are committed to having a significant impact on patient care. We invite you to join our team!

Applications/Resumes are accepted for current job openings only. For full consideration on any job, applications must be received prior to the initial closing date. If a job has an extended deadline, applications/resumes will be considered during the extension period; however, a job may be filled before the extended date is reached.

To foster the best possible working and learning environment, UC San Diego strives to cultivate a rich and diverse environment, inclusive and supportive of all students, faculty, staff and visitors. For more information, please visit UC San Diego Principles of Community .

UC San Diego is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.

For the University of California’s Affirmative Action Policy please visit: https://policy.ucop.edu/doc/4010393/PPSM-20 For the University of California’s Anti-Discrimination Policy, please visit: https://policy.ucop.edu/doc/1001004/Anti-Discrimination

UC San Diego is a smoke and tobacco free environment. Please visit smokefree.ucsd.edu for more information.

UC San Diego Health maintains a marijuana and drug free environment. Employees may be subject to drug screening.

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Posted : 4/18/2024

Job Reference # : 127795


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Anti-'woke' activist investor group targets Kohl's with proposal to shareholders

research project what is

A conservative activist investor is pressuring Kohl’s Corp. over the company’s philanthropic efforts directed at minority and LGBTQ anti-suicide organizations. 

Kohl's shareholders should support creation of a committee "on corporate financial sustainability to oversee and review the impact of the Company’s policy positions, advocacy, partnerships and charitable giving on social and political matters, and the effect of those actions on the Company’s financial sustainability," according to the proposal by National Center for Public Policy Research .

The Washington D.C.-based group criticizes Kohl’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, particularly what it called a $1 million contribution “to the BLM movement and related causes since 2020.” 

“These causes have been accused of squandering assets and supporting racism and antisemitism and highly divisive and dangerous programs such as police-defunding and ‘anti-racist’ racial discrimination,” the organization states.

More: PolitiFact: Has Kohl’s Corp. donated to Black Lives Matter? Short answer: no

The Kohl's board of directors unanimously urged shareholders to reject the group's efforts in balloting before the retailer's annual meeting on May 15. Shareholders are voting on more routine matters including board members, executive compensation, an independent accounting firm, and a long-term compensation plan. Results are expected to be tabulated after the meeting.

The Kohl's directors called the proposal “unnecessary, duplicative, and not an effective use of company resources," according to the proxy statement. 

The company said the board and other standing committees “already devote substantial resources to the oversight of social and political matters, including Kohl’s policy positions, advocacy, partnerships, and charitable giving, and the related impacts on the company’s financial sustainability.” 

More: Kohl's Corp to bring 200 Babies 'R' Us to stores with new partnership

According to the proxy statement, the National Center for Public Policy Research has owned “at least $2,000” of Kohl’s stock for three years.

Group pressures other companies over philanthropic efforts

 Kohl's is not the only company that the group has pressured over its philanthropic efforts.

The organization has about 60 such proposals with companies across the country., said Stefan Padfield, deputy director of the group's Free Enterprise Project.

“Most people would go to Kohl’s because they want good quality products at a reasonable price, right? And most people are not interested in being lectured to or having their money, whether that’s as consumers or as shareholders, used to advance divisive ideological issues,” Padfield said. “When that becomes revealed, you have a values problem.” 

Christina O'Connell, senior campaign manager for shareholders investments for Eko, a nonprofit focused on corporate accountability, said the National Center for Public Policy Research is within its rights as a shareholder to make proposals on issues it feels to be important.

“They definitely, I would say, exaggerate their claims,” O’Connell said. “They’re part of a campaign to oppose what they call ‘woke capitalism.’ And all of this circles around claims that companies are giving in to what they describe as extreme or radical left-wing interests. And they see their goal as solving that through these proposals.”  

O'Connell and Eko monitor the proposals the National Center for Public Policy Research directed at major companies like Kohl's, Target and Best Buy.

Group claims Kohl's gave money to Black Lives Matter

The group's appeal to investors includes a link to a database created by Claremount Institute for the American Way of Life , which lists Kohl’s as one of the companies that have contributed to the Black Lives Matter movement.  

