RMP Resource - Synopsis
Synopsis writing is an important step in a project documentation. A good synopsis
will give maximum information in minimum words. A well-conceived synopsis will go
a long way in convincing the reviewer about the ability of the researcher to conduct
the project. In cases of need for financial assistance, the request will be considered
favorably. Thus, all research workers should make efforts to prepare a well-structured
A written summary starts with a lead, including title, author, text type, and the
main idea of the text. It has a clearly arranged structure and is written in a logical,
chronological, and traceable manner. In contrast to a résumé or a review, a summary
contains neither interpretation nor rating. Only the opinion of the original writer
is reflected – paraphrased with new words without quotations from the text.
Synopsis is the gist of your planned project submitted for approval from competent
authorities. It gives a panoramic view of your project for quick analysis by the
A synopsis should be constructed in a manner that facilitates the reviewer to understand
the research project at a glance. It should be brief but precise. A synopsis can
be structured in the following manner
- Title:The title of the project should be brief but
informative; sensationalization of the title is best avoided. It should neither
be too short nor too long. Any name of the institution, the number of cases to be
studied should not be included. The hypothesis to be studied can be included.
- Statement of the problem or hypothesis:The problem
being studied should be mentioned in precise and clear terms. Understanding the
problem aids the researcher in constructing the research proposal. It also allows
the person to formulate the hypothesis. The problem under study should be relevant
to the present. A brief account of its utility at the local or national level has
to be discussed. The present status of the problem and the necessity for taking
up the study needs to be mentioned.
Hypothesis is mentioned as a tentative prediction or explanation of the relationship
between two or more variables. Hypothesis should not be a haphazard guess but should
reflect the knowledge, imagination, and experience of the investigator. Hypothesis
can be formulated by understanding the problem, reviewing the literature on it,
and considering other factors. A researcher can state the problem and the hypothesis
in about 200 words covering all the aspects described above.
- Aims and objectives:All research projects should
have objectives and aims and every effort should be made to achieve them. The objectives
and aims should be only a few (2-3). They must pertain to the study problem. Usages
of terms like "first study", "the only study", etc. should be
- Review of literature:Review of literature is a very
important part of a research project. It achieves the following:
- Familiarizes the reader to the problem under study.
- It describes the work done by others either at local or international level on it
or similar subject.
- It helps the researcher to understand the difficulties faced by others and the corrective
steps taken or modifications made by them. The researcher can anticipate similar
or additional problems during the study and review of literature helps him in anticipating
- Research methodology of the researcher can be structured and modified after reviewing
- The review assists in identifying various variables in the research project and
conceptualizes their relationship.
- Review of literature in a synopsis helps the reviewer in assessing the knowledge
of the researcher. The reviewer can assess the work put in by the researcher and
also assists in assessing the feasibility of the study.
- Methodology:In a synopsis the methodology adopted
should be mentioned in about 150-200 words. The methodology forms the core of the
research project. The methodology should cover the following aspects:
- Study design: A single study design or a combination can be selected - descriptive
designs, observational analytical designs, experimental designs and operational
- Study Settings:A mention about the research setting should be made. This
includes information about the institution, facilities available, time of study,
and population of study.
- Sampling:Sampling is selecting a sample of appropriate size for the study.
The sample size depends on the study design. The study population can be population
of cases, population of people, or population of recipients of certain treatment.
There are many methods for sampling like simple random, systemic and stratified
sampling, cluster sampling, etc. Care should be taken to ensure that the sample
size is adequate to produce meaningful results.
- Variables:Variables are the factors that can change. These changes can affect
the outcome of a research project. Thus, it is important to identify the variables
at the planning stage. They should be quantified with a measurable unit. Knowledge
of the various variables in a research project will assist in refining the objectives.
Usually, objectives of a research will be to see the effect of independent variables
on dependent variables. There are four types of variables.
1. Independent variables:These are the variables that can be manipulated by the
researcher and the effects of that are observed on the other variables. For example,
predisposing factors, risk factors and cause
2. Dependent variables:The changes occur as a result of independent variables. For
example, disease and outcome.
3. Intervening variables: These may influence the effect of independent variables
on the dependent variables.
4. Background variables:These are changes that are relevant in the groups or population
under study. These need to be included in the study.
- Controls:Control groups increase the validity of the research project. They
usually consist of units of same population but differ in some respects.
- Study methods:You will have to describe the method of data collection, which
may be in the form of: Questionnaire, Interviews, Medical examination, Laboratory
investigations or Screening procedures.
- Data collection:A brief note on how data are collected should be included.
The information should be about: The organizational setup, Training to data collecting
team, Logistic support and Plans for collaboration with other organization should
- Data analysis:Data analysis is an important part of a research project. A
good analysis leads to good results. The plans for data analysis should be mentioned
under the following heads Statistical methods, Computer program used, and Data sorting
method. A general statement "appropriate statistical methods will be used."
must be avoided.
- Referances:All references quoted in review of literature and anywhere else
in the synopsis should be listed here. There are two styles for writing references,
Vancouver style and Harvard style.
Conclusion: A brief summary of the major points of a documentation, either
as prose or as a table; an abridgment or condensation of a work. A synopsis is incomplete
if it does not contain the following information: Name of the researcher and designation,
Name and designation of the guide, Name and designation of head of department\institution,
Name of the institution and Signatures of all with official seal.
efference between Synopsis and abstract : An abstract is a concise summary
of the important details or points, whereas a synopsis in general could be a broader
description including discussion of secondary issues of less importance.
An abstract is a synopsis; a synopsis cannot be an abstract.
Synopsis is a short form of documentation but abstract is the important details
about that documentation.