Monday, September 04, 2006

Research Proposal Outline and Labor Day

No school today because of Labor Day. Have I mentioned yet how much I love three day weekends? Not only am I way ahead with my reading, but I slept in this morning until 9AM, which is a much appreciated luxury nowadays. The weather today was gorgeous, and I spent a few hours this afternoon hanging out with a friend. Every day should be like today.

I also spent some time working on my research proposal today. It is not due until Friday of Week 9, but I figure it is best to not wait until the very last minute. (In case you've lost track, we are now beginning Week 8 of this summer block.) There are three assignments for the proposal. One is to write an outline. The second is to write a rough draft of the actual proposal, which should be 4-6 pages single-spaced. And the third thing is to write a final copy after our preceptor corrects the rough draft. All three of these assignments will be submitted to our portfolios so that we can be evaluated on our research competency. (If you remember, research is one of the nine competencies which we must meet in order to be promoted to the next year.) There are four main sections of the proposal:

Hypothesis and Specific Aims: This should summarize the broad problem being addressed, the hypothesis of the proposal, and specific questions or aims that will be addressed.

Background and Rationale for the Experimental Plan
This section should provide a brief but informative introduction to the problem and a focused presentation of current knowledge and how the proposed research will extend this information. A consideration of potential practical impact is appropriate.

Research Plan: This should be an expansion of the specific aims. The discussion should center around the detailed experimental questions that are to be answered and should include only brief description of the experimental methodologies that will be employed. Possible outcomes should be considered as should alternative approaches and future directions.

Literature cited: Provide the appropriate references in a format acceptable for a scientific journal using standard bibliographic software.

I already have emailed the outline to my preceptor. As soon as it gets approved, I am supposed to upload it to my portfolio and start writing the rough draft. Apparently, I was supposed to do this outline during Week 5, but somehow I missed seeing that deadline until this weekend. But it doesn't seem to be a very strict deadline for the outline, and we don't really need four weeks to write what is basically a five page single-spaced paper anyway. The deadline for submitting the final proposal definitely is strict though, so I'm not fooling around with that one.

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