The purpose of the rationale is to explain to the audience what work the researcher is doing and why it is important in a broader context. In stating the significance of the study, the researcher should capture the audience's attention and make them want to keep reading. He or she should discuss the personal meaning of the work, if applicable, and show how it impacts others, including providing benefits to certain groups or segments of the population. In cases where the research is asking for funding or support, the researcher should write the significance of the study with information that makes the prospective funding partner understand the need for, and in turn provide, the requisite financial support.
The Purpose of the Rationale
The researcher should aim to answer the questions of why the work is important, what implications it has and how it connects to other types of information. On a broader scale, the researcher can elaborate on how the work might impact laws or policies and how it shapes an understanding of the world. The researcher can also include any new concepts that he or she brought to the study. The rationale explains the benefit, if any, that the research has for the field or members of the population. The researcher can state in the rationale who he or she intends to inform of the study's results.
Considerations to Keep in Mind
When composing the rationale, the researcher should keep several considerations in mind. These include evaluating what theoretical questions the research might solve in the broader subject area, and how the research can produce a better outcome. People should also consider what voids their research would fill in a subject area, and how it might improve the lives or well-being of others.
Different Types of Research
Researchers should keep in mind that different types of research have different end goals, which will influence what information should go into the rationale. If an individual is performing basic research, he or she is doing so to find new information to build a theory. This type of research is experimental and not concerned with finding long-term benefits, although the researcher can include any resulting benefits that arose during the research. Applied research is research that is performed for the purpose of establishing a framework or an outline for solving practical problems. Practical research is similar to applied research, but in addition to acknowledging that it can solve certain problems, practical research applies the research to a common problem to demonstrate its value.
While researchers should relate their work in a broader context and explain the benefits it provides, they can also acknowledge any gray areas that the research fails to address or resolve. The researcher can note that, while he or she set out to find an answer, the research did not provide an answer to the question (if this is the case). This demonstrates that the researcher understood the issue at hand, but that his or her work did not produce the results hoped for.