This outline is intended to serve as a guide to the postgraduate students, supervisors, Departmental Heads, Departmental Postgraduate Studies Committees and the Faculty Postgraduate Studies Committee in the preparation and assessment of research proposals, research project papers and theses.
Research is a systematic process for generating new knowledge or for confirming existing knowledge. A farmer planting two kinds of sorghum side by side to compare yields, a biochemist sequencing the proteins of a new virus, a statistician analyzing the health impact of an intervention over space and time, a sociologist questioning villagers about their feelings towards family planning – all are doing research (a scientific and systematic search for pertinent information on a specific topic or problem area).
Each form of research offers its own perspective and follows its own set of procedures. This therefore means that besides the general guidelines on the procedure of doing research, there are variations across disciplines, meant to address specific disciplinary requirements. Even in a given discipline, research protocols may differ considerably. The format suggested below is only a guide as to what is important in compiling a research proposal and subsequently a research paper or a thesis. It is to be used flexibly both by graduate students and by the Postgraduate Studies Committee.
It is to be used flexibly both by graduate students and by the Postgraduate Studies Committee.