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Research Methods

Research Methods
Table of Contents



The following research proposal will present a background on the topic of the research. This will further bring an explanation to the topic of the research. In this aspect, the research proposal will also identify the different research objectives and the question. The study will also include the scope of the study and the research methods significantly. 


The Covid-19 outbreak has impacted businesses all over the world. All sizes of industries and companies, big or small, have been drastically losing revenues, and even the sale or the demand is decreasing (Yee, 2020). Even the universities are not exempted. In countries like the United Kingdom or Malaysia, the universities have been facing huge problems leading to the loss of students and faculty members. Across the world, the videos of lectures and tutorials have been shifted from offline to online classes (Crook and Schofield, 2017). In addition, enrolment has been deferred or delayed due to this pandemic. Thus, the background of the research proposal will focus on the enrolment of international students in Malaysian universities. 

Many reports have shown that during the time of Covid-19, the enrolment of international students has been a major concern for many universities, including the universities in Malaysia. As the universities are in the protocol of complete shutdown, it has become quite difficult for international students to go outside for higher education. In addition, due to the social distancing and the fear of the spreading of the virus, international students have been facing a huge challenge in enrolling themselves on top Malaysian universities (Sia and Adamu, 2020). Normally, before the beginning of the classes and the semester, the international students are told to pay the fees to save the seats for enrolment. However, this year, there has been a complete change in the view of the enrolment. They have a significant contribution, but due to the pandemic, little attention has been not been identified among the international students, which led to a difficulty in enrolment in Malaysian universities. 

Problem statement and significance of the research 

The main problem of the research is to identify the main reasons faced behind the enrolment of international students in Malaysian universities during the time of Covid-19. As the coronavirus has created a terrible outbreak in the study of the international students, it has been seen that likewise the education, even the enrolment, has been a big factor for the students to get admission in the Malaysian universities.

Although the Higher Education Department of Malaysia has been walking in the footsteps of European universities. For promoting international education in the country (Inam et al. 2020). Yet Malaysian universities have faced the challenge of providing better facilities during the time of enrolment for international students significantly. Malaysia’s higher education sector is in an uproar after the higher education ministry announced that the registration or the enrolment of international students need to be postponed for the next academic year (University World News, 2021). This has been undertaken as there has been a huge surge in the number of Covid-19 cases. 

In this context, the problem, which has been mainly identified in the research proposal, is the opinion of the students and the challenges faced by the international students with the problem in the enrolment in Malaysian universities. 

Malaysia has been one of the education sites in recent years. It can seize opportunities presented from this crisis. In addition, as Malaysia is not allowing any international students into the country with further notice, the students are returning to their country with valid visits or visas that have expired as of February 1, 2020. The higher education ministry said the decision was made following the concerns that had been voiced by the students. However, the main problem which has been identified from the research proposal will be undertaken with the following aspect of having travel restrictions (Ma, Heywood and MacIntyre, 2020). Besides this, the students have to stay in quarantine for 14 days before reaching Malaysia. The returning students have to maintain and follow the different protocols on returning to Malaysia. On the other hand, the students also have an issue in house rental payments for those who have paid for residing there but could not reach the destination for the restriction in entering the country without strict permission.  

Hence, the research gap which can be identified from the problem statement is about the impact the international students will face during the situation of the pandemic. Looking at the significance of the research is to identify the different aspects through which the international students face a problem in enrolment during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic (Kim et al. 2020). With this context, the research proposal will bring in different factors that the international students take a Covid-19 detection test on arrival. The other issues will be rescheduling flights, demanding compensation, the assistance of cash and many other aspects through which the Covid-19 will put a huge impact on the option of enrolment among international students in the Malaysian universities. Thus, the problem statement and the significance of the research is drastically related to each other as it will help in addressing the research gaps and even allow a better understanding of the conduct of the research. 

Research objectives/questions


The main aim of the research proposal is to identify the different ways through which Covid-19 will have an impact on international students’ enrolment in Malaysian universities. 


The following objectives that will be identified from the following problem statement for the research proposal will be as follows: 

  • To know about the covid-19 impact on the Malaysian universities
  • To assess the impact of Covid-19 on the enrolment of international students in Malaysia. 
  • To identify the different factors related to the emergence of Covid-19 impact on the process of enrolment in Malaysia. 

