Saturday, 5 August 2017


Introduction This document provides guidelines for preparing a research synopsis (and indirectly of the final report of your work that will be presented at the end of your research program). The research synopsis is the plan for your research project. It provides the rationale for the research, the research objectives, the proposed methods for data collection and recording formats and/or questionnaires and interview guides. The synopsis is based on the information provided by the supervisor(s) and by secondary sources of information. In the final report you will present the results of your data collection and elaboration, with the discussion and the conclusion. The full synopsis should be maximum 3-4,000 words, excluding appendices.


Verve Research Solutions Provides below mentioned steps:

1. Title*

2. Abstract*

3. Introduction*

4. Problem analysis/literaturereview*

5. Objectives*

6. Hypotheses*

7. Limitations*

8. Methodology and methods*

9. Results

10. Discussion

11. Conclusion

12. References*

13. Appendix A Research matrix*

14. Appendix B Data collectioninstruments



This should be brief and self-explanatory. It should relate directly to the main objective of the proposed research. A more specific and descriptive sub-title can be added if necessary, for example to indicate the main methodology that will be applied. The title of the final report can be different from the working title of the synopsis.



The abstract should briefly state the problem, the main objective(s), the theories/conceptual framework used (if relevant), and the method(s). The abstract alone should give the reader a clear idea about the research in no more than 150 words.



Here you should introduce the main problem, set it into context and introduce the particular niche within the main subject area that you will work with. For example, the main subject area could be deforestation and the Introduction would then briefly argue why it is relevant to be concerned with deforestation – to whom it is a problem and why. The niche could be the role of small-scale farmers in deforestation processes in mountain areas. Justification for the niche should also be included in the Introduction.


Problem analysis/Literature review:

In this section you present details regarding the research problem. You should present documentation of the existence of the problem, how it is manifested, who it affects and involves, what roles and interests the involved actors have, the historical background to the problem (including what has lead to the actual situation), and the problem’s complexity (what it consists of and what it is a part of) (Dahl et al., 1999). The problem analysis is based on a critical review of scientific literature: the theories typically used to frame research on the subject area, knowledge available and research methods used with what degree of success.



These should be identified on the basis of the problem analysis. That means, after reading the problem analysis it should be immediately clear that the choice of objectives is relevant and justified. The objectives should focus on concepts and problems mentioned in the problem analysis Each research proposal should contain one overall objective describing the general contribution that the research project makes to the subject area as well as one or more specific objectives focusing on discrete tasks that will be achieved during the research. The overall objective may be something that the study will contribute towards but not solve/finish; the overall objective should not be a compilation of the specific objectives.



These are predictions of the outcomes from the study. It is useful at the outset to specify the hypotheses in terms of the assumed relations between variables so as to clarify the position and pre-understanding of the researcher. If statistical tests are to be conducted formulation of hypotheses is a crucial element of the research design. Hypotheses can be derived from theory, experience or knowledge concerning contextual factors. In purely quantitative, deductive research hypotheses are tested statistically, whereas in qualitative, inductive research hypotheses are not formulated. In the Joint Summer Module you are unlikely to conduct purely qualitative research (although qualitative elements may be included), and so hypotheses are relevant.



Although the specific or immediate objectives may be quite narrow, they could probably imply much more data collection and analysis than possible for a thesis. To demonstrate a good overview of the general subject area it should be specified what aspects will not be addressed and how this will limit conclusions. It is important to not (only) mention that due to time constraints a limited number of observations/measurements/interviews will be conducted. Rather, the aim here is on topical limitations. Methodological limitations can be put in the methods section.


Methodology and methods:

A research project follows an overall methodology to make conclusions in relation to the overall objective. Some types are experiments, surveys, models and case studies. Within a given research methodology several data collection methods can be relevant, and both quantitative and qualitative methods may be used in the same study. You should specify what research methodology is chosen to fulfil the research objectives (see Appendix A). A description of the methodology used does not mean a reproduction of standard textbook definitions, in stead, references should be used. 



This section presents the analysed data, preferably in tables and charts. It is a good idea to organise the results logically, for example by first presenting background information like demographics and then continue with in a sequence reflecting the specific objectives. All tables and figure must be numbered and referred to in the text. Table headings go above the table, figure headings go below the figure. Traditionally, you do not discuss the results in this section. That means, you do not explain why a specific number is an outlier, or why few people answered a specific question – you leave to the Discussion.



Here you discuss what the results mean in relation to the objectives. You also discuss the influence of the chosen methods on the results and what methodological problems may have been faced. Finally, you compare your own results with those of other studies to identify whether your study is in accordance or at odds with previous scientific studies. If the latter is the case this warrants special consideration.



Start by clearly stating the main finding of the research. Then go on to outline the implications of the findings. How important is your contribution to the understanding that is currently held on the subject area and niche? What future studies could be recommended (don’t overdo the last point).



When you cite literature there are standards to be followed for in-text citations and the format of the reference list. You should use the Harvard referencing system, meaning that in-text citations consist of author name(s) and publication year, for example: Swanson, 2005. Literature can be used passively, in which case the author name(s) and publication year are put in brackets: The moon is made from cheese (Silverbrandt, 1935). When the author name is used actively only the publication year is put in brackets: Silverbrandt (1935) argued that the moon is made from cheese. When an article is written by two authors the in-text citation is (Oldfield and Morse, 2009) or (Oldfield & Morse, 2007). The coma before publication year can be omitted – but then it should always be omitted. A very crucial point is to decide which of several possible formats to use and then to follow it consistently.



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