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6+ Psychology Research Proposal Examples [ Social, Cognitive, Quantitative]

Psychology Research Proposal Examples

Proposals, whatever they may be, may it be a wedding proposal , business proposal , or a research proposal , all have a similar goal. It is to hear the word “yes” from the mouths of the recipient. Despite that, these proposals give different feelings to the proposer. If you are here to get tips on coming up with a research proposal, you get what I mean. Don’t worry, this article will help you get ideas on how to devise your psychology research proposal.

6+ Psychology Research Proposal Examples

1. cognitive psychology research proposal.

cognitive psychology research

2.  Psychology Counselling Research Proposal

couselling psychology research proposal

3. Undergraduate Psychology Research Proposal

undergraduate

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4. PhD Psychology Research Proposal

phd pyschology research proposal

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5. Forensic Psychology Research Proposal

forensic pyschology research proposal

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6. Social Psychology Research Proposal

social pyschology research proposal

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7. Psychology Research Grant Proposal

psychology research grant proposal

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What Is a Psychology Research Proposal?

A psychology research proposal is an academic document that a person submits to propose a research project, specifically in the field of clinical psychology. The purpose of research proposals is to outline the research questions and summarize your selected research topic. Another necessary reason for creating this proposal is to present ways that you think would be best in conducting the study and justifying it.

How to Compose a Reliable Psychology Research Proposal

There’s a time psychology students dread. It’s the moment that signifies the beginning of hell week or maybe hell month. It is when the professors ask their students to submit their research proposals.  Coming up with a psychology research proposal might cost you a lot of sleepless nights. To get back the sleep that you deserve, instead of pulling your hair out, read this article and follow the steps mentioned below. 

1. Formulate a Working Title

The title of your educational research should reflect what your study will discuss. Omit unnecessary words. Only keep those words that contribute to the meaning and the impact of your title. Make your title engaging to attract the attention of the readers. It is necessary to take a moment to think about a research title that is both powerful and meaningful.

2. Construct Your Abstract

Abstracts should be short and concise. That said, it should be at least a hundred words and three hundred words at most. Describe your research in your proposal but don’t include too many details yet. A good abstract would provide an introduction to the key objectives and the hypothesis of your proposed research.

3. Include Necessary Components

There are necessary components that make an abstract complete. After your title and abstract statement, you should also include the research scope and your methodology. This segment will explain who your respondents are and how you will deal with possible problems you will encounter while conducting your study. Also, you should include the resources that you will use in the process.

4. Devise Your Appendices

Appendices have sections A to E. Appendix A is where you should cite a list of your sources. In the second section, Appendix B is where you should present your project timeline . Your list of skills and achievements relevant to the research belongs in Appendix C. You should detail your budget plan in Appendix D and print your approval letter in the last appendix.

What are interesting psychology research topics?

You can choose from plenty of compelling topics. Discrimination, social cognition, propaganda, gender roles, and bullying are some examples of it. Whatever topic you choose, the quality of your paper depends on how well you carry out your research. Even the most boring topics can be made interesting by a good researcher.

What are the differences between quantitative and qualitative approaches?

These approaches are two very different things. Qualitative research focuses more on analyzing and interpreting ideas, theories, and data. The methods employed in this approach are discourse analysis, content analysis, and thematic analysis. In contrast, quantitative research deals more with statistics and numbers and often involves a research survey , experiment, and testing hypotheses.

What are the qualitative approaches?

You can apply different approaches in conducting qualitative research. The most common ones are narrative research, action research , ethnography, grounded theory, and phenomenological research. Although all of these falls under the qualitative approach, they incorporate different data collection. Researchers implementing these approaches have varying aims. They also have different perspectives in the direction they should take in conducting their thesis.

The study of psychology focuses on people’s minds and cognitive behavior and how they function in different social settings and environments. That said, there are still a lot of mysteries about how people process their thoughts. If your goal is to uncover one of them, take your first step by composing a foolproof psychology research proposal and get it approved.

research proposal sample in psychology

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Writing your research proposal

When applying to study for a PhD or MPhil in the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, you will typically need to send us an initial 500-word research proposal.

The content and structure of your research proposal will be influenced by the nature of the project you wish to pursue. The guidance and suggested headings provided here should help you to structure and present your ideas clearly.

Your initial research proposal

When writing your initial research proposal, you can either address it to the School generally, or to a specific supervisor if you have one in mind. 

Potential supervisors in the School will review your initial research proposal, and get in touch with you to discuss it. Your proposal may change following this conversation. Depending on the supervisor and the outcome of this discussion, you may be asked to produce a longer research proposal of between 2,000 and 4,000 words.

Tips on writing a research proposal

Before you write your research proposal, we strongly recommend that you check our  research page  and  individual supervisor profiles  to view our areas of expertise.

  • You should avoid the use of overly long sentences and technical jargon.
  • It is important that the proposed research is realistic and feasible so that the outcomes can be achieved within the scale of a typical research degree programme. This is usually three years full-time for a PhD (or two years for an MPhil). 
  • A strong research proposal can and should make a positive first impression about your potential to become a good researcher. It should demonstrate that your ideas are focused, interesting and realistic.

Although you should write your proposal yourself, it is best if you discuss its contents with your proposed supervisor before you submit it. If this is not possible, then try to get someone else (such as an academic at your current or previous institution) to read and comment on it to ensure that it is sufficiently clear.

Your proposal needs a clear working title that gives an indication of what you want to study. You are not committed to continuing with the same title once you begin your studies.

