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Should marijuana be legalized in the United States

Research Proposal: Should marijuana be legalized in the United States


Objective and Function of a Research Proposal

A research proposal is a proposal for a research project. With the proposal, a researcher tries to convince

somebody else that the research project she or he plans to conduct is likely to be successful. Typical

situations for submitting a research proposal can be applying for a research grant or receiving approval

for a dissertation thesis. In the former case, the researcher would submit the proposal to an institution

which is likely to provide funding for the research, for example the National Science Foundation. In the

latter case, the (aspiring) researcher would try to convince her/his teachers who are members of her/his

dissertation committee that his research interests are a good fundamental for a successful dissertation


Estimating the quality of a research proposal

There are three major points that make a research proposal convincing:

(1) The research topic and question have to be RELEVANT. Thus, the society or the scientific

community or at least the people in the board who should approve the research committee

should be convinced after reading a research proposal that the proposed research project is

important to gain more knowledge on or a deeper understanding of the topic you selected. In

short, your research project should have the potential to contribute something significant to the

existing knowledge.

(2) Your research project has to be LIKELY TO BE COMPLETED. Thus, the scope of your project

should not be exaggerated. In reality, this means you have to aim for a research project that

matches the available resources (e.g. regarding time, money, experience and intellect). For the

purpose of this assignment, this is not an important point, since you proposal proposes a

fictional research project. One crucial element here is selecting a precise and narrow research

question which is actually answerable with the proposed research design.

(3) The SELECTION OF SCIENTIFIC METHODS for your research project has to be APPROPRIATE to

answer the research question you want to answer.

Elements of a Research Proposal

For this purpose, I will ask you to address a reduce number of items for a research proposal. After all, it is

only a simulation

1. Title

2. Introduction (short summary of your idea, 1-2 phrases)

3. Research Topic (make sure you explain the relevance of the topic)

4. Research Question

5. Hypothesis and/or expected outcomes (What applies for you depends a bit on your research question

and methodology)

6. Short literature review (shorter than normal. Cite at least three books or articles which are pertinent

to the research question.

7. Research Design (i.e. Methods)

8. Available Data and Resources (optional, again this depends on your research question).

Last Updated on February 10, 2019

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