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This stage calls for creativity and an open mind, but also good judgment to select a topic that is interesting, and on which the candidate can reasonably expect to usefully further the extant knowledge.
Even if adjustments are made at a later stage in the research (which, quite rightly, they usually are), the proposal still represents a first step on the process, providing an initial foundation for the whole study.
It serves as a blueprint that can be consulted during the research process (Baker and Foy 2008), and as a reminder of what has already been accomplished and what still needs to be done (Riley, Wood, Clark, Wilkie and Szivas 2000).
This can be a rewarding challenge when the subject interests them and a very difficult, tedious or stressful task otherwise.
They should also consider whether the subject chosen may (or may not) attract the interest of a potential supervisor and should allow themselves some flexibility to make adjustments after discussing the proposal with him/her.
Keywords Research proposal, Introduction, Literature review, Methodology, Assessing a research proposal, Selecting a topic Introduction Writing a research proposal is a source of anxiety for most students (see Onwuegbuzie 1997) who may feel lost in face of the novelty of the process, pressured by time restrictions and stressed by the forthcoming evaluation of their work.
However, it is a crucial step in the development of a research project since the success of such a task is largely dependent on the quality of the original proposal (Baker and Foy 2008).
Alternatively, students may wish to develop further a topic that they have investigated beforehand, which offers the advantage of some background knowledge of the topic and relevant sources of reference.
It is most important that students feel motivated by the subject chosen, since they will spend a substantial amount of time and effort exploring it.