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Research Proposal CA-DS (February intake)



Research proposal is a paper not shorter than 15 pages, written previous to starting the firldwork. Research proposal must deal with the following issues:

  • Motivation and justification of the research question

  • Knowledge of the area of research (literature survey)

  • Theoretical motivation of the research question

  • Further specification of the research question.

  • Motivation of the methodologies used and implications of the proposed methods for addressing the research question.

  • Depending on the methodologies used, it may be necessary to define and explain the operationalization of the employed concepts.

  • Motivation of the proposed fieldwork methodologies and research techniques and their implications for the research process.

  • Preliminary plan for data analysis following field research.

  • Work plan, time schedule, and budget.

  • These issues can be integrated within the research proposal as follows:

I Introduction

  • Research motivation, research framework and (preliminary) research question.

  • Justification of choice of research subject.

  • General conditions: description of the situation in the research area on basis of a literature survey.

  • Short social scientific description of the area. Aspects related to the subject will be addressed here.

II Problem definition and theoretical foundation

On the basis of a literature survey, theories and theoretical debates related to the research topic are addressed, as are the following points:

  • General definition of the problem

  • Exposition of the conceptual model on the basis of the literature survey

  • Description of specific questions and hypotheses. These should be related to the research population and the selected methods and techniques

III Definition and operationalization of concepts

In this section the concepts used in the general and specific research questions should be defined and operationalized It should be clear that, in most cases, decisions regarding the research population and the relevant methods and techniques should precede the operationalization

IV Methods and techniques of research

Decisions about which techniques will be deployed in the research and justification thereof.
Possible sample. To what extent is a sample necessary and possible? How can research units be selected? Are the research units accurately defined? Are observations and interviews held once or several times and why?
Data analysis. In the proposal the student should explain what analytical methods will be used for the processing of data.

V Organization of the research

Both a time schedule and a budget are required. The time schedule should cover the entire research period, comprising all three phases: preparation, field research, report on field research.
The budget should be submitted with the research proposal. Commonly, it includes travel expenses, accommodation, insurance, cost of maintenance, materials, interpreter etc.

Mode of instruction

Individual supervision.

Reading list

Dependent on research topic and area.


The research proposal is graded by the individual MA supervisor. If the above listed requirements are satisfied, the proposal will receive a passing grade ( 6-10).
Only students who receive a passing grade for their research proposal, may start their fieldwork.


February-March, by individual appointment with the supervisor.