That database links to a 2020 company pledge to distribute $1 million to five local nonprofits : Milwaukee Urban League, Employ Milwaukee, Acts Housing, Safe & Sound and Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.   

None of those groups are directly connected to Black Lives Matter.  

“We don’t have the resources to dig down layer after layer for every proposition,” Padfield said when asked about the discrepancy.

“So when we have a reputable organization, like Claremont, and they put out this information and we do a couple of checks and it seems very reasonable, then we find that’s appropriate to use as a basis, among the many other issues that we cite that are seemingly related in this sort of left-leaning, what seems like a left-leaning, agenda that Kohl’s is supporting.” 

Padfield said the company has had plenty of opportunities to challenge the accusation it donated $1 million to Black Lives Matter “and related causes,” but “they haven’t done that.” 

O'Connell said the group seemed to be engaging in a deliberate effort to embarrass Kohl's. 

“They’re focused on Black Lives Matter and that kind of taking a set of local donations and claiming that they’re Black Lives Matter donations seems to be part of their strategy,” O’Connell said.  

More: Store openings, layoffs, profits and executive changes: A year with Kohl's CEO Tom Kingsbury

Bradley Foundation supports National Center of Public Policy Research 

The National Center for Public Policy Research was started in 1981 and became a non-profit in 1981, according to the group's website.

The Free Enterprise Project launched in 2007 is described as the “original and premier opponent of the woke takeover of American corporate life and defender of true capitalism.”  The group's president David Ridenour has a base salary of roughly $358,000. 

The organization says it receives 350,000 donations a year from 60,000 active donors.  

In 2021 the group received nearly $13.1 million in donations and grants, and in 2022 it received more than $12.2 million, according to filings with the Internal Revenue Service.  

Because the National Center for Public Policy Research is a nonprofit, the donors are anonymous.  However organizations that donate to do report their contributions.  

For example, the conservative and Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradly Foundation, started donating to the organization in 2019 when it gave $220,000 to support the Free Enterprise Project, according to IRS filings. 

In 2020 and 2021, the Bradley Foundation gave $250,000 and $500,000 , respectively, to the organization.  In 2022, the Bradley Foundation gave $1 million , and in 2023 donated $250,000.

Padfield said there are roughly 60 shareholder proposals currently in the process of being discussed or voted on with companies around the country. 

When asked if any of the center's proposals have been approved by shareholders, Padfield’s response was blunt. 

“No,” he said. “The approval rate for proposals is generally low and we typically have the Big 5 asset managers/proxy advisors against us as they lean demonstrably left.” 

Padfield said the “Big 5” are Blackrock, State Street, and Vangauard, which invest in hundreds of companies around the country, and proxy advisors Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services.  

O'Connell said calling a company like Blackrock, the world's largest asset manger with trillions of dollars of assets, a left-learning organizations is “pretty startling.”  

“I’ve never thought of Blackrock as leading the leftwing extremists in our country,” O’Connell said adding these proposals get very little support from shareholders. “These are clearly not issues of grave concern to investors... far from it."

The Trevor Project contribution also criticized

In 2019, Kohl's announced a $100,000 contribution to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization that focuses primarily on LGBTQ+ youth , and provides information, research and a 24/7 hotline for those who are in need of help.

In the same press release, the company said it was donating $100,000 to the United Service Organization which helps military service members and their families.

The National Center for Public Policy Research criticized The Trevor Project donation and not the USO donation. 

“Who doesn’t want to reduce childhood suicide?” Padfield said. “Who doesn’t want to affirm people, so they feel good? Again, once we look under the hood the problem is we see all sorts of issues that the country is deeply divided about. Should children have transition surgery? Should they be given puberty blockers? Should they be transitioned in schools behind the backs of their parents? Should men who identify as women be allowed to compete in team sports?” 

O'Connell said the National Center for Public Policy Research in recent years has focused on gender and LGBTQ+ issues as part of the organization's strategy to push companies away from supporting those organizations.

