‘How do I convince my employers to give me time to do my project?’
‘I can see the need for producing a plan but what do I need to put in it?’
‘I have a great idea for improving my service but how do I gather the evidence to show that it is needed?’
As you start to read this chapter you are likely to be at the stage when you wish to translate your research question, aims and objectives into a fullscale project. You probably have some idea of what you would like to do, how you intend to do it and when. You may also be wondering whose support you need for it to happen.
This chapter will demonstrate how a project plan or proposal can be just what you need to organize your project and convince prospective supporters of its value. It will show you how a plan is valuable for any research, evaluation or audit project, whether large or small, funded or not. It will describe the various purposes of a research plan and emphasize the importance of the audience to how you construct and write the plan.
Each of the different elements of the plan will be considered in turn, from choosing a title to evaluating the project. You will see that not all elements are necessary for every project, but you will learn how to choose those that are right for yours.
The chapter will wrap up with some further things to think about once you have completed your plan.
A plan or a proposal?
It could be said that the main purpose of a proposal is to persuade somebody else to support a piece of work, whilst the primary function of a plan is to guide you through the project. In practice there is a high degree of overlap between the two. In fact, they are essentially the same thing, but written for different audiences. In this chapter we will cover elements of both plans and proposals, noting the differences as they arise. We use the term ‘plan’ through out, but all of the points raised would also apply to a research proposal.