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Writing a Quality Prospectus

Writing a Quality Prospectus.

I’m studying for my Social Science class and need an explanation.

Follow the Format (including section length or as indicated here) of the 2018 Prospectus Guide: You
MUST complete ALL sections. Following are some tips on how to check your submission.

Entire document is
double-spaced, 12 pt.
Maximum Length is 10 pages (not counting Cover Page and Reference Page).

Writing issues that will
from the quality of your submission:

Submission is NOT clear, concise, and aligned both within and among each section

You use “direct quotes”

Your Title is a question

Research issues that will
from the quality of your submission:

Articles are too old (more than 5 years)

Fail to use original author’s work (avoid citing someone else’s interpretation of a study; i.e., as cited by…).

Use the Prospectus Word Template to address:

Problem statement

(about 240-250 words).

  • a specific, focused/narrow research problem –what is NOT known about the social problem (your topic/passion) you are interested
  • followed by an evidence/data/impact statement supported by current peer-reviewed source, that identifies the significance of the problem (who is impacted, how many are hurt, what is the unacceptable outcome/consequences of the unknown).
  • at least five current, (no more than 5 years old), peer-reviewed references
  • a gap (the data researchers need to address the research problem)
  • what your study will contribute to the discipline)


  • Make the connection between the research problem and gap
  • Quantitative studies, describe two or more factors (variables) and relation to the identified gap or problem.
  • Qualitative studies, describe the need for increased understanding about the based on the identified gap or problem.
  • In mixed-methods studies, clarify how the two approaches will be used together to inform the study.


  • How this study will contribute to filling the gaporiginal contribution
  • Answer the So what? question
  • How might the potential findings lead to positive social change


  • a list format (no more than one-two sentence description)
  • numbered in alphabetical order
  • maximum number of background articles – 10


One-two paragraphs max

  • name of theory, author and date
  • short description of tenets and how those tenets relate to the research problem and questions

Research question

Include just
the overarching research question, not interview guide/survey sub questions.

  • If you are using a mixed method you must have both qualitative and quantitative questions; include your hypothesis with each quantitative question.
  • Be sure the independent and dependent variable (quantitative) match what you have in the gap statement.
  • Explain how the qualitative question is needed and relates to the later quantitative data

The Nature of the Study


  • Design and Methodology
  • Population
  • Sampling technique and size/estimated saturation point (and source for your decision)
  • Instrument for data collection (e.g., interview guide for qualitative, survey/questionnaire for quantitative)
  • Data analysis technique (be specific, identify the coding technique you are proposing for qualitative, the specific analytical tool for quantitative)

Possible Types & Sources of Data

Bullet format

  • What type of data do you anticipate (e.g., primary – opinions, perceptions, ratings given on your Likert scale/survey, secondary – raw data, information on how many, how often, demographics, numerical, etc.) needing to answer research questions
  • Source – Primary (researcher collects directly from target audience interviews, focus groups, direct observation, survey, questionnaires, etc.).
  • Source – Secondary (researcher uses existing data that has already been collected, scores, raw data, historical records, databases, previously published, etc.) Be sure to identify the variables you propose to get from the source).

Limitations, Challenges, and/or Barriers

One Paragraph

  • Access to Secondary data (public, private, purchase, permission, etc.)
  • Recruitment (Primary data) – (access, ethical issues, confidentiality, anonymity, permission, cost, IRB, etc.)

Writing a Quality Prospectus