“This kind of questioning of any support that they would give to an organization that helps to prevent youth suicide is really shocking,” O’Connell said. “Seeing that as ‘extreme’ or ‘radical’ and something to stop, is really a disturbing position to take.” 

Padfield insisted the group doesn’t advocate for businesses to donate to conservative or right leaning organizations over progressive organizations. 

“We have to pick our spots and we are conservative, so that’s going to be part of our guide. But we want corporations to get back to neutral.” 

Energy.gov Home


Characterization and Recovery of Rare Earth Elements/Elements of Interest in Coal Combustion Residual Wastewater and Solid Wastes Associated with Coal Power Generation  —  Lehigh University  (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) intends to characterize rare earth elements and other elements of interest in coal combustion residuals wastewater and solid wastes associated with coal power generation as a function of coal type, coal combustion technologies, and air pollution control devices configurations. The project team will revise and streamline conventional procedures used to analyze rare earth elements and other elements of interest from power plant target sources. The secondary objective is to demonstrate one electrodialytic technology for potential recovery of rare earth elements and other elements of interest, thus helping enable beneficial use of coal combustion residuals wastewater and solid waste.

DOE Funding: $2,000,000 Non-DOE Funding: $500,000 Total Value: $2,500,000  

Scalable and Efficient Membrane Distillation and Adsorption Process for High-Purity Water and Lithium Recovery from Produced Water in New Mexico  —  New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology  (Socorro, New Mexico) plans to comprehensively characterize produced water from the Permian and San Juan Basins in New Mexico and develop a scalable and highly efficient membrane distillation-crystallization and adsorption process for simultaneous water and critical elements recovery from produced water. Both bench- and pilot-scale membrane distillation-crystallization and adsorption units (1,000 gallons per day) will be developed and validated for produced water treatment.

DOE Funding: $1,499,951 Non-DOE Funding: $375,025 Total Value: $1,874,976  

Strategic Management and Resource Recovery Transformation (SMAR2T): Recovery of Water and Elements of Interest from Produced Water Using Intensified Membrane Distillation and Metal Extraction  —  Texas Tech University  (Lubbock, Texas) intends to develop a system engineering approach for produced water resource extraction and management in oil and gas operations. The team intends to (1) test a cascade treatment approach involving vacuum membrane distillation integrated with vapor compression to extract water, (2) selectively recover elements (metals) of interest using staged precipitation, (3) develop an optimization framework for managing produced water and identifying infrastructure needs using software and a techno-economic approach and (4) engage with stakeholders, members and students of under-represented groups, state agencies and members of the oil and gas sector to promote workforce development and community involvement as the project tackles produced water challenges.

DOE Funding: $1,499,993 Non-DOE Funding: $696,848 Total Value: $2,196,841  

Characterizing and Recovering Valuable Elements and Minerals from Produced Water in Oklahoma (OK-CARVER)  — University of Oklahoma  (Norman, Oklahoma) intends to sample produced waters; determine their chemistry; determine their concentrations in terms of rare earth elements, critical minerals, and/or elements of interest; and engineer their extraction technologies. The project team plans to develop geoscience and engineering solutions for the recovery of valuable elements and minerals from produced water, thereby promoting sustainable resource utilization.

DOE Funding: $1,499,390 Non-DOE Funding: $500,000 Total Value: $1,999,390  

Valuable mineral recovery and alternative utilization of produced water through a novel process  —  Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University  (Blacksburg, Virginia) plans to develop a process for achieving three beneficial uses of produced water, including valuable mineral recovery, carbon fixation, and irrigation water production. The process consists of five major steps: (1) produced water treatment; (2) rare earth elements and critical metals recovery; (3) direct lithium recovery; (4) carbon mineralization; and (5) phyto-microbial treatment. Bench-scale experimental tests will be conducted to optimize each step of the process. In addition, the project will establish a pre-pilot circuit to continuously test the process and collect critical information for testing at larger scales.

DOE Funding: $1,500,000 Non-DOE Funding: $375,001 Total Value: $1,875,001


  1. Research Project

    Research Project is a planned and systematic investigation into a specific area of interest or problem, with the goal of generating new knowledge, insights, or solutions. It typically involves identifying a research question or hypothesis, designing a study to test it, collecting and analyzing data, and drawing conclusions based on the findings.