Research question

For many projects, you'll usually address one main question, which can sometimes be broken down into several sub-questions. However, it's OK to have two or three research questions where appropriate.

In your research proposal, you'll need to state your main research question(s), explain its significance, and locate it within the relevant literature, in order to set out the context into which your research will fit. You should only refer to research that is directly relevant to your proposal. 

Questions to address in your research proposal

You will need to address questions such as:

  • What is the general area in which you will be working, and the specific aspect(s) of that area that will be your focus of inquiry?
  • What is the problem, shortcoming, or gap in this area that you would like to address?
  • What is the main research question or aim that you want to address?
  • What are the specific objectives for the proposed research that follow from this?
  • Why is the proposed research significant, why does it matter (either theoretically or practically), and why does it excite you?
  • How does your work relate to other relevant research in the department?

Methodology

You will need to explain how you will go about answering your question (or achieving your aim), and why you will use your intended approach to address the question/aim. 

Questions you might need to address include:

  • What steps will you take and what methods will you use to address your question? For instance, do you plan to use quantitative or qualitative methods?
  • How will your proposed method provide a reliable answer to your question?
  • What sources or data will you use?
  • If your project involves an experimental approach, what specific hypothesis or hypotheses will you address?
  • What specific techniques will you use to test the hypothesis? For example, laboratory procedures, interviews, questionnaires, modelling, simulation, text analysis, use of secondary data sources.
  • What practical considerations are there? For example, what equipment, facilities, and other resources will be required?
  • What relevant skills and experience do you have with the proposed methods?
  • Will you need to collaborate with other researchers and organisations?
  • Are there particular ethical issues that will need to be considered (for example, all projects using human participants require ethical approval)?
  • Are there any potential problems or difficulties that you foresee (for example, delays in gaining access to special populations or materials) that might affect your rate of progress?

You will need to provide a rough timeline for the completion of your research to show that the project is achievable (given the facilities and resources required) in no more than three years of full-time study (or part-time equivalent) for a PhD, and two years for an MPhil.

Expected outcomes

You need to say something about what the expected outcomes of your project would be.

How, for example, does it make a contribution to knowledge? How does it advance theoretical understanding? How might it contribute to policy or practice?

If you are aiming to study for a PhD, then you need to say how your proposed research will make an original contribution to knowledge. This is not essential if you are aiming to study for an MPhil, although you will still need to show originality in the application of knowledge.

List of references

You will need to provide a list of any key articles or texts that you have referred to in your proposal.

References should be listed in the appropriate style for your subject area (e.g. Harvard). You should only reference texts that you think are central to your proposed work, rather than a bibliography listing everything written on the subject. 

Format and proofreading

Make sure that your proposal is well structured and clearly written. It is important that you carefully check your proposal for typographical and spelling errors, consistency of style, and accuracy of references, before submitting it.

The proposal should be aesthetically well presented, and look professional (e.g. no font inconsistencies, headings clearly identifiable). If you include figures, then they should be accompanied by captions underneath).

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  • How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

Published on October 12, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on November 21, 2023.

Structure of a research proposal

A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it’s important, and how you will conduct your research.

The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements:

Introduction

Literature review.

  • Research design

Reference list

While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organized and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take.

Table of contents

Research proposal purpose, research proposal examples, research design and methods, contribution to knowledge, research schedule, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about research proposals.

Academics often have to write research proposals to get funding for their projects. As a student, you might have to write a research proposal as part of a grad school application , or prior to starting your thesis or dissertation .

In addition to helping you figure out what your research can look like, a proposal can also serve to demonstrate why your project is worth pursuing to a funder, educational institution, or supervisor.

Research proposal length

The length of a research proposal can vary quite a bit. A bachelor’s or master’s thesis proposal can be just a few pages, while proposals for PhD dissertations or research funding are usually much longer and more detailed. Your supervisor can help you determine the best length for your work.

One trick to get started is to think of your proposal’s structure as a shorter version of your thesis or dissertation , only without the results , conclusion and discussion sections.

Download our research proposal template

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Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We’ve included a few for you below.

  • Example research proposal #1: “A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management”
  • Example research proposal #2: “Medical Students as Mediators of Change in Tobacco Use”

Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes:

  • The proposed title of your project
  • Your supervisor’s name
  • Your institution and department

The first part of your proposal is the initial pitch for your project. Make sure it succinctly explains what you want to do and why.

Your introduction should:

  • Introduce your topic
  • Give necessary background and context
  • Outline your  problem statement  and research questions

To guide your introduction , include information about:

  • Who could have an interest in the topic (e.g., scientists, policymakers)
  • How much is already known about the topic
  • What is missing from this current knowledge
  • What new insights your research will contribute
  • Why you believe this research is worth doing

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

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See an example

research proposal sample in psychology

As you get started, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the most important research on your topic. A strong literature review  shows your reader that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge or theory. It also shows that you’re not simply repeating what other people have already done or said, but rather using existing research as a jumping-off point for your own.

In this section, share exactly how your project will contribute to ongoing conversations in the field by:

  • Comparing and contrasting the main theories, methods, and debates
  • Examining the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches
  • Explaining how will you build on, challenge, or synthesize prior scholarship

Following the literature review, restate your main  objectives . This brings the focus back to your own project. Next, your research design or methodology section will describe your overall approach, and the practical steps you will take to answer your research questions.

To finish your proposal on a strong note, explore the potential implications of your research for your field. Emphasize again what you aim to contribute and why it matters.

