statement of the public health problem


By the end of Module 6, students will submit their full research proposal. This must include:

  1. Introductory background including a statement of the public health problem
  • One paragraph – some brief explanation of the scope of the problem, or the way the problem has changed over time, or highlighting who is disproportionally affected – to give the context of the rest of your work.
  1. Aims of your research, including the research question or hypothesis
  • One paragraph “This project aims to explore”: the topics, the relationships, the differences that you want to look at with your project.
  • What do you think you will find? Do you have any expectations about what you will find? You can mention these here as hypotheses – statements about the differences and relationships that you think exist in the real world.
  1. A background literature review
  • You need to condense your literature review to a shorter background literature review.
  • The literature review should only talk about the topics that you are going to look closely at with your analysis of the data. There should not be any discussion of irrelevant variables or subgroups, if you are not going to analyse data with those variables or subgroups then it should not be included. Only relevant information.
  1. A rationale/justification of your research question or hypothesis indicating the significance of the project (research merit)
  • This is here you describe the gap in the literature. Explain that although this previous research has been done, no one has looked at the specific question that you are asking. For systematic review, the gap exists when there are multiple studies done on the topic, but because there are different results the real truth is unclear. The lack of clarity is the gap.
  • The significance is, what are the good outcomes that can come from you doing this research? How can someone use this information to make the world a better place?
  1. Research design, methodology and methods
  • This is where you explain the type of project you have chosen, why it is the right type of project to answer your research question, and what you are going to do to collect and analyse data. For example, a content analysis can be described as the most appropriate methodology for understanding how the media reports on a certain topic; to answer the research question, you need to search for all relevant media articles (within some parameters, like years or country) and then do a content or thematic analysis.
  1. A description of the type of data being gathered and from which sources.
  • What do you consider ‘data’? Where are you going to get it from?
  1. Justification of your study design, including your methodology, methods of sampling and data collection methods
  • This doesn’t need a separate section. When you describe these things (see above) just also explain why the methodology and methods you’ve chosen are the right way to answer your research question.
  1. How you plan to analyse the research
  • This depends on the type of project. This section needs to explain what you’re going to do with the data, once you’ve collected it, and how you’re going to do it.
  1. Ethical considerations
  • Although you’re using secondary data, can you think of any ethical issues that might arise with your research?
  1. How you plan to communicate and disseminate the research
  • Explain that you will write a capstone B report using the results of your analysis.
  1. A list of references used
  • You should be accustomed to this already – just your reference list.

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