Research proposals outline a planned research project and the research questions that will be investigated. Requirements and expectations may differ based on the discipline and whether the proposal is for a class assignment, a thesis or dissertation, or to apply for research funding or grants. However, regardless of the type, all proposals require clearly defined research questions. Some challenges for choosing good research questions often include identifying questions that have a manageable scope and locating sources that include scholarly research about the issues.
Identifying a Manageable Scope
Research questions that have a manageable scope are neither too broad nor too narrow. If a research question(s) is too broad, there will be too much information and too many issues to cover. If a research question(s) is too narrow, there may not be enough information. Keep in mind that assigned topics are often designed to be broad to allow you to choose the focus and specific issues you want to investigate. To select an appropriate scope, investigate the topic and issues by reviewing books, ebooks, encyclopedias, or handbooks that provide topic overviews.
Locating Criminal Justice Research
To narrow a research question think about the issues associated with the broader topic or problem. Then, explore the topic by locating academic research that discusses evidence about the issues. The library provides access to thousands of criminal justice resources where you can find background information about topics and scholarly research articles that discuss issues.
Watch this short video for more information about how to find background information for topics.