For example, your results might have implications for:

  • Improving best practices
  • Informing policymaking decisions
  • Strengthening a theory or model
  • Challenging popular or scientific beliefs
  • Creating a basis for future research

Last but not least, your research proposal must include correct citations for every source you have used, compiled in a reference list . To create citations quickly and easily, you can use our free APA citation generator .

Some institutions or funders require a detailed timeline of the project, asking you to forecast what you will do at each stage and how long it may take. While not always required, be sure to check the requirements of your project.

Here’s an example schedule to help you get started. You can also download a template at the button below.

Download our research schedule template

If you are applying for research funding, chances are you will have to include a detailed budget. This shows your estimates of how much each part of your project will cost.

Make sure to check what type of costs the funding body will agree to cover. For each item, include:

  • Cost : exactly how much money do you need?
  • Justification : why is this cost necessary to complete the research?
  • Source : how did you calculate the amount?

To determine your budget, think about:

  • Travel costs : do you need to go somewhere to collect your data? How will you get there, and how much time will you need? What will you do there (e.g., interviews, archival research)?
  • Materials : do you need access to any tools or technologies?
  • Help : do you need to hire any research assistants for the project? What will they do, and how much will you pay them?

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Methodology

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.

Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.

A PhD, which is short for philosophiae doctor (doctor of philosophy in Latin), is the highest university degree that can be obtained. In a PhD, students spend 3–5 years writing a dissertation , which aims to make a significant, original contribution to current knowledge.

A PhD is intended to prepare students for a career as a researcher, whether that be in academia, the public sector, or the private sector.

A master’s is a 1- or 2-year graduate degree that can prepare you for a variety of careers.

All master’s involve graduate-level coursework. Some are research-intensive and intend to prepare students for further study in a PhD; these usually require their students to write a master’s thesis . Others focus on professional training for a specific career.

Critical thinking refers to the ability to evaluate information and to be aware of biases or assumptions, including your own.

Like information literacy , it involves evaluating arguments, identifying and solving problems in an objective and systematic way, and clearly communicating your ideas.

The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

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FREE 10+ Psychology Research Proposal Samples in PDF | DOC

sample psychology research proposal templates

A research study needs to undergo a proposal first before it could officially start. This is true to all fields of study and different industries, and the psychology field is no exception to that. Whether you are a psychology student, or an expert in the field, conducting a research proposal can help you prepare for the actual research work. You will face a lot of limitations such as time, money, environment, equipment, and ethics, your research is not feasible, or you’re not just ready to do a more in-depth study of your research. To prepare yourself to write a research proposal, you need to plan your strategy and think of the steps you need to do. To give you an idea how to create research proposal , read the article below.

Psychology Research Proposal

10+ psychology research proposal samples, 1. psychology research proposal report, 2. psychology research method proposal, 3. psychology research project proposal, 4. psychology research grant proposal, 5. clinical psychology research proposal, 6. educational psychology research proposal, 7. funded psychology research proposal, 8. community psychology research proposal, 9. psychology research conference proposal, 10. psychology research honors program proposal, 11. psychology research dissertation proposal, what is a psychology research, how to write a psychology  research proposal, 1. make the title, 2. create the research question, 3. identify the research objectives, 4. present the literature review, 5. describe the research methodology, 6. explain the expected outcome, what are the five types of psychological research, what are the types of research methodology, what are some good research topics for psychology.

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Psychology research refers to a scientific method of research in the psychology field where psychologists, psychology students, or anyone in the psychology field conducting a systematic study for analysis of various experiences and behaviors of individuals or groups of people. Psychology research can be used in educational, occupational, and clinical applications.

Research proposals are usually required to make and submit before you can commence to the actual research. The proposals are evaluated to improve the research study and to see if the research is practical and ethical, and if the researcher understands the study well and has enough resources to pursue the research study.

The sections below discuss the general format of a research proposal:

The first of the proposal s to create a title that indicates what will your study be about. Remember the title of your study can still be changed while you’re conducting your research, so the title that you will create now is still the initial title.

The next part of your research proposal is stating your main research questions . Explain its significance, and relate it with the relevant literature review. Most format of the typical research questions usually addresses one main question, and be broken down into several sub-questions. However, some researchers have two or three research questions where appropriate.

The next part of your research proposal is to state your research objectives must contain the following: the topic of your research and its general significance and the key ideas that led you to create your research question, and the hypotheses you conjured in your study based on your analysis from your literature review.

This part of the research proposal is where you lay out all the studies, such as published studies, journals, articles, books, magazines, and laboratory results of experiments, that will support and justify the necessity of your research.

The next part of your research proposal is to describe how you will do your research methodology to answer your research questions and why you will use this approach to address the question. Furthermore, you need to discuss who will be your target audience to be the participants of the study, what will be the procedure to be done, and the materials, instruments, equipment, and budget you will need for your research.

You will also need to provide a timeline of when your research will start until when it will be completed.

The last part of your proposal is explaining what will be the expected outcomes of your research. Explain how your research makes a contribution to the field of psychology knowledge,  how it contributes to advance theoretical understanding, and how it contributes to psychology policies or practices.

The five types of psychological research are naturalist observation, survey method, case study , correlational design, and experimental method.

There are various types of research methodology. These are quantitative , qualitative, descriptive, analytical , applied, fundamental, and exploratory.

  • Types of disorder: Examples could be about e ating disorders, depression, phobias, or personality disorders.
  • Topics related to human cognition: Examples could be dreams, false memories, attention, perception, speech disorders, problem-solving, or judgment.
  • Analysis of a famous experiment: In your research paper, you can choose to summarize the experiment, analyze the ethics of the research, or evaluate the implications of the study.

