The paper should be written in IMRad format. Introduction, method, results and discussion.
Outline in slightly greater detail the research question you intend to ask.
You should write a brief overview of the background to your study. Remember, you should assume the reader is completely unfamiliar with your chosen topic, so you will need to spend time ‘bringing them up to speed’.
The describe the current situation as you understand it – these statements should be supported by findings obtained through a brief search of the literature.
Finish this section by re-stating your aims and objectives, which should comprise the practical steps by which your will investigate your chosen topic.
In this section, you should explain how you are going to perform the research. This includes the method(s) to be used for data collection (if appropriate), or how you intend to perform the literature search (systematic review).
For a good mark in this assignment, you will be expected to discuss previous research findings and demonstrate how your decisions in constructing your proposed method have been informed by evidence (published work).
Please consider the administrative side to your work in this section, i.e., intention to submit your proposal to your Trust’s research & development department and that ethics have been carefully considered.
In the absence of actual results, you should explain how you intend to evaluate or analyse your results in this section. This includes stating the type of date you intend to collect and the appropriate ways to manage of these data (e.g. plotting, descriptive summaries, appropriate statistical tests).
If you plan to conduct a systematic review, your methods section should contain a draft search strategy; while your results section should give a brief summary of the numbers of ‘hits’ (journal articles identified), and an outline of them. This should not be exhaustive, but it needs to demonstrate how you might modify your draft strategy to improve its accuracy (if you take this forward, this will be undertaken during HECS3077).
This section allows you to demonstrate knowledge of the subject and whether or not you are able to find and evaluate relevant published literature. Whilst the introduction provides the reader with a background to the area and briefly discusses what is currently known, you should build upon this information in your discussion by placing it in context and comparing opinions or findings between published authors.
Additional sections should include one which addresses Ethical considerations, and/or R&D issues. For example, if you were studying infection control in A&E and wanted to collect swabs, you would need to demonstrate you are aware of appropriate routes for raising the R&D costs to fund such work. It is only a paper exercise, but you need to show you know how you would follow it through to reality.
You should also have a Dissemination section, identifying how and where you present your results to a wider audience. It is an audit, then it need to be presented to your local Dept or R&D Directorate; if it’s a piece of original research you might consider presenting it to your professional body, at a local/national research forum, or a scientific conference.