Research Proposals



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Title Page


Approval Page



Table of Contents



1.1          Background to the Study

1.2          Statement of the Problem

1.3          Purpose of the Study

1.4          Research Questions

1.5          Hypotheses

1.6          Significance of the Study

1.7          Scope/Delimitation of the Study

1.8          Definition of Operational Terms




3.1          Design of the Study

3.2          Population of the Study

3.3          Sample and Sampling Techniques

3.4          Research Instrument

3.5          Validity of the Instrument


3.6          Reliability of the Instrument

3.7          Administration of the Instrument

3.8          Data Analysis Technique


4.1          Analyses of Data Results

4.2          Summary of Major Findings

4.3          Discussion of the Findings



5.1          Summary

5.2          Conclusion

5.3          Recommendations

5.4          Suggestions for Further Studies






1.1 Background to the Study

The English language has attained an international acceptance due to globalization. Most of the learners need to write and speak English fluently and accurately in the general and academic domains. To use English effectively, it is important to master the four language skills, namely: listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Of all the four language skills, writing is considered a complex process and the most important skill for the second language learners to master. The ability to communicate ideas and information effectively through the global network is crucially dependent on good writing skills.

On the other hand, prepositions are the smallest words that serve important functions in the meaning of sentences. They show relationships between persons, objects, places etc. They also act as vital markers to the sentence structure. One of the important grammar points to master in both speaking and writing is preposition. Its function includes describing relations between two entities. These relationships include those of direction, position, time and various degrees of emotional and mental states.



There are many rules governing the use of prepositions in English sentences. Lorincz (2012) says that English language learners find prepositions challenging to master due to their large numbers and different nature. Substitution, addition and omission are the most syntactic errors based on their analysis of linguistic output of learners.

In English grammar, prepositions refer to a word showing how nouns or pronouns relate to the other words that are in the same sentence. They can be called as “widgets” because they are tiny parts that are used in relating words in a sentence. They also introduce information words that include where, when and why something takes place or general description of information (Laka, 2013).


The English native speakers rarely make mistakes in their grammar, but they also have common English errors which show how tricky the English language could be Swick, (2005). Prepositions are the subtlest set of small words that are of a closed class in English language (Huddleston, 1984, p.336). They express a relation between words which shows the location of one object in relation to another sentence such as: in, on, at and over. For instance, the book is ‘on’ the table, Mary is not responsible ‘for’ what she did; Dylan read the manual ‘before’ installing the system (Quirk 1985).


Prepositions do not accept new words easily, but they have notoriously polysemous behaviours in sentences. They are difficult to learn as most of them have different functions and they do not have many rules to help in choosing the right prepositions in a particular context (Swan 2005). They combine with other parts of speech to express new meanings, and they participate in idiomatic expressions.

For instance, He was angry at the weather and He was angry with me for failing to keep our appointment. Sometimes, one preposition comes with the verb form, another with the adjective and stills another with the noun form of the root word. For instance, sympathize with someone, sympathy for someone and sympathetic to someone (Kennedy, 2003, p. 257).

One reason that prepositions become problematic for the non-native speaker of English is that their forms never change. It is on the foregoing that the researcher intends to investigate prepositions and their influence on students’ performance in English language of selected Secondary schools in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Second learners of English language faced difficulties in their use of prepositions both  in speaking and writing such as ‘at’, ‘on’, ‘in’, ‘for’ and  ‘in’. It is also unfortunate that secondary school students in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area misused English prepositions which influenced their speaking and written English negatively; this consequently has been found to be a major source of their errors.

One of the reasons for this is due to the student’s lack of understanding of the context in using appropriate prepositions, and they do not know which preposition to use (Cabuk, 2009). The other reason is that learners face difficulties in the use of space prepositions due to influence of their native and target languages (Abdulkarim, 2008).


Lack of practice is another cause which makes their writing colourless, boring, and ineffective. These difficulties not only affect learners’ academic success, but also hinder their professional progress which has a negative impact on their personality and overall growth. Teachers in the above mentioned schools have put a lot of time and efforts for teaching the language and learning to write. In their attempt to master their writing skills, these learners inevitably commit errors.

It is on above assertion this research is a designed to investigate the problems of prepositions encountered by secondary school students in their written essays.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to examine prepositions and their influence on students performance in English. Specifically, the study has its objectives to:

  • investigate the prepositions and their influence on students’ performance in English language of selected Secondary Schools.
  • examine the problems of misused prepositions and its influence on students’ performance in English language in selected Secondary Schools.


  • identify the types of prepositions that influence students’ performance in English language  in selected Secondary Schools.
  • identify the sources and problems that students have in the use of prepositions.
  • investigate the  importance of prepositions and  the problems associated with it uses.


1.4       Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study shall:

  • what are the prepositions and their influence on students’ performance in English language of selected Secondary Schools?
  • to what extent does the problems of misused prepositions influence students’ performance in English language in selected Secondary Schools?
  • what are the types of prepositions that influence students’ performance in English language  in selected secondary schools?


1.5 Significance of the Study

This research work will be significant to students especially English and literary studies, teachers of the above mentioned schools as well as researchers who will find this work relevant for advance research.

The findings of this study would also be beneficial to lecturers, researchers, Ministry of Education and educational policy makers.

It also hoped that the findings would provide useful information to lecturers on the appropriate teaching strategies to be adopted that would bring about effective learning outcomes among students.

Furthermore, the significance of the study will be of great value to the teachers of English to give prepositions much time, more attention and considerable time for exercises in the class room.

Lastly, syllabus designers are to choose best ways to improve using prepositions through enriching syllabuses with prepositions activities.


1.6 Limitation of the Study

The limitation of this research was based on the time where the researcher had to use in getting materials from the library, academic journals and internet materials as well as information from the respondents in the selected secondary schools.  Since the research is an academic assignment, the researcher has a time limit and lack of enough time due to the duration of the project defence.

Also, another limitation was, the researcher faced a lot of challenges regarding accessibility of the students’ examination scripts and  oral communication in getting accurate information because  respondents most  focuses on their examination. At times, some of the students are shy to speak while some refuses to give out their written essay due to their poor performance.


Definition of Terms

Prepositions:   Prepositions may be defined as words which show the location of one object in relation to another. They are also the first words of a phrase that contains a noun or a pronoun. In sentences, prepositions show a relationship between its object.

Influence:  In brief, the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself

Students: In brief, a student is primarily a person who enrolled in a school or other educational institution and who is under learning with goals of acquiring knowledge, developing professions and achieving employment in a desired field.

Academic Performance: Academic performance is the measurement of student achievement across various academic subjects. Teachers and education officials typically measure achievement using classroom performance, graduation rates and results from standardized tests.



Based on the findings of this study, it can be concluded that: students failed in their placement of preposition in sentences influence on students’ performance in English language; that the problems of misused prepositions influence students’ performance in English language; and that students do not know how to deploy the preposition of time, preposition of place, preposition of movement, preposition of manner, preposition of an agent of instrument, preposition of measure, preposition of source and preposition of possession which influence the performance of students in English language in secondary schools in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.


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Peter Hezekiah

I am Peter Hezekiah, a Nigerian. A graduate of Economics/Education. I'm the Editor in (A online company that deals with writing of final year project and provision of project materials of any topic to final year project students). My personal email is My personal number; +2347068634102

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