Once you’re done writing the proposal don’t forget to include a bibliography where you will list all the materials that you used as reference of your research study proposal.The reference is usually done in APA style, but you can ask your professor if there are other references style that they want you to follow. Make sure you follow the proper format of the APA citation since evaluators are also critical about that. If you’re planning to start your research proposal now, you can download our free sample templates to guide you!

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UCL Doctorate In Clinical Psychology

Guidelines for the Research Proposal

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The purpose of the research proposal is to help you organise your ideas about your major research project, and to enable you to get feedback on what you are planning to do. It is worth putting in careful thought at this stage: it will mean that the project is more likely to run smoothly in the long run, and much of what you write in it can eventually be recycled into the final thesis write-up. The proposal is also needed for NHS ethics applications.

The proposal is a course requirement, but is not an assessed piece of work. It is due early in Term 1 of Year 2 (the date will be announced). Please submit an electronic copy to the Research Administrator (following the procedure detailed on the Project Support Moodle site).

There is no formal word limit (but conciseness is essential): we suggest that you aim for around 2500 words, plus references and any necessary appendices. Format it double-spaced, and include page numbers so that reviewers can easily refer back to specific points. Since it is not assessed work, it does not need your code number; please put your name on it.

Some sample proposals from previous years are available on the 'Proposal' (Topic 4) section of the Research Project Support Moodle. 

The structure and content of the proposal is similar to that of the introduction and method sections of a journal article:

A title page with (1) the provisional title of the project (this can be modified later on), (2) your name, (3) your internal and external supervisors, (4) the setting where the study is likely to take place and (5) the date. If you are doing a joint project with other trainees, this should be stated here and the other trainees should be named. (Including all of this information on the title page is very helpful for the course's administrative purposes.)

The introduction (3 or 4 pages) states what the research topic is and why it is important. It succinctly reviews previous research in the area and relevant psychological theory, and summarises the rationale for the intended study. The introduction should end with one or more clearly stated research questions or hypotheses.

The method section (3 or 4 pages) describes in detail the proposed research methods: the setting, participants, sample size, research design, measures, ethical considerations, and data analysis procedures. For quantitative research, the sample size needs to be determined by a power calculation, which should be reported here (a separate document on power calculations is on the Project Support Moodle site). Measures that are not well known should be included as an appendix. For qualitative research, describe your interview schedule (append a draft) and your proposed method of analysis, including the types of "credibility checks" that you propose to use.

The service user involvement section (one or two or paragraphs) describes how the needs and views of service users or other relevant members of the public have shaped or will shape your project. This could include examples of service users influencing: (1) the choice of topic to be researched; (2) decisions about methodology; (3) the design of materials such as invitation letters and participant information sheets; (4) the design of a qualitative interview schedule, and (5) the ethics of the research. Please outline any plans for service user involvement later in the project.  Remember, whilst there are formal ways of eliciting service user views, such as the use of focus groups and services such as FAST-R ( Feasibility And Support to Timely recruitment for Research ), informal sources of information are also valuable, and can be described here. This might include conversations with individual service users, experiences from clinical work, or interactions that take place on-line.

Whilst we strongly encourage trainees to use service user input when developing their research, this is not obligatory. Sometimes consultation with service users and other members of the public is not necessary, for example in some studies of healthy volunteers. If there has been no input from service users or members of the public, please use this section to state this, and briefly (a couple of sentences) explain why. 

The feasibility section has a brief appraisal of how realistic your project is in practical terms, particularly with regard to recruiting participants. Many trainees (and their supervisors!) tend to be over-optimistic at this stage of the project, and it is a good idea to address potential recruitment problems at the outset. You should also include a fallback plan in case things go pear-shaped (which, sadly, in clinical research they often do). It would be helpful if you provided an estimate of what the smallest viable sample size would be, so that we (and you) have an idea of what a worst-case scenario might look like. A general timetable for the project is given in the guidelines for the major research project . If you anticipate any major departures from this, give details and a rationale.

The joint working section is, of course, only required if you are proposing a joint project. In this section provide a brief outline of what your anticipated contribution to the overall study will be, and what will be done by others. There should be a statement of how your research question(s) and analyses will be distinct from those of other students involved in the project. It will be helpful to consult the course guidelines on joint projects when planning any joint study. 

The institutional arrangements , e.g., the setting, and who has agreed to be your internal and external supervisors.

The costings section sets out any substantial expenses that the project may entail. Note that the Department has limited funds and does not normally fund projects costing more than £250 over two years (see the course document on research funding ). If your project is likely to cost more than this,  the course may possibly  be able to provide some additional funding up to £400, although this cannot be guaranteed. It is your responsibility to secure additional funding for expenses beyond that allocated by the course.

The reference list gives all cited works. (It is important to check that this is complete, because reviewers may consult some of your references to understand the background to your study.)

Appendices include measures not in common use, draft qualitative interview schedules, etc.

Supervisors' input

Research proposals usually need to go through several drafts. Show your internal and external supervisors a draft early enough so that you can incorporate their comments into a revised draft before submission.

Review of the proposal

The proposal will be read by one of the academic staff, and will be discussed at a proposals review meeting in October. The resultant written feedback that you receive (towards the end of October) will give you a clear indication of the general feasibility of your project, and suggest any changes that will need to be made before it goes ahead. 