  2. What is a research project?

    What is a research project? A research project is an academic, scientific, or professional undertaking to answer a research question.Research projects can take many forms, such as qualitative or quantitative, descriptive, longitudinal, experimental, or correlational.What kind of research approach you choose will depend on your topic.

  3. How to do a research project for your academic study

    A research project for students is an extended essay that presents a question or statement for analysis and evaluation. During a research project, you will present your own ideas and research on a subject alongside analysing existing knowledge. How to write a research report The next section covers the research project steps necessary to ...

  4. A Beginner's Guide to Starting the Research Process

    Step 4: Create a research design. The research design is a practical framework for answering your research questions. It involves making decisions about the type of data you need, the methods you'll use to collect and analyze it, and the location and timescale of your research. There are often many possible paths you can take to answering ...

  5. What Is a Research Design

    A research project is an academic, scientific, or professional undertaking to answer a research question. Research projects can take many forms, such as qualitative or quantitative, descriptive, longitudinal, experimental, or correlational. What kind of research approach you choose will depend on your topic.

  6. How to plan a research project

    Planning research projects is a time-honoured intellectual exercise: one that requires both creativity and sharp analytical skills. The purpose of this Guide is to make the process systematic and easy to understand. While there is a great deal of freedom and discovery involved - from the topics you choose, to the data and methods you apply ...

  7. 3.4: Components of a Research Project

    When designing a research project, be sure to think about, plan for, and identify a research question, a review of literature, a research strategy, research goals, units of analysis and units of observation, key concepts, method (s) of data collection, population and sample, and potential ethical concerns. A research proposal is also important ...

  8. Overview of Research Process

    Develop Research Methods. Once you've finalized your research question, purpose statement, and hypothesis(es), you'll need to write your research proposal—a detailed management plan for your research project. The proposal is as essential to successful research as an architect's plans are to the construction of a building.

  9. How to do a Research Project: 6 Steps

    Research project steps: Step 1: Find the right supervisor. Step 2: Don't be shy, ask! Step 3: Select the right topic. Step 4: Keep your plan realistic. Step 5: Prepare a project timeline. Step 6: Write, write and write. 1. Find the right supervisor.

  10. What Is Research Design? 8 Types + Examples

    Research design refers to the overall plan, structure or strategy that guides a research project, from its conception to the final analysis of data. Research designs for quantitative studies include descriptive, correlational, experimental and quasi-experimenta l designs. Research designs for qualitative studies include phenomenological ...

  11. PDF Definition of A Research Project and Specifications for Fulfilling the

    research project is a scientific endeavor to answer a research question. Research projects may include: Case series. Case control study. Cohort study. Randomized, controlled trial. Survey. Secondary data analysis such as decision analysis, cost effectiveness analysis or meta-analysis. Each resident must work under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

  12. The What: Defining a research project » Abstract

    According to a Rutgers University resource titled, Definition of a research project and specifications for fulfilling the requirement, "A research project is a scientific endeavor to answer a research question.". Specifically, projects may take the form of "case series, case control study, cohort study, randomized, controlled trial ...

  13. What is Research? Definition, Types, Methods and Process

    Research is defined as a meticulous and systematic inquiry process designed to explore and unravel specific subjects or issues with precision. This methodical approach encompasses the thorough collection, rigorous analysis, and insightful interpretation of information, aiming to delve deep into the nuances of a chosen field of study.

  14. What is Research

    Research is the careful consideration of study regarding a particular concern or research problem using scientific methods. According to the American sociologist Earl Robert Babbie, "research is a systematic inquiry to describe, explain, predict, and control the observed phenomenon. It involves inductive and deductive methods.".

  15. How to Get Started With a Research Project: 12 Steps

    Start early. The foundation of a great research project is the research, which takes time and patience to gather even if you aren't performing any original research of your own. Set aside time for it whenever you can, at least until your initial gathering phase is complete. Past that point, the project should practically come together on its own.

