(Closed) Writing a research proposal

posted 3 months ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
1641 posts
Bumble bee

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@timonandpumba:  It would help if you disclosed your skill set and the emphasis of your Masters.

Post # 4
1196 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I’m also working on my Masters. I’m a teacher and if schools were open in the spring, I would have used my students as participants in the research study. Instead, I had to use adults/parents and change my whole idea of the study. Good luck!

Post # 5
79 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2021

Good for you on taking your time and getting your mental health together before writing! I’m a PhD student so I totally get the struggle and pressure to deliver, but it’s so important to put your health first and take care of yourself, especially in these challenging times. 

When I was in my MA program, the number one thing that helped me was seeking support and guidance from my more experienced peers, people who knew what they were doing and could model for me the right things to do. Is there anyone in your program who would do a video conference with you to give you some tips to get started, and check in with you here and there as you write? Would your advisor or another trusted professor be able to do that for you? Alternatively, do your university have a writing center you could go to? Most universities do (I used to work in one), and they’re filled with people who are trained to sit down with you and help you through your writing, no matter which stage of the process you’re in, and even if you haven’t gotten started yet. Most writing centers have virtual appointments too!

Basically, my advice is to find a peer or mentor you can trust and ask for help. I’ve been a writing teacher for several years and if you have any specific questions, I’d be happy to help 🙂 but having a good relationship with someone in your program, or someone in the writing center, would be infinitely better. 

Post # 6
1641 posts
Bumble bee

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@timonandpumba:  https://www.crpe.org/current-research/covid-19-school-closures You can also pair that with lockdown dates and COVID cases across counties. It might be useful to see if there is an impact given the economic conditions of the school’s student base and how these schools are financed. It might also be interesting to see how charter and private schools responded compared to public schools.

Post # 8
104 posts
Blushing bee

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@timonandpumba:  It’s so daunting to put together a research proposal! However I think you chose a great topic that is definitely relevant and important. Try to start with just an outline of ideas before you try and write complete sentences. Take some of the pressure off and just brainstorm ideas. I second the advice to reach out to the library or writing center to help you find resources and organize your ideas. 

I did a quick google scholar search for “covid schools math” and found a few that might be helpful. 

[PDF] cedtech.net

[PDF] ejmste.com

[PDF] ejmste.com

[PDF] ejmste.com

[HTML] thelancet.com

[HTML] thelancet.com

Let me know if those links don’t work i can try to paste the long form. 

Post # 9
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

Hi there! I’m an epidemiologist and do research all day, so I thought I would weigh in. I think the most important step is to come up with a very clear research question. What is your outcome (e.g., test scores, hours spent on prep/teaching, etc.) and what is your exposure (e.g., date of school closure, hours of instruction, remote learning vs. in-person, etc.)? It’s hard to come up with a really tight research question, but without it, it’s tough to nail down the other details. Seems like you’re outside the U.S., but in case I’m wrong, here’s a database of the dates of all of the closures and re-openings and re-closures:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zu9qEWI8PsOI_i8nI_S29HDGHlIp2lfVMsGxpQ5tvAQ/edit#gid=973655443

Post # 10
437 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Depending on your research question the research articles will not have been written yet as there might not be enough empiral evidence collated yet. 

It also depends if you’re wanting to do a qualitative or quantitative analysis because I’d imagine it would be easier to get hold of qualitative right now from semi structured interviews with either students seachers or parents or all three. Then you’d also be assessing how important prior life experience is towards attitudes that may or may not impact the results of how people are affected. Maybe resilience is an indicator of future performance in high stress situations. I don’t know. 

You could alternatively look at the predicted grades based on coursework Vs actual outcomes from the year group that have just had their results back. You might also need to take into account the politics around education and the intersections of poverty and educational attainment if that is likely to be a bias in your results depending on your research sample. There will also be other intersections of race and gender, where the higher the level of qualification there are more likely to be more white males (based on when I researched STEM subjects 10 years ago so don’t take that as current). 

You could also look at how emotional trauma impacts predicted grades eg if a student has family members who have been ill or who are more at risk whether due to health or being a key worker and therefore liklier to be less well off.

There are lots of ways you could look at this. Depends on what you want to look at as well as what information is available. 

Sorry that was so long, I love thinking about research projects!


ETA: You could also list any issues you’ve had in your paper and how it has limited the scope of your research and results and what would be good to look at in the future. And if you had to change what your focus was as a result, because that’s still relevant and valid. 

Post # 11
377 posts
Helper bee

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Disclaimer: math isn’t my area. Definitely have a brief outline or table of contents. I wrote my outline on a piece of paper and crossed off each section as I was finished. It helped make me think I was making progress. Find out what the required format is. We had to submit a mini version of our thesis. Mine was twice as long as the required min. (Less work to do later). Do you lit search, form a good topic. Your topic is good but in that area currently, literature is all over the place. It might be a harder area. (Yet, I am not in math). Once you have a good idea of your project, write the methods section, if you have results add that, discussion, and then intro. That doesn’t work if you only have to submit a lit review though. But yes you read that correctly. Everyone writes differently but for me the hardest two sections is the abstract and intro/lit review. I am able to write that section way better when I have a full understanding of my project and expected outcomes.

Post # 13
3065 posts
Sugar bee

 When people are looking for similar articles they usually have too many or too few. 

If someone.has too many articles then they need to put them into groups and just use two or three articles in a group as indicative of all the articles in the group. This way they can cut down on the total number.

If someone has too few articles they need to look around for similar articles to what they are researching. If they can’t find enough then they need to take a step back and look more generally. If they still don’t have enough then they need to step back and look a bit more widely and generally again. This continues until they have enough articles.


1. Maths interrupted by COVID.  It’s convenient if these articles exist but if they don’t then try…

2. Maths interrupted by other pandemics (across-time exploration or comparison), or other subjects interupted by COVID (across subject exploration or comparison), or other subjects interupted by other pandemics (general versus specific exploration/ comparison, plus time).

3.Maths interrupted for non-pandemic reasons, or other subjects interrupted for non-pandemic reasons. (The emphasis is the interruption rather than the pandemic.)

4. Education in general interrupted by COVID, education in general interrupted by pandemics, or education in general interrupted for non-pandemic reasons. (The emphasis might be education rather than interruptions or COVID.)

5. Other social sectors interrupted by COVID vs education interrupted by COVID  (across-sector exploration or comparison). 

So what I’m doing here is playing with ideas by generalising and imagining comparing things. If you search for these kinds of papers eventually enough papers are found, patterns emerge and your way forward will become clearer.

Post # 14
46 posts
  • Wedding: March 2018

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@timonandpumba:  Fellow teacher who did a masters and wrote a thesis (different topic, however)! My concern about your topic is that there isn’t any explicit research on it, since the effect of Covid on student outcomes is too recent to have been explored. 

What I would consider doing is maybe use research to outline best practice in math education in general, and then show how math during covid did or did not comply with best practice according to research. And then you can end with your own hypothesis on the likely result on students. 

Does that make sense? Hope that helps! 

Post # 15
10350 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL

So, IMO, you need at least 2 specific aims that you want to accomplish. Each aim should have a corresponding research question that you aim to answer. So I guess, first you need to figure out what 2 major questions you want to answer with your research.

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