This process counts as the "peer review" that is required for all NHS ethics applications. Therefore, once your proposal has passed the review stage, those of you applying for NHS ethics should contact Will Mandy to ask for a letter confirming that your project has been successfully peer reviewed.  

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Key Elements of Psychology Research Proposals + Sample Templates

Table of Contents

Need help writing a research proposal for your psychology study? Then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll guide you through the key elements you should include for a winning proposal. We’ll also share a  research proposal sample psychology that you can refer to! With a well-written research proposal, you’ll be able to showcase the significance of your study. Plus, it can impress potential reviewers and secure the necessary funding for your project.

What is a Psychology Research Proposal?

A psychology research proposal outlines a proposed study consisting of the objectives, hypotheses, methods, and expected outcomes . This document serves as the blueprint for conducting a successful experiment or data collection effort in the field of psychology. Research proposals are often required by granting agencies or academic institutions. Taking the time to create an effective proposal is essential for ensuring the success of any research project.

Key Elements of Psychology Research Proposals

The section you should include in a research proposal depend on the requirements set by your professor or grant agency. But in general, research proposals will need to have the following key elements:

Research Topic

This is the main focus of the research proposal. It should be explained clearly and concisely. This section aims to:

  • Identify the specific area of psychology that will be explored.
  • Provide a brief overview of existing knowledge on the subject.
  • Outline the objectives and goals of the proposed study.

Research Questions

A list of research questions should be included in the proposal to help guide the study’s investigation. These can range from broad inquiries into a given topic to more specific queries regarding certain aspects or areas related to the topic.

Literature Review

An effective literature review serves two essential purposes:

  • It provides an overview of the current understanding of the topic.
  • Demonstrates that the researcher has conducted adequate background research to develop an informed hypothesis.

Hypothesis/Research Objectives

The hypothesis forms the basis of the research project and outlines what the researcher expects to find. It should also include any specific objectives associated with testing the hypothesis.

Methodology

This sections focuses on the methods used to conduct the study. It provides information on the study’s sample size, participant demographics, research environment, data collection techniques, and so on.

Data Analysis Plan

Once data has been collected, it must be analyzed to draw meaningful conclusions. Outlining a data analysis plan helps ensure that all relevant aspects are considered during analysis.

Expected Results

You won’t be able to predict precisely how an experiment will play out. But you can still give some insight into expected outcomes based on available evidence. This will allow readers to evaluate the validity and practicality of the proposed research project.

Significance and Implications

Explaining the project’s significance gives readers a better idea of why it was conducted in the first place. Detail the potential implications of the findings. This will help others consider the study’s broader application beyond simply answering the research question.

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Research Proposal Sample Psychology Template

Introduction.

A. Background of the study : Provide an overview of the studied topic. This includes pertinent facts and figures demonstrating the need for further research. Be sure to include any relevant literature reviews and a concise explanation of the focus of your proposal. B. Rationale/Rationale for Study : Explain why this study should be conducted, including its value to the scientific community. Include evidence from previous studies or theories that may suggest your proposed project’s potential outcomes. C. Hypothesis/Objectives : State your hypothesis or research objectives clearly and succinctly. Describe how you plan to conduct the study and provide detailed information on collecting and analyzing data.

A. Participants : Detail the criteria used to identify and select participants for the study. Specify how many participants are needed and describe their demographic profiles (e.g., age range, gender, education level, etc.). B. Instruments : Identify the instruments (e.g., questionnaires, interviews, surveys) used to collect data and discuss how they were developed and validated. Cite any sources consulted when creating these instruments. C. Procedures : Outline all procedures to be followed during the study, including recruitment methods, data collection techniques, and analysis processes.

D. Data Analysis

Describe the statistical tests to analyze data and explain how results will be interpreted. Make sure to specify whether any ethical issues have been considered when conducting the study and discuss any implications for future research projects.

A. Summarize your study’s purpose, methodology, and findings and make recommendations for future action based on these results. B. Conclude by comprehensively reviewing what has been learned through your work. You can also thank anyone who assisted or supported you throughout the process.

A. Background : Describe the need for research in psychology and how it relates to your study. Give a brief overview of past studies or experiments conducted on the same topic and explain why further exploration is necessary. B. Purpose & Significance : Explain why you are undertaking this research project and what impact it could have on society. Elucidate what questions will be answered by carrying out the proposed study and which theories may be examined as part of the process. C. Objectives : Outline the specific objectives of the research, such as exploring certain phenomena or measuring particular variables. Specify any hypotheses that may be tested during the investigation. D. Study Design & Methodology : Summarize the methods chosen to achieve the project’s aims and justify their selection. Describe key components of the methodology used, including participant selection criteria, data collection techniques, and analysis plans.

A. Overview : Include relevant literature on your research question and discuss its implications. B. Strengths & Limitations : Analyze the strengths and limitations of existing work in the field. You can also identify gaps that need to be filled with further research. C. Synthesis & Recommendations : Present a literature review synthesis and make recommendations for future studies based on your findings.

Results & Analysis

A. Data Collection : Describe how data was collected from participants, such as surveys or interviews, along with details about sample size and demographics. B. Analysis Techniques : Clarify which statistical tools were used for analyzing results, such as linear regression or ANOVA tests. Explain how data was processed before being presented in charts or tables. C. Findings & Implications : Present the key findings from the analysis, commenting on both positive and negative outcomes where applicable. Discuss potential implications for psychological theory, practice, or policy in light of these results.

Discussion & Conclusions

Summarize the main points discussed throughout the paper and reiterate the purpose of the study and its results/implications.

