IFN600 Understanding Research
Assignment 3: Full Research Proposal
ASSIGNMENT TYPE: Convincing and compelling argument for the novelty,
value and feasibility of a proposed research project
TO BE COMPLETED: Individually
DUE DATE: Sunday, October 28th, 2018, 11:59pm AEST
DELIVERABLE: Written document (Portable Document Format preferred)
SUBMISSION METHOD: Blackboard upload
These are the instructions for IFN600 Assignment 3. In this assignment you will
write a complete research project proposal in the same way that real-life research
applications are submitted to government, industry, philanthropic and academic
research organisations. Your task is to write a research proposal which presents
its case clearly, concisely, accurately and in a professional style, as if applying for
resources to support a worthwhile research project. To be successful a research
proposal must provide a compelling, convincing argument for the novelty, value
and feasibility of the proposed project.
Specifically, your task is to write a full research proposal which convinces the
1. You have identified an important research problem worth investing time
and resources to solve;
2. You have identified a novel, answerable research question whose solution
will make a substantial contribution to solving the overall problem;
3. You have developed a feasible, practical methodology for answering the research question, using contemporary tools and techniques and reasonable
4. At its conclusion your project will deliver tangible outputs of significant
value to the project’s sponsor; and
5. Your project will generate new knowledge of general and lasting value for
current practitioners and/or future researchers.
In order to convince the reader of these points your argumentation must be:
• Clear — Your writing must be easily understandable by a lay reader, avoiding uncommon terminology and abbreviations.
• Concise — You must express your ideas efficiently, so that key points are
not obscured by irrelevant material.
• Coherent — Your arguments and the conclusions you draw must be structured logically.
• Convincing — The overall “story” you tell must be compelling and believable.
In particular, the assessment criteria for this assignment emphasise the coherence
of your argument. In previous assessment items you have developed many of the
individual components needed for your proposal, but in this assignment all these
components must fit together in a logical way that is readily apparent to the
Finally, as usual, the technical aspects of the proposal must be easily comprehensible by a layperson. It should not be necessary for the reader to be an expert in
the particular technical field to appreciate the aims and value of the project, or to
see that the proposed methodology is appropriate to answering the research
The detailed assessment criteria can be found in the criteria sheet accompanying
these instructions. In particular, this assignment will be assessed on your ability
1. Link the separate parts of your research proposal together in a logical and
2. Demonstrate creativity and critical thinking with respect to the problem to
3. Design a convincing and feasible project plan based on appropriate research principles and techniques; and
4. Express yourself clearly, concisely and precisely.
Notice the emphasis on the soundness of your argumentation, as opposed to the
technical aspects of the research. It is essential that the various parts of your research proposal link together to form a logical whole. As the project’s designer
and champion, it is your responsibility to make this linking clearly apparent to the
Relationship to previous assessment items
In previous assessment items you have developed many of the individual ingredients needed to complete this assignment. However, completing this assignment
successfully does not merely involve assembling these pieces without change.
Given the way your ideas have evolved throughout the semester you will need to
revise and expand each of the individual parts of your proposal in order to achieve
a coherent whole. It’s essential that your overall argument for the novelty, value
and feasibility of the proposal is logical and readily apparent to the reader.
We assume that your research objective for Assignment 3 will essentially be the
same as the one you have used in the previous assessment items. However, you
may, indeed should, refine your proposal based on the feedback you have received
so far. It’s expected that you will need to improve your research ideas in order to
meet the requirements for coherence of the final proposal.
Your submission document needs to include the following major sections and include the elements listed. You may choose to add other subsections, but keep in
mind the need to keep your writing concise and the overall document as short as
possible. Work will be graded on quality, not quantity.
Most important of all, the linkage and coherence between the different sections is
a major assessment criterion for this assignment. Sections that do not fit together
to form a logical overall argument will not receive a high grade, regardless of their
quality in isolation.
• Ensure that your name and student number appear at the beginning of the
• Provide a project title which gives the reader a clear indication of the nature
of the research to be conducted.
• Indicate clearly whether or not you intend to execute all or part of this research in a future project unit such as IFN701 or IFN702.
This is needed to help the marker assess the feasibility of your proposal
because a project to be completed in a single semester or two will necessarily be limited in its scope.
NB: IFN701/2 projects may be an entire research project or just part of one,
such as the literature review or artefact development components. However, for the purposes of IFN600 Assignment 3 you must describe the whole
research project. In particular, a literature review is not an acceptable research methodology in IFN600, as explained throughout the semester.
