Overview: The methodology section of a research proposal is the study blueprint. The methodology section clearly outlines the systematic approach the researcher will take to answer the research question. In this section, you will provide the blueprint for your research proposal by addressing the key elements including the population, the study sample and sample size, the location of your study, the timeline for the study (consider factors such as finding a location, hiring staff, recruitment, data collection process, etc.), and the costs associated with the research. In addition, the methodology section describes and outlines any ethical issues that the researcher must consider such as the recruitment of minors, cultural issues, payment of incentives to study participants, confidentiality, anonymity, and invasive procedures.
Your research design will inform the type of data analysis you must conduct to answer your research question(s). If you have chosen to propose a study that is quantitative in nature, such as a case-control study, cross-sectional, survey methodology, focus groups, or experimental study, then you will use statistical data analysis to answer your research questions. However, you may have chosen to propose a qualitative study, such as grounded theory, narratives, ethnography, or case study, which will require you to answer your research question(s) using rich descriptions, formulating concepts, or synthesizing experiences. Regardless of the study design, all research will address validity, reliability, and generalizability. Choose a data analysis plan that is suitable to the type of data you will be collecting.
Prompt: For your methodology section, be sure to address the following:
• Describe the population affected by the public health issue and the location of the population.
• What is the sample size you will need to answer your research question? Include the formula to be used for the sample size calculation.
• Explain your rationale for the study sample selection. What type of sample is it? (Snowball, systematic, random, convenience, etc.?)
• What type of study will you conduct? Examples include case-control, cross-sectional, grounded theory, quasi-experimental, etc.
• Study logistics: Where is the location of your study? What is the timeline for your study? What are the projected costs associated with the study?
• Consider and describe the ethical implications of this study. In this section you will want to thoughtfully and thoroughly describe any known or potential issue that may have ethical implications.
• Explain how you will address ethical issues.
For your data analysis section, please submit a detailed outline describing your proposed data analyses process. The process must be specific to the research design you have chosen and demonstrate a direct link to answering the research question. Be sure to address the following:
• What methods will you use to collect the data? (If instruments such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, or similar tools will be used to collect data, indicate if it is an existing instrument or a new one.)
• Assess and confirm that the data collection methods are appropriate for the research design.
• What approaches will you use to analyze the data? For quantitative study designs, indicate the statistics you will employ, such as frequencies or logistic or linear regression analyses, etc., to answer your research question(s). For qualitative research designs, describe the way you will present the data to answer your research question(s).
Is your research design valid, reliable and generalizable? Provide a complete answer that addresses each element.