Final Words

 So there you have it: the key elements of a psychology research proposal and some sample templates to get you started. Writing a winning proposal is not easy. But by taking a cue from this  research proposal sample psychology , you can present your project more effectively.

Key Elements of Psychology Research Proposals + Sample Templates

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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Must-Have Psychology Research Proposal Examples with Templates and Samples

Must-Have Psychology Research Proposal Examples with Templates and Samples

Siranjeev Santhanam

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Psychology aims to understand the intricacies of one of the most elusive aspects of our world –the human mind and psyche. Researchers seeking mastery of the science aim to comprehend vital human psychological phenomena, such as personality, social interaction, mental health, and more. To achieve these objectives, researchers devise complex and structured research projects. To communicate the intent and actions to be taken in this research, a research proposal is a prerequisite.

A research proposal is a document expands on the crucial elements of a planned research project. It distils the essence of the research down to digestible parts, including some major components such as the topic, methods, expected outcomes, etc.

Are you on the hunt for research budget templates to save yourself time and energy? Allow us to direct you to our other article discussing research budget templates. Click here and read it right away.

There are advantages to using a research proposal, when delving into this domain. First, it assists the researcher in outlining and breaking down their research idea, thereby focusing attention and energy on the pressing areas of the research. Second, it aids the researcher in testing their own existing knowledge of the subject and identifying any gaps in knowledge that may need to be addressed. Lastly, it gives researchers tools to convey their research plan to others, allowing for an environment that facilitates discussion, feedback and cooperation during the breadth of the research.

Writing a research proposal can be an intimidating task when one approaches it all alone. It is for this reason that content-rich templates exist.

Are you struggling to draft an impressive research grant proposal? Don’t sweat it. Click right here and read our other blog on ten research grant proposals now.

In this blog, we’re going to be looking templates meant to be used for research proposals. We will delve into intimate details of slides in this template, expanding on the substance of each slide.

Each of these templates is 100% customizable and editable; the content-ready nature offers you the structure you were searching for, and a starting point. The editability feature means you can tailor the presentation according to audience profile. 

Let’s begin a tour of the templates now!

Template 1 Project objectives of psychology research proposal

Use this creative and illustrative PPT Slide to flesh out the core aims of your research process. Fully use the substance of the slide to advance the goals of your psychological study, establishing its broad objectives. In addition to this, include some crucial details such as the project duration, project cost and project location for a cohesive and wholesome presentation experience. 

Project Objectives of Psychology Research Proposal

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Template 2 Determine methods for psychology research project

Use this presentation slide to expand on the processes guiding your research project, establishing clarity and cohesion among the team as you do. Using this template, the reviewers of the research proposal can easily identify and elaborate on the methods behind the research operation. The major research segments of study design, participants involved and essential data required are integrated into the slide. Get this presentation template now!

Determine Methods for Psychology Research Project

Template 3 Determine patient assessment for psychology research project

If you’re having a hard time establishing control over the procedures and imposing structure within your research parameters, this patient assessment slide could be a fine asset for you. The slide lays out a list of parameters with the sub-headings of forum completion, questionnaire, cognitive training and more, against a timeline of training, which you can customize.

Determine Patient Assessment for Psychology Research Project

Template 4 Timeframe for activities associated with psychology research project

Are you struggling to keep your schedule intact and get your research work in order? We have got the tools to assist you on this front. This slide comes with two broad headlines, project tasks, and duration in weeks, allowing you to impart a more stringent and organized work methodology. Advance the goals of your overarching research procedures, get more done and boost productivity with the incorporation of this well-made slide into your research framework.

Time Frame for Activities Associated to Psychology Research Project

Template 5 Determine budget for psychology research proposal

Implement a more methodical and organized budget with the help of data-driven principles that this presentation template outlines. This slide enables you to examine the internal mechanisms of the research project and match the price range for relevant activities, ensuring a tighter and more controlled budget in the process.

Determine Budget for Psychology Research Proposal

Template 6 Addressing brief description about our firm

Present yourself in a meticulous and professional manner to clients, stakeholders and customers, showcasing the best parts of your internal ethos. Enrich your image in the eyes of the public, using the vision, mission and the ‘About Us’ segments to highlight your internal values and curate the right appearance. Build stronger ties with partners, cultivate an aura of competence and confidence and achieve more with the download of this slide into your presentation library.

Addressing Brief Description About Our Firm

Template 7 Details about our extensive experienced team

Get this simple and easy-to-use slide to portray your internal teams to an audience in an optimized and appropriate manner. Address doubts about your experience and competency by delving into the core details of your team players, incorporating images, titles and descriptions to create an aura of sophistication in the process. 

Brief Details About Our Extensive Experienced Team

Template 8 Case study depicting our firm capability in delivering service 

Use this presentation slide to improve your corporate reach and enhance research protocols within the psychology domain. The subheadings included are About Firm, Description, Research Findings, and Results. Bolster credibility within the industry and attract investors for your research proposal with an integration of this slide into your presentation.

Case Study Depicting Our Firm Capability in Delivering Service

Template 9 Next steps for psychology research proposal

Bridge channels of communications with all parties during the course of the research with the use of this PPT Template. Use it to establish a more cohesive and productive environment for research and engage with all parties in a cogent manner. This slide provides information on the next steps that will happen in the proposal and how the parties concerned will move forward in the context of project progress.

