Description of how the research will be done The sample

The proposal should contain a precise and relevant definition of the sample to be selected. It should explain the method to be used in selecting the sample and indicate the size of sample to be used, with reasons for this.

The fieldwork

The proposal should indicate clearly the research method to be used: group discussions, personal interviews, telephone research, postal research, and so on. It should indicate how the fieldwork is to be organized, and how the quality of the fieldwork is to be controlled and checked. This section will also be used to indicate whether the agency is a member of the Interviewer Quality Control Scheme (IQCS). If so, this can be taken as an indicator of the quality standards maintained by the company concerned. If not, this does not necessarily indicate poor quality of fieldwork, but the client must make a personal judgement of this.

The questionnaire

It would be unreasonable to expect to see a final questionnaire included in the research proposal. What should be shown are comments indicating what the agency believes should be included in the questionnaire. This will be partly as a result of the briefing they received and partly as a result of their own analysis of the requirements of the problem. There will be suggestions from the agency as to what topics might be included and what type of question might be used. There should also be an indication of the expected length of the questionnaire and its composition.

Data handling

For a quantitative survey, the proposals should contain details of the work to be undertaken in editing, coding and processing the data produced. If tables are to be produced then the proposal should indicate how many tables there will be and whether any cross-tabulation is to be produced. For a qualitative survey, an indication should be given of how the data produced will be handled. Will the tapes be transcribed, or will analysis be conducted straight from the original tapes by the moderator?

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