Research culture to me is about being part of something bigger than your standalone research and being part of a department which contributes to the field in which you want to change. The research culture is also about the environment you are in whilst conducting your research. From day one, even as a part time researcher, you are made to feel as part of faculty and not just a student you are treated as a researcher who is contributing to the research of the university. The relationships with staff and supervisors enhance your experience as an early career researcher and it is this ‘research culture’ of making you feel as part of the faculty that adds to your confidence and ultimately shows in your research.
The purpose of providing background information is to provide a context for the research proposal that will help to explain why the research is necessary and how the research will contribute to the existing understanding of the issue. You should use this section for a number of purposes. First, to show that you are capable of writing in an appropriate style, with good grammar and structure. Second, you should also use it to demonstrate that you are capable of critical thinking and critical argument. Third, you should demonstrate your critical ability by explaining the existing state of knowledge in the area that your research will address. This should include an introduction to key concepts and how they relate to each other. You should identify the main issues and provide an analysis of the key commentary in the area, perhaps from a historical perspective so explaining both the need for your research and how that need has arisen. Finally, you should use it to set up the rest of the proposal and to help those reading your proposal to understand the value of the research you are proposing.