Research questions 

The research question that will be followed along with the problem statement of the research proposal will be as follows:

How has Covid-19 had an impact on the enrolment of international students in Malaysian universities?

The sub-question related to the main research questions will be: 

  • What are the different factors that can lead to the impact of Covid-19 on international students’ enrolment in Malaysian universities?

Scope of study 

The scope provides for the boundaries or the limits or the research in terms of content which can be found out from geographic, sample, unit of analysis, research methodology and general research scope. Although the research focuses on the impact of Covid-19 on international students’ enrolment, it will mainly take into account the geographic scope, which is related to the age of people enrolling in Malaysian universities. Also, the students will be from different cultural and regional backgrounds based on which the research will be conducted. Besides this, the sample scope will be based upon the international students that have or will enrol in Malaysian universities. The extent of the analysis will be the impact of covid-19 on the enrolment process for international students. On the other hand, it will also include the opinion of the students in the enrolment in Malaysia. Besides this, the research methodology will be based on a qualitative strategy with a thematic analysis of Malaysian universities. However, the general scope of the research will be the experiences of the students who have or will get enrolled in the Malaysian universities, and the reason behind it being delayed will be discussed in detail in the research. 

Research method 

The research method is the process through which different techniques and tools will be included which will be used for conducting the research. 

In the following research, interpretivism philosophy will be used to interpret the subjective elements of the research (Paul, 2017). The research will be identified based on assumptions to appreciate the differences between the people included in the research. The research strategy will be based on a qualitative strategy. This is because it will help in understanding the ways the people will understand and manage the problem in a systematic manner. With this aspect, it will be understood that qualitative strategy will be reliable for the research as it will also help in exploring the social interactions and it will also bring an in-depth analysis of the research (Bansal, Smith and Vaara, 2018).

The sampling procedure will be based on purposive sampling with the inclusion of five students who will or have enrolled in Malaysian universities for further higher education. Also, it will be conducted through the process of the interview in which the students will be asked face-to-face questions with direct responses from the interviewees. The data collection strategy will be based on a primary data collection method to gather real-time data through the real experiences of the participants (Madanayake and Ganiyu, 2018). Besides this, even secondary data will be included to relate to the opinions or the views that will be provided during the research. 

The reliability of the research will be the inclusion of proper sample size, and the questions of the interview need to be framed properly. The validity of the research will be based on the framing of simple questions which will not be misunderstood by the participants. Also, the resources and the procedure of the research need to be proper with evidence. The data analysis technique will include thematic analysis in the research. This will be identified through the themes or the patterns based on which the data will be analysed for the conduct of the research.


Bansal, P., Smith, W.K. and Vaara, E., 2018. New ways of seeing through qualitative research.

Crook, C. and Schofield, L., 2017. The video lecture. The Internet and Higher Education, 34, pp.56-64.

Inam, G., Ullah, I., Singh, J. and Arumungam, T., 2020. COVID’19 Influence on International Students Intention and Motivation to Study in Malaysia. Electronic Journal of Business & Management, 2, pp.18-34.

Kim, H., Krishnan, C., Law, J. and Rounsaville, T., 2020. COVID-19 and US higher education enrollment: Preparing leaders for fall. New Jersey: McKinsey &Company.

Ma, T., Heywood, A. and MacIntyre, C.R., 2020. Travel health risk perceptions of Chinese international students in Australia–Implications for COVID-19. Infection, disease & health, 25(3), pp.197-204.

Madanayake, U. and Ganiyu, S., 2018, November. Research, data collection and ethical issues: lessons from hindsight. In International Conference on Professionalism and ethics in Construction.

Paul, K.B., 2017. Introducing interpretive approach of phenomenological research methodology in environmental philosophy: A mode of engaged philosophy in the Anthropocene. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16(1), p.1609406917724916.

Sia, J.K.M. and Adamu, A.A., 2020. Facing the unknown: pandemic and higher education in Malaysia. Asian Education and Development Studies

University World News. 2021. Uproar over sudden postponement of student registrations. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 23 September 2021].

Yee, C.P., 2020. COVID-19: Impact on the tertiary education sector in Malaysia. Crisis Assessment,’Penang Institute, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, Tech. Rep.