Next Steps for Psychology Research Proposal

Template 10 Contact us

This slide is for you, if you’re seeking to highlight your contact details in a professional and elegant manner, allowing other parties to seek you out through whatever means them deem appropriate. Add your address, email and contact number with this slide, as well as any other details that you deem fit, facilitating smoother and more efficient business practices within your firm. 

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THE PERFECT TOOL FOR PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH

Psychology research proposals are a crucial ingredient within the field of psychology and science. They give researchers the tools to set research objectives. If you find writing a research proposal to be daunting or overwhelming, then download our ready-to-use research proposal presentation templates and impart a clear and effective structure to your proposal. Our templates can be your means of conserving time and energy, while also enforcing quality and consistency across the process.

Impress your colleagues and attain greater success in your field of research by perusing our other blog on survey research proposal. Click here and read it now.

FAQs on Psychology Research Proposals

What is a psychological research proposal.

A psychological research proposal is a document in the domain of academia that is presented to advance a research project relevant to the field of psychology. The purpose of the document is to showcase crucial research ideas and to create a summarized version of the data, with the inclusion of a title page, a literature review, methodology, references and other details.

How do you write a research proposal for psychology?

There are many methods and approaches one can adopt when writing a psychology research proposal. It is productive to break down the document, and include the following subsections:

Working title

This section needs to encapsulate the core principles and the areas of focus of your research. 

An abstract section

This section must contain a summary of the core methods and objectives and of the predicted outcomes of your research in a short and concise means. 

Introduction 

Here, you supply vital information on your research and establish your hypothesis. 

A method section 

In this area of the document, you must expand on the means through which you conduct the research, including the number and profile of participants, procedures, design, as well as any ethical issues that the research impinges upon

A result section 

Here, you must underline the predicted outcomes of your research and include any supposed limitations or challenges.

A discussion section 

In this final phase of the document, you lay out an interpretation of the results and include some directions for field work.

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17 Research Proposal Examples

research proposal example sections definition and purpose, explained below

A research proposal systematically and transparently outlines a proposed research project.

The purpose of a research proposal is to demonstrate a project’s viability and the researcher’s preparedness to conduct an academic study. It serves as a roadmap for the researcher.

The process holds value both externally (for accountability purposes and often as a requirement for a grant application) and intrinsic value (for helping the researcher to clarify the mechanics, purpose, and potential signficance of the study).

Key sections of a research proposal include: the title, abstract, introduction, literature review, research design and methods, timeline, budget, outcomes and implications, references, and appendix. Each is briefly explained below.

Watch my Guide: How to Write a Research Proposal

Get your Template for Writing your Research Proposal Here (With AI Prompts!)

Research Proposal Sample Structure

Title: The title should present a concise and descriptive statement that clearly conveys the core idea of the research projects. Make it as specific as possible. The reader should immediately be able to grasp the core idea of the intended research project. Often, the title is left too vague and does not help give an understanding of what exactly the study looks at.

Abstract: Abstracts are usually around 250-300 words and provide an overview of what is to follow – including the research problem , objectives, methods, expected outcomes, and significance of the study. Use it as a roadmap and ensure that, if the abstract is the only thing someone reads, they’ll get a good fly-by of what will be discussed in the peice.

Introduction: Introductions are all about contextualization. They often set the background information with a statement of the problem. At the end of the introduction, the reader should understand what the rationale for the study truly is. I like to see the research questions or hypotheses included in the introduction and I like to get a good understanding of what the significance of the research will be. It’s often easiest to write the introduction last

Literature Review: The literature review dives deep into the existing literature on the topic, demosntrating your thorough understanding of the existing literature including themes, strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in the literature. It serves both to demonstrate your knowledge of the field and, to demonstrate how the proposed study will fit alongside the literature on the topic. A good literature review concludes by clearly demonstrating how your research will contribute something new and innovative to the conversation in the literature.

Research Design and Methods: This section needs to clearly demonstrate how the data will be gathered and analyzed in a systematic and academically sound manner. Here, you need to demonstrate that the conclusions of your research will be both valid and reliable. Common points discussed in the research design and methods section include highlighting the research paradigm, methodologies, intended population or sample to be studied, data collection techniques, and data analysis procedures . Toward the end of this section, you are encouraged to also address ethical considerations and limitations of the research process , but also to explain why you chose your research design and how you are mitigating the identified risks and limitations.

Timeline: Provide an outline of the anticipated timeline for the study. Break it down into its various stages (including data collection, data analysis, and report writing). The goal of this section is firstly to establish a reasonable breakdown of steps for you to follow and secondly to demonstrate to the assessors that your project is practicable and feasible.

Budget: Estimate the costs associated with the research project and include evidence for your estimations. Typical costs include staffing costs, equipment, travel, and data collection tools. When applying for a scholarship, the budget should demonstrate that you are being responsible with your expensive and that your funding application is reasonable.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: A discussion of the anticipated findings or results of the research, as well as the potential contributions to the existing knowledge, theory, or practice in the field. This section should also address the potential impact of the research on relevant stakeholders and any broader implications for policy or practice.

References: A complete list of all the sources cited in the research proposal, formatted according to the required citation style. This demonstrates the researcher’s familiarity with the relevant literature and ensures proper attribution of ideas and information.

Appendices (if applicable): Any additional materials, such as questionnaires, interview guides, or consent forms, that provide further information or support for the research proposal. These materials should be included as appendices at the end of the document.

Research Proposal Examples

Research proposals often extend anywhere between 2,000 and 15,000 words in length. The following snippets are samples designed to briefly demonstrate what might be discussed in each section.

