Developing a research proposal
Most prescriptions for the research process describe it as a series of sequential steps, beginning with the identiﬁcation of a research problem or question, then moving (via a review of the existing literature) to a statement of a conceptual model, data collection and ﬁnally to analysis and a conclusion. However, this is a somewhat idealized statement of the process. In reality, the process is often much less clear, because research is a learning and iterative process in which ‘later steps’ clarify ‘earlier steps’, allowing the latter to be modiﬁed or at least stated more clearly. For example, the speciﬁc focus of the research will often be ﬁnetuned in the process of carrying out the research, leading to a rephrasing of the topic in later drafts.