Q: How do I write the background to my research proposal?

Detailed Question -

My topic is 'The effectiveness of group work in enhancing ESL [English as a Second Language] primary students' speaking skills.'

1 Answer to this question

That’s an interesting topic, and from what we can make of it, quite focused. Being clear about your research question is already a good start for your research and more so for your research proposal.

Coming to your query, note that we can only provide some pointers as it’s your research and you would know it best.

So, firstly, the background has to set the context for your proposal. It has to talk about why you are undertaking this research – not so much your personal motivation (though that could be a factor too), but the social or socio-psychological factors prompting the research. As your angle is quite specific, you may want to talk about how being a part of a group could possibly provide confidence for ESL primary students in overcoming language and speaking barriers. For instance, a group can provide motivation and encouragement. Additionally, members can even share experiences, which other members can learn from. Finally, there’s also a sense of gaining and growing together, instead of doing it alone.

Note that these are merely pointers; a detailed literature search might help you arrive at sharper points for pursuit. Note also that you will need to write a background in your final paper. So, that in the proposal needs to be shorter (crisper). The proposal is more to convey to your professor/supervisor how much you know about research in general and the topic in particular, to allow them to give you the go-ahead or to provide inputs and feedback before giving the go-ahead.

For more information, you may refer to the following resources:

All the best for your proposal!