Guidelines for the Research topic (prior to research proposal)

1. Identify Research Topic 

  • Explore your academic interests and identify a potential research area.
  • Consider the relevance and feasibility of the topic.
  • Seek advice from professors or advisors if needed.
  • Document your initial thoughts and ideas.

2. Write Background and Context 

  • Provide a comprehensive background of the chosen research area.
  • Explain the current state of knowledge and key theories.
  • Highlight gaps or unresolved issues in the literature.
  • Describe why this topic is worth investigating.

3. Formulate Research Question

  • Craft a clear and concise research question that addresses a specific problem.
  • Ensure the question is researchable and contributes to the field.
  • Seek feedback from peers or professors to refine your question.

4. Define Research Objectives 

  • Develop SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) research objectives.
  • Explain how achieving these objectives will help answer the research question.

5. Outline Research Methodology 

  • Describe the research methods you intend to use (e.g., surveys, experiments, interviews, data analysis).
  • Explain why these methods are appropriate for your research.
  • Discuss any ethical considerations.

6. Collect 10 Sources

  • Search for academic sources in English from different journals.
  • Ensure that the sources are recent and relevant to your research.
  • Make sure you have access to the full texts of the articles.

Appendix: Recommendations for Source Collection and Harvard Referencing

Finding Sources:

  • University Library Resources: Utilize your university library’s online databases and catalogs. Contact your librarian for guidance on accessing academic journals.
  • Online Academic Databases: Explore databases like JSTOR, PubMed, Google Scholar, and Scopus.
  • Research Gateways: Visit websites like ResearchGate, which often provide access to academic papers and research.
  • Citation Managers: Consider using citation management software like Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote to organize and cite your sources.

Harvard Referencing System:

  • Harvard Referencing Guide: Access your university’s specific Harvard referencing guide for detailed instructions. If not available, refer to this Harvard Referencing Guide.
  • Harvard Citation Generator: Use online tools like Cite This For Me or Citeulike for generating Harvard-style citations.

Tips for Success:

  • Keep detailed notes of your research process, including publication details for each source.
  • Use reference management software to organize your sources and automatically generate citations. ( 
  • Always provide proper attribution to avoid plagiarism.
  • Proofread your work for consistent formatting and accuracy in referencing.

David Guardo, Ph.D

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