  16. How to Write a Research Proposal

    Research questions give your project a clear focus. They should be specific and feasible, but complex enough to merit a detailed answer. 2608. How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates A literature review is a survey of scholarly knowledge on a topic. Our guide with examples, video, and templates can help you write yours.

  17. Undergraduate Research Center—Sciences

    Research is independent study and discovery in a field of interest. In the sciences, research is usually conducted in a laboratory led by a Principal Investigator (PI) - this is the faculty member who runs a research project. Research addresses a hypothesis, or scientific question.

  18. What Is A Research Proposal? Examples + Template

    The research topic is too broad (or just poorly articulated). The research aims, objectives and questions don't align. The research topic is not well justified. The study has a weak theoretical foundation. The research design is not well articulated well enough. Poor writing and sloppy presentation. Poor project planning and risk management.

  19. What is the research process?

    Every research project starts with gathering basic information on a potential topic. Try to select a topic that will hold your attention. Use this stage of the research process to find an overview of the topic and its main concepts or issues. 2. Develop a Topic

  20. Overview

    In the Research Project, you will have the opportunity to study an area of interest in depth. It will require you to use your creativity and initiative, while developing the research and presentation skills you will need in further study or work. Welcome to your Research Project. Key documents. 2023 Research Project Subject Assessment Advice.docx.

  21. New Peer Review Framework for Research Project Grant and Fellowship

    Have you heard about the initiative at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve the peer review of research project grant and fellowship applications? Join us as NIH describes the steps the agency is taking to simplify its process of assessing the scientific and technical merit of applications, better identify promising scientists for ...

  22. VASA-1

    VASA-1: Lifelike Audio-Driven Talking Faces Generated in Real Time. Opens in a new tab. Follow us: Follow on Twitter; Like on Facebook

  23. MMI to participate in multicenter NIH research project

    Jennifer Blackford, PhD, MMI's director of research, will serve as the associate director of VAREC and will lead one of four research projects tied to the grant. Dr. Blackford's MMI-based project will investigate brain changes and symptoms in people in the early stages of recovery from an alcohol use disorder.

  24. Impactful research projects honored with CANR Excellence in Research

    The Impact Award, co-sponsored by ABR and MSUE, recognizes research projects that have made an outstanding impact in the external stakeholder community. During this year's CANR Faculty and Staff Awards, recipients of both the 2023 and 2024 CANR Excellence in Research Awards will be honored. 2023 Impact Award

  25. 2.1.4: Components of a Research Project

    Using the example of students' electronic gadget addictions, design a hypothetical research project by identifying a plan for each of the nine components of research design that are presented in this section. 2.1.4: Components of a Research Project is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

  26. Google fires 28 workers for protesting $1.2 billion Israel contract

    The protests were led by No Tech for Apartheid, a group of tech workers who have been demanding Amazon and Google drop their Project Nimbus, which is a joint $1.2 billion contract providing the ...

  27. Research Project Coordinator (Hybrid/Remote)

    The Project Coordinator will collaborate closely with the Project Manager to establish timelines, monitor task progress, facilitate team meetings, and document meeting notes. Additionally, they will be responsible for obtaining purchase orders, reviewing invoices, and serving as a point of contact for project inquiries.

  28. Research Methods

    Research questions give your project a clear focus. They should be specific and feasible, but complex enough to merit a detailed answer. 2608. What Is a Research Design | Types, Guide & Examples The research design is a strategy for answering your research questions. It determines how you will collect and analyze your data.

  29. Anti-'woke' activist investor group targets Kohl's with proposal

    The National Center for Public Policy Research, based in Washington, D.C., has criticized Kohl's for donating money to organizations that help minority and LGBTQ anti-suicide organizations.

  30. Project Selections for FOA 2796: Water Research and Development for Oil

    Characterization and Recovery of Rare Earth Elements/Elements of Interest in Coal Combustion Residual Wastewater and Solid Wastes Associated with Coal Power Generation — Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) intends to characterize rare earth elements and other elements of interest in coal combustion residuals wastewater and solid wastes associated with coal power generation as a ...