social study.Critical Thinking

Length: 2300 – 2500 words (excluding references)

The purpose of this assessment is for you to demonstrate your ability to engage with good
research design. Within each of the draft research proposals, there are numerous errors,
both major and minor, in each of the key sections (e.g. background and research question,
literature review, sampling & recruitment & method, ethics). Your task is to select one of
these proposals, read it to identify the errors and propose an alternative strategy to address
these errors by utilising the principles of good research design. You will need to reference
your responses by drawing on the course materials and by finding other sources.
Note: Each of the draft research proposals are different, so not all elements suggested below
may be equally applicable. You will have to draw on your knowledge of research design and
use your academic judgement to decide what you may focus on for your chosen proposal.

Introduction to the Paper
A sentence or two here to identify which proposal you are reviewing, and if you have any
overall comments (i.e. a brief summary of your review)
Background Section of Proposal
This section should identify the key problems with things like:
– The alignment between the background of the research problem, and the research
– The alignment between the research question and research aims
Detail your advice to the writer on how they may address these, by doing things like:

– Further developing the context for the research problem, and suggesting what kinds
of information should be included
– Revising the research question, offering a suggested revision
– Revising the research aims to better align with the research question and
Literature Review
This section should identify the key problems with things like:
– The extent to which the literature review was undertaken appropriately
– The extent to which the literature review justifies the research question
– Whether or not the literature review identifies any of the key ideas, concepts or
theories explored in the research method
Detail your advice to the writer on how they may address these, by doing things like:
– Explaining the purpose of a literature review, and suggesting a revised literature
review strategy
– Suggesting some search terms and themes, with reference to the information in the
background and research question of the proposal
– Suggesting some key sources of useful literature
Research Design and Data Collection Method
This section should identify the key problems with things like:
– The extent to which the population or sample is appropriate for the research
– The extent to which their participants are appropriately and ethically recruited
– The extent to which the research design, if identified, aligns with the research
question and research aims
– The extent to which the data collection method is explained well
– The extent to which the data collection method is appropriate for the research
question and aims, and is likely to generate useful data

Detail your advice to the writer on how they may address these, by doing things like:
– Suggesting how they should go about defining and recruiting their participants
– Suggesting a suitable research design, and the kinds of data useful in answering the
research question
– Suggesting an appropriate method of data collection and analysis to capture this
This section should identify and / or further detail ethical problems across the draft
proposal. You may have already identified ethical issues in other sections, so refer back to
them here, and use this section to further explain why these ethical issues are problematic.
You also need to review the ethical problems that the writer has identified in this section.
You may think about potential ethical concerns across the dimensions of:
– Psychological
– Social
– Physical
– Legal
– Financial
– Other, including risks to the researcher
For any and each of the risks you identify, you need to suggest (again with reference to
appropriate texts and course readings) how the writer should address / mitigate these risks
in order to ensure that their research is ethical. It would be good practice here to consult
and reference the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research when working
through the ethical concerns you identify in the draft proposal.
Make sure to include a reference list that is formatted in a recognised academic style in
alphabetical order (whatever referencing style your discipline uses is fine, as long as it’s


Scenario: Translating & Interpreting
You work for a government-funded organisation that provides settlement
support to newly-arrived migrants. Part of your funding agreement
means that you are able to provide some translating and interpreting
services to your clients. In order to improve your funding arrangement,
the organisation needs to demonstrate its capacity to deliver suitable
services to the community. The organisation has put together a draft
research proposal to further explore the need for translating and
interpreting services. Your job is to:
– Identify potential problems in the draft research proposals;
– Suggest means to address those problems; and
– Clearly explain the basis for your recommendations, by linking
them to sources that support your criticisms and recommendations
(these sources should include course lectures, assigned readings,
and your own independent readings).
You have received the following draft proposal. The organisation’s
instructions to applicants are provided in blue italic type. The applicant’s
responses are in black standard type. Write a report that presents your
written feedback to the applicant on how they can improve their research
proposal, demonstrating your understanding of good research design.
Key sources to include:

Denscombe, M 2010, Good Research Guide, 4th ed., McGraw-Hill
Education, Maidenhead, https://ebookcentral-proquest-
Denscombe, M 2012, Research Proposals, 1st ed., McGraw-Hill Education,
Maidenhead, https://ebookcentral-proquest-
Vogt, WP, Gardner, DC & Haeffele, LM 2017, When to Use What Research
Design, Guildford Publications, https://ebookcentral-proquest-

Introduction and background:
State the question your research will answer and explain the benefits of
the proposed research to the organisation or the local community.

In recent times, increases in migration in Victoria have resulted in more
diversity of languages being spoken in the community. People with English
as an Additional Language (EAL) may face barriers to things like education
and employment. This is a problem because it means that some sections of
the community may be disadvantaged. At this stage it is not clear where we
need to direct our efforts in order to address this.

We want to conduct research that explores the need for services across the
Western Suburbs of Melbourne. By knowing which languages are spoken in
each community, we will be better able to provide interpreting services
based on the amount of people in each community that speak a particular

We therefore ask the question: ‘what are the community languages that are
spoken in Victoria?’

Literature review:
State the literature search strategies you have used to determine whether
previous research has answered this question. Summarise the major
lines of research that have already been conducted on this question.
Using the Google search engine, we searched for the string “research on
community languages”. This search returned only six results, only one of
which related to Australia. This result indicates the extent to which this
area is almost entirely unexplored. Original research is therefore urgently

Describe how you would carry out the research and explain why this
method is appropriate given your research question. Outline the financial
and practical support required to carry out the project successfully.
To recruit participants, we will post flyers up on the noticeboards at key
places like community centres and hospitals, explaining the research and
including a website link to a questionnaire on community languages. The
flyers will be written in English. To make sure we get a good cross-section
of the community, anyone can fill out the questionnaire.
We hope to get about 5000 responses to our questionnaire. If we don’t
get enough people from the noticeboards, we will stand out the front of a
randomly selected set of hospitals and community centres handing out
flyers to people walking past that might want to participate. Because we
want to know about interpreting services, we will focus on trying to
recruit people who do not appear to be of Anglo-Saxon heritage.
Since our participants may not speak English as their first language, we
will carry laminated cards explaining the research in the ten most
common languages other than English that are spoken across Victoria.
We will also ask questions about participant education and incomes,
because this data might be useful for later research.
Once we have captured enough data, we will statistically analyse this to
determine what are the most common languages spoken in the area, and
whether or not people in the area feel their translating and interpreting
needs are being met. In the case that a participant’s questionnaire
responses indicate that they have no translating and interpreting needs,
their responses will be excluded from the data analysis.
We may need a lot of people to help recruit participants using flyers. In
order to keep research costs down, we will ask for volunteers from the
local community to help recruit participants.

Please use the following table to highlight major ethical risks for the
project, and to discuss how you would eliminate or manage these risks.
Type of risk Specific risks Strategies
Physical N/A
Psychological Some participants might not
understand the questions that
are being asked

We will carry
laminated cards in the
ten most common
languages other than
English as this might
help to solve the

Social Some community groups may
not be adequately represented
in our sample

We will make sure we
have a large sample
from the local area,
because if the sample
is large enough it
should be statistically

Legal N/A
Financial N/A
Other N/A