This section is meant for information which may be of interest to the reader but not critical to the study. Information usually includes research instruments, copies of letters of respondents, tables, figures, the budget and the work plan. Some things which are typically included in appendices are: data files that are too large to be represented simply in the results chapters, pictures or diagrams of results which are not important enough to keep in the main text and time frame, research instruments. Appendices should be devoted to those aspects of the project that are of secondary interest to the reader. Begin by assuming that the reader will only have a short time to read the proposal and it will only be its main body (not the appendices). After reading, the readers attention has already been engaged, and now he/she would like some additional information. This is the purpose of the Appendices. Several sections could be included in the appendices.
An important aspect of your proposal/thesis will be the budget. Most institutions are interested in seeing how finances will be allocated for the study. This refers to the amount of money needed or used during the study.
|CORE ACTIVITIES||ITEMS/PARTICIPANT||COST (USD @ KSH 78)||COST (KSH)|
|Consolidation of literature||Library search
Travelling expenses USD
10 per day x 30 days
|Designing and developing research instruments||Typing and photocopying of research instruments
|Research induction and training (7days)||Transport for researcher and two research assistants
USD 10x 7days x3
|Pilot survey||Transport for researcher and research assistants USD 100 x days x 3||1,500||117,000|
|Finalizing of research instruments (typing and photocopying)||150 questionnaires in each province x8 provinces @ USD 1 per questionnaire
|Main field data collection (4 months)||Travel, accommodation and subsistence researcher 1 x 120 days x USD 50
|Research assistants 2x 120 xUSD20
|Data processing, analysis and report writing||1 researcher and two
research assistants 3x 60
days USD 20
|Computer 1 and accessories
Video recorder and accessories
|10% contingency and institutional costs||157,638|
A work plan is a clear indication of the time frame for the project and the times when each aspect of the project will be implemented. A time line can be created as a graphic representation (not too many words). If done well, it will help demonstrate the feasibility of the project in a very visible way. It is a schedule, chart or graph that summarizes the different components of a research project and how they will be implemented in a coherent way within specific time-span. It may include
- The tasks to be performed.
- When and where the tasks will be performed
- Who will perform the tasks and the time each person will spend on them (research team, research assistants and support staff drivers, typists assigned to the tasks).
A time frame is the length of time a project will take from the start to the end. It is given in terms of specific dates. It gives an indication of time. It is usually in form of a table. It gives the duration of each activity.
A time plan is the demarcation of what will be done from the start to the end, when, and where. It includes the dates each task should begin and be completed. These three terms are used interchangeably.
Factors to Consider before Coming up with a Work Plan
A work plan is the blueprint of any project. It encompasses all that is required in order for a project to succeed or fail. A lot of care, objectivity and preparation have to be put in the work plan. A lot of consideration should be taken as to who gets assigned to the preparation of the final work plan.
Work planning does not start simply with the scheduling of tasks to be performed and the order in which they should be performed. It involves an awareness of the objective of the research project, the research methodology and the tentative budget.
Role of the Planner
The planner has to be very conversant with various aspects of the proposal as these have a direct link to designing the work plan. The planner has to be conversant with the problem that is being addressed and why it is being addressed, the available information and the additional information needed, the target group, and the techniques that will be used in data collection. He/she also needs to have a rough estimate of the length of time such a project will take. The planner also needs to be aware of some of the challenges likely to be faced. The role of the planner includes the following:
- Reflection — this involves assessing the project from the social and ecological perspectives. This includes assessing the set goals for the project and the best way of achieving them.
- Defining key issues (problems) to be addressed in the project and its practical boundaries.
- Identifying key uncertainties, that is, the likely gaps in understanding/knowledge about the project or the social or ecological systems. For example, if one of the study areas is North Eastern province, it is necessary for the planner to be aware of how long it will take to reach these areas, security concerns, accommodation, and so on.
Steps to Be Followed in Developing an Effective Work Plan
The following are the steps that a planner has to adhere to in developing an effective work plan.