2. Problem Statement
In this section you must clearly explain what general research problem motivates
your research project. In particular, the novelty and value of the proposed research must be made clear through appropriate citations to previously-published
research on closely-related topics. This section must cover at least the following
• Any necessary background needed to understand the problem must be explained, citing peer-reviewed literature as appropriate. Keep in mind that
you are writing for a lay reader who is not necessarily an expert in the field.
• The context in which the problem arises must be made obvious, including
what is currently already known or understood about this problem, citing
peer-reviewed literature as appropriate.
• The overall research problem must be summarised, in terms understandable by a lay reader. In doing so, define or identify the nature of the topic,
issue, or area of concern, e.g., is it a social problem, technical problem, political problem, economic problem, workplace problem, policy problem,
healthcare problem, military problem, etc? In particular, any underlying
assumptions about the nature of the problem should be exposed.
• It must be made clear why it is necessary to do research into solving this
problem, especially by pointing to gaps in our current knowledge or understanding, using the literature to support your argument as necessary. The
importance or value of solving the problem must be made obvious.
It’s expected that around one to two pages of text will be required to complete this
3. Research Question
In this section you must clearly state the specific research question to be answered
by the research project. Include any explanations necessary for the reader to understand the question in isolation, e.g., to explain specialised terminology. At least
the following points must be covered, either in the question itself or in the surrounding explanation.
• The nature of the new knowledge, understanding or insight answering the
question will produce must be obvious.
• How answering the research question would contribute to solving the research problem must be clear. Answering the research question is not expected to solve the whole problem, but it should, for example, help understand the nature of the problem, help identify the causes of the problem,
help develop new ways of solving the problem, etc. Be as specific as possible
concerning the way the question’s answer will help solve the main problem.
• You must explain why you believe this question has not been answered before or cannot be answered easily using existing knowledge. In other words,
what makes this research question new and necessary? Cite relevant literature as needed to support your claim for the project’s novelty.
It’s expected that about half a page will be required to cover these points clearly.
4. Research Methodology
In this section you must describe in detail the research methodology to be used to
answer the research question. You must aim to do so in sufficient detail that someone else could reasonably be expected to follow your description to successfully
undertake the research. Your description of the research methodology must include at least the following points.
• The overall strategy for answering the research question should be described briefly, i.e., whether you will rely on laboratory experiments, field
studies, surveys, artefact design and testing, etc. Cite previous successful
research on the topic, if appropriate, to help justify your chosen approach.
It must be made clear that the chosen strategy is capable of providing a
satisfactory answer to the question.
• List, in as much detail as you can, the individual steps involved in undertaking the research project, beginning with the initial literature survey and
ending with delivery of the final outcomes. Try to explain exactly what
must be done in each step, as if you were instructing someone else how to
conduct the research.
• Either as part of the list of steps, or in a separate explanation, the kind of
data that must be collected to answer the question must be made clear.
Also it must be made clear how the data will be collected (e.g., through automatic monitoring and logging of events, via some experimental measuring apparatus, through online surveys or face-to-face interviews, etc).
• Also you must include in your methodology what kind of analysis will be
applied to the raw data collected. This will typically include quantitative or
qualitative analysis, or both. (In the unlikely event that neither quantitative
or qualitative analysis are appropriate, please explain why.) Most importantly, explain clearly what new information will be gained from this
analysis. It must be obvious that the data collection and analysis process
proposed is capable of delivering this new information.
• A brief estimate of the resources required to complete the research should
be given, especially how long you think the research project will take and
how many researchers would be required. Also indicate any special resources or equipment that would be needed. It must be made obvious to
the reader that answering the question is feasible with contemporary tools,
techniques and resources.
It’s expected that around one-and-a-half to two pages of text will be required to
complete this section thoroughly.
5. Expected Tangible Outputs
In this section describe, in as much detail as you can, the expected tangible outputs
your project will deliver at its conclusion. Your description must include at least
the following points.
• The nature of the outputs must be clear. Such outputs may include data sets
(produced by experiments, surveys or case studies), data analysis results
(produced in order to provide insights into the meaning of raw data), software prototypes (produced to allow the capabilities of a proposed design
to be evaluated), test rigs (produced to support experimental research),
performance measures (of prototype products or processes), standards
and guidelines (defining new ways of doing things), etc. The form of these
deliverables should be clear, e.g., databases, written reports, software,
physical prototypes, publications, etc.
