Skip to Main Content

Library- Research Navigator: Destination 1: Pre-Proposal Stage: Idea Development

Your preliminary source of information and guidance as you begin or continue with your research journey.

What Will Be Helpful?

Project Planner

The SAGE Project Planner is a tutorial tool designed to guide you step-by-step through your research project. Click on the image below for access.

The tips that are given below should help you to decide what to write about when confronted with developing a research topic.

  • Talk regularly with your peers and a potential supervisor about your ideas.
  • Use research papers and other readings to help you uncover ideas for your thesis or dissertation. 
  • Think about authors whose style/methodological approach you might like to use as a model for your work.
  •  Read the prefaces, acknowledgments, footnotes, and bibliographies of books in your field. This can get you thinking about sources you might want to look at and people you could talk to.
  • Start a research diary – This could be online or a print document (with entries by date) in which you keep track of notes, ideas, and conversations you’ve had with your committee, classmates, people you’ve met at conferences, etc. It is best to spend 10 minutes a day on itÍž but even if you cannot find time to write daily try to schedule it for a few times a week. This document will be very helpful when you actually start drafting your proposal. Find more information about a research diary here.

Has this research been done before?

Reading previous theses and dissertations provides an important source for identifying research topics. To locate theses and dissertations please visit the links below. 

Other Things To Think About

When thinking about the idea for your research, consider the following: 

  • Your passion, interest and realism 
  • You will have to ask yourself some fundamental questions, identify the right topic (free writing, identifying possible questions, reading up on the topic, your assumptions on what you know and don't know) will bring your proposal idea into focus
  • How feasible is your research?
  • Are you going to do groundbreaking research and blaze a trail?
  • What is the scope of your research? do you want are you defending a position taken by yourself or others? Are you further developing an existing position?

Later on,  the objective of writing your proposal will be to describe what you will do, why it should be done, how you will do it and to state your hypothesis. 

Please note: any study that produces new data, information or knowledge is original. Any study that only interprets or presents information available elsewhere is not original.