- Review and revise, if necessary, the list of tasks prepared for data collection. Add to the list other tasks you must complete not related to data collection such as clearance of the proposal, data analysis and report writing, and feedback to the authorities and the target group. Number all tasks:
- Review the staffing for the different tasks, taking into account the experience during the pre-test. Consider:
- Who will carry out which tasks.
- The amount of time needed per research unit (interview/observation/record) including travel time.
- The number of staff needed to complete each task in the planned period of time.
- Look at a calendar and note any public holidays or other important activities scheduled for the period (about 6 months) in which you plan to conduct the fieldwork.
- Include your facilitator in stages of the fieldwork where you feel you would require assistance (for instance, during training of research assistants or during the initial period of data collection in the field). If needed, schedule the use of a local consultant.
- Do not forget to include support staff required (typists, drivers, for example).
Consider whether the number of days each member of the research team plans to invest in the fieldwork is adequate and acceptable for the task. (It should most likely not exceed 30 working days.)
Make revisions, if required. Complete the staffing for the tasks you have just added. Consider whether the use of short-term consultants is necessary for certain tasks. Always consider using local consultants. If consultants are used, involve them in the planning stage of the project so you can incorporate any useful suggestions they may have concerning the design of the methodology.
There are a number of computer software packages on the market that one can use to prepare and monitor the implementation of a work plan. Microsoft Project Manager, Excel, and Lotus are among the commonly used software solutions.
The work plan is the starting point for developing the budget. Specify, for each activity in the work plan, what resources are required. Determine for each resource needed the unit cost and the total cost.
Factors to Consider in Staffing Plan
Any person planning a research project has to have specific and careful planning on the recruitment of resource persons. This is mainly because they play a major role in the success of the project. Factors to consider before incorporating them in the work plan include the following:
- Are the types of personnel and levels of expertise you require likely to be available for the project? For example, is there a sufficient range of disciplines available including, where appropriate, personnel from outside the field? Varied views may help boost the project.
- If special staff have to be recruited or reassigned from other ministries / agencies/departments, and so on, what regulations or procedures will have to be followed?
- Is the staffing plan realistic, taking into account the project budget that is likely to be available?
- To what extent can community members, students or other nonprofessionals be involved in the study?
- What training would the research assistants/data collectors require? How long would the training last? Who would do the training? How do you intend to supervise the assistants/data collectors?
After this has been put into perspective the planner can then fix the dates (in weeks) indicating the period in which each task will have to be carried out and calculate the number of working days per person required to complete each task.
- The first draft of the work plan should be prepared when the project proposal is being developed, so the schedule can be discussed easily with the relevant authorities. A more detailed work plan should be prepared after the pre-test in the study area. There should be no hesitation in revising work plans as necessary, based on a reassessment of what can be realistically accomplished in the coming months.
- Seasonal changes and their effect on travel, work habits, and on the topic you are studying (such as incidence of disease or nutritional status) should be kept in mind as the schedule is planned.
Importance of Work Plan in Research
- A work plan can serve as:
- A tool for planning the details of the project activities and drafting a budget.
- A visual outline or illustration of the sequence of project operations. It can facilitate presentations and negotiations concerning the project with government authorities and other funding agencies.
- A management tool for the team leader and members of the research team, showing what tasks and activities are planned, their timing, and when various staff members will be involved in various tasks.
- A tool for monitoring and evaluation, when the current status of the project is compared to what had been foreseen in the work plan.
Challenges Faced in Preparation of Work Plans
There are various challenges experienced by researchers while preparing the work plan. This includes the following:
- Planning without an awareness of the research methodology, area of study and the respondents.
- Inexperience of the planners (researcher) particularly with certain data collection technique and therefore allocating less time for the field work.
- Planning without budget estimates.
- Pressure from authorities to hand in work plan in as short a time as possible. This results in haphazard planning to beat deadlines.
Errors in the preparation of the work plan may contribute to invalid data as it may contribute to rushing in coverage of study area and respondents. It can also contribute to the application of indicators and measuring techniques or instruments which do not adequately measure what the project set out to measure. All the above mentioned shortcomings may threaten the validity of the research findings and conclusions.