• For each output it must be clear how following the research methodology
will produce this output. In other words, the link or links between the steps
in the research methodology and the corresponding output must be obvious.
It is expected that at least half a page of text will be required to meet this
requirement, probably more depending on the nature of the research.
6. New Knowledge
In this section you must describe, in as much detail as you can, the new knowledge
your project will deliver at its conclusion. In other words, what will we have learnt
at the end of the project that we did not know when it began? Your description of
must include at least the following points.
• The kind of knowledge produced must be clear. This could be design principles, customer attitudes, growth rates, impacts, trends, causal factors, relationships or correlations between variables, physical properties, system
attributes, explanations, compositional properties, etc. The new
knowledge should be of general value to practitioners and/or other researchers, and must be distinct from the tangible outcomes above.
• It must be clear how following the research methodology will produce this
new knowledge. In other words, the link or links between the steps in the
research methodology and the corresponding new knowledge must be obvious.
• The value of the new knowledge with respect to solving the original research problem must be obvious. Also, where possible, it should be made
clear how the knowledge could be useful in other situations or scenarios,
apart from addressing your particular research problem.
NB: When describing your expected outputs and new knowledge do not speculate
about the potential long-term benefits of the research project. Only describe tangible outputs and knowledge the project is guaranteed to deliver at its conclusion,
assuming the research is completed successfully. (The ultimate benefits of the research, which may not become apparent until many years after the project has
ended, should be evident from the problem statement.)
It is expected that at least half a page of text will be required to meet this requirement, possibly more.
Provide a list of all references cited in the previous sections in APA referencing
format. All the references you cite must be of high quality, typically as evidenced
by peer review.
As with assignments 1 and 2, you are expected to engage with the tasks each week
leading to this assignment, and reflect upon the research process.
To complete this section, in 2-3 paragraphs:
• Write about your engagement with the research process thus far.
• Ensure that your statement includes your thoughts on how you engaged
with: (a) the weekly tasks, (b) reflecting on the process of research, and (c)
discussing your work within your tutorial group.
• Write from your personal point of view (in the first person) highlighting key
processes which you found personally interesting and/or challenging.
• Reflect on the decisions that you made leading up to this assignment, and
how you overcame any obstacles. Conclude your reflective statement with
thoughts on how you might approach similar tasks in the future, identifying
what you would keep the same, what you would change, and your reasoning
behind these thoughts.
Expression and Presentation
In this assignment, to receive a high grade, you will need to ensure that you meet
important aspects of presentation and written expression. Ensure that you:
• put your name, student number and title on the first page
• provide headings for the sections and match them to these instructions
• provide definitions for any technical terms
• check your spelling and grammar
• use APA referencing style
• submit as PDF
Submitting your assignment
This item is worth 40% of your overall grade for the unit. Submission will be via
a Blackboard link which will be made available close to the deadline.
You must submit only your own work. Your attention is drawn to QUT’s rules
on academic integrity and plagiarism (Manual of Policies and Procedures, Section
C/5.3 Academic Integrity and Section E/2.1 Student Code of Conduct). Submissions found to contain significant amounts of copied or ghostwritten material will receive a grade of one and will be forwarded to the Faculty’s Academic Misconduct Committee for prosecution.
The deadline for this assignment is 11:59pm (AEST) on Sunday, October 28th. No
correspondence will be entered into beyond close of business (5:00pm), Friday 26th October. Given, the teaching team cannot respond immediately to
emails. Any questions should be asked well in advance of Friday afternoon.
You are reminded of QUT’s policy regarding late submission of assessment items:
Assignments submitted late without prior approval from the Faculty will not
be assessed and will receive a grade of one. The submission link on Blackboard
will be disabled automatically once the deadline passes, unless you have an approved extension from the Science and Engineering Faculty. The teaching team
recommends that you submit a draft well before the deadline to ensure that you
have time to address any submission issues. Your most recent draft submitted before the deadline will be the one that is marked.
As usual, specific queries about this assignment should be emailed to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Teaching staff will answer general questions about
the assignment’s requirements but will not review draft applications in detail, and will not answer “is this good enough?” style questions. As in a real
world scenario, you are expected to be able to reflect on the quality of your
research proposal yourself, using the knowledge you have gained about the
necessary qualities of a strong research argument throughout the semester
from the lectures and tutorials.