A query in the cafe-bar yesterday concerned how to write a research proposal. I gave a few quick hints and promised to investigate whether we had anything in the library that might help with this task.
On Thursdays, I’m a researcher in the morning and a librarian in the afternoon. It wasn’t until I got back to my library desk that I started to think about the query properly. We do a lot of practice-based research at the Conservatoire, whilst my own PhD (now some years ago) was plain musicology, so I wanted to ensure that my advice suited the enquirer. Then I remembered – when had I last written a research proposal? Well, I’d done my successful application for an AHRC Networking Grant, of course – but I had also written a research proposal for my PG Cert project. To my delight, when I retrieved the appropriate documentation for the latter, I discovered I had used tracking on my Word document to keep myself right at every point of the process. There were my headings, and margin comments amplified what I should be doing under each one.
Then I turned back to the library catalogue, and tried a couple of searches, one of books and e-books, and the other using our discovery-layer, Catalogue Plus. This was looking promising. Finally, I put all my advice into a blogpost on the library blog, Whittaker Live. If I was giving a serious bit of guidance, I thought, then I might as well make it available to anyone else with the same question! I had actually worn all three of my “hats” whilst answering this query – librarian, musicologist and teacher. Some HE establishments have the role of “tutor librarian”. That’s not my title, but it’s one of the areas in which I feel most effective. That, and my research existence!
Writing a Research Proposal (blogpost on Whittaker Live)