How to Write A Research Synopsis

February 12 2018, By CharlesBruno Eze

Have you been told by your research supervisor to draft a synopsis for your research work or you just want to write one? Or you simply want to know what it means and it's importance in research writing. Now this article is designed to give you a simplified guide to what a research synopsis is and how to go about writing one without breaking a sweat.

A research synopsis is a short outline of what your research thesis is and all the steps you propose to follow in order to achieve them. It gives you and your supervisor a clear view of what the research aims at achieving and within what time frame. It also helps you stay focused and makes the research work generally less tedious. This explains why your synopsis should be approached with clarity, systematically with unambiguous sentences.

The format for writing a synopsis varies from institution to institution and among disciplines. But even within a discipline, the format can always be tailored to best suit your specific research work. However, this article will focus on the major items that should be found in your synopsis in their most popular order. Below is the outline of how your research synopsis should look like. Note that the following items should only appear after you've written your research topic and the abstract to your research.

  • Background: here you are meant to lead down from the research in your area of study generally down to your specific research topic. Discuss the importance of your proposed research work to research as a whole. Discuss also the academic gap which your research would fill which will lead to your research problem.


  • Theoretical Framework/Methodology/Conceptual Framework:  the above captions for this section aren't meant to be used interchangeably. It often depends on the discipline and the particular topic to determine which to use. The theoretical framework discusses the theory to employ in researching the object. Methodology indicates the methods of data gathering and analysis which can be quantitative and qualitative while the conceptual framewor explains the major concepts that the research revolves round on.


  • Research Questions:  These are the questions that will propel the research work and give it more focus along the line.


  • Hypothesis: here you mention the assumption on which the research work is built. Note that this assumption might turn out to be false at the end of the research.


  • Objectives of the study:  this highlights the objectives of your study; what your research aims at achieving. Here, like other items in your synopsis required a great deal of clarity.


  • Literature Review: thi contains a reading of other research works done on the area your work is centered. The idea is to show that your research topic hasn't been done before hence, it is researchable.


  • Limitations: here you are to discuss the challenging factors that the research have or is likely to face. You and your supervisor would most likely make research choices based on this and determine whether to move ahead with the research.


  • References: since the research work hasn't been carried out already, this section should indicate the major texts that will inform the knowledge upon which the research is built or whose findings your research work is propoing to refute. In the arts these texts are referred to "secondary texts".

The formats of the writing of the synopsis itself should follow the requirements of research writing in your discipline particularly. For instance, MLA requires 12 font size, double line spacing with Times New Roman font type.


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