1. Education Studies Research Proposals

See some real sample pieces:

  • Assessment of the perceptions of teachers towards a new grading system
  • Does ICT use in secondary classrooms help or hinder student learning?
  • Digital technologies in focus project
  • Urban Middle School Teachers’ Experiences of the Implementation of
  • Restorative Justice Practices
  • Experiences of students of color in service learning

Consider this hypothetical education research proposal:

The Impact of Game-Based Learning on Student Engagement and Academic Performance in Middle School Mathematics

Abstract: The proposed study will explore multiplayer game-based learning techniques in middle school mathematics curricula and their effects on student engagement. The study aims to contribute to the current literature on game-based learning by examining the effects of multiplayer gaming in learning.

Introduction: Digital game-based learning has long been shunned within mathematics education for fears that it may distract students or lower the academic integrity of the classrooms. However, there is emerging evidence that digital games in math have emerging benefits not only for engagement but also academic skill development. Contributing to this discourse, this study seeks to explore the potential benefits of multiplayer digital game-based learning by examining its impact on middle school students’ engagement and academic performance in a mathematics class.

Literature Review: The literature review has identified gaps in the current knowledge, namely, while game-based learning has been extensively explored, the role of multiplayer games in supporting learning has not been studied.

Research Design and Methods: This study will employ a mixed-methods research design based upon action research in the classroom. A quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test control group design will first be used to compare the academic performance and engagement of middle school students exposed to game-based learning techniques with those in a control group receiving instruction without the aid of technology. Students will also be observed and interviewed in regard to the effect of communication and collaboration during gameplay on their learning.

Timeline: The study will take place across the second term of the school year with a pre-test taking place on the first day of the term and the post-test taking place on Wednesday in Week 10.

Budget: The key budgetary requirements will be the technologies required, including the subscription cost for the identified games and computers.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: It is expected that the findings will contribute to the current literature on game-based learning and inform educational practices, providing educators and policymakers with insights into how to better support student achievement in mathematics.

2. Psychology Research Proposals

See some real examples:

  • A situational analysis of shared leadership in a self-managing team
  • The effect of musical preference on running performance
  • Relationship between self-esteem and disordered eating amongst adolescent females

Consider this hypothetical psychology research proposal:

The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Stress Reduction in College Students

Abstract: This research proposal examines the impact of mindfulness-based interventions on stress reduction among college students, using a pre-test/post-test experimental design with both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods .

Introduction: College students face heightened stress levels during exam weeks. This can affect both mental health and test performance. This study explores the potential benefits of mindfulness-based interventions such as meditation as a way to mediate stress levels in the weeks leading up to exam time.

Literature Review: Existing research on mindfulness-based meditation has shown the ability for mindfulness to increase metacognition, decrease anxiety levels, and decrease stress. Existing literature has looked at workplace, high school and general college-level applications. This study will contribute to the corpus of literature by exploring the effects of mindfulness directly in the context of exam weeks.

Research Design and Methods: Participants ( n= 234 ) will be randomly assigned to either an experimental group, receiving 5 days per week of 10-minute mindfulness-based interventions, or a control group, receiving no intervention. Data will be collected through self-report questionnaires, measuring stress levels, semi-structured interviews exploring participants’ experiences, and students’ test scores.

Timeline: The study will begin three weeks before the students’ exam week and conclude after each student’s final exam. Data collection will occur at the beginning (pre-test of self-reported stress levels) and end (post-test) of the three weeks.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: The study aims to provide evidence supporting the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions in reducing stress among college students in the lead up to exams, with potential implications for mental health support and stress management programs on college campuses.

3. Sociology Research Proposals

  • Understanding emerging social movements: A case study of ‘Jersey in Transition’
  • The interaction of health, education and employment in Western China
  • Can we preserve lower-income affordable neighbourhoods in the face of rising costs?

Consider this hypothetical sociology research proposal:

The Impact of Social Media Usage on Interpersonal Relationships among Young Adults

Abstract: This research proposal investigates the effects of social media usage on interpersonal relationships among young adults, using a longitudinal mixed-methods approach with ongoing semi-structured interviews to collect qualitative data.

Introduction: Social media platforms have become a key medium for the development of interpersonal relationships, particularly for young adults. This study examines the potential positive and negative effects of social media usage on young adults’ relationships and development over time.

Literature Review: A preliminary review of relevant literature has demonstrated that social media usage is central to development of a personal identity and relationships with others with similar subcultural interests. However, it has also been accompanied by data on mental health deline and deteriorating off-screen relationships. The literature is to-date lacking important longitudinal data on these topics.

Research Design and Methods: Participants ( n = 454 ) will be young adults aged 18-24. Ongoing self-report surveys will assess participants’ social media usage, relationship satisfaction, and communication patterns. A subset of participants will be selected for longitudinal in-depth interviews starting at age 18 and continuing for 5 years.

Timeline: The study will be conducted over a period of five years, including recruitment, data collection, analysis, and report writing.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: This study aims to provide insights into the complex relationship between social media usage and interpersonal relationships among young adults, potentially informing social policies and mental health support related to social media use.

4. Nursing Research Proposals

  • Does Orthopaedic Pre-assessment clinic prepare the patient for admission to hospital?
  • Nurses’ perceptions and experiences of providing psychological care to burns patients
  • Registered psychiatric nurse’s practice with mentally ill parents and their children

Consider this hypothetical nursing research proposal:

The Influence of Nurse-Patient Communication on Patient Satisfaction and Health Outcomes following Emergency Cesarians

Abstract: This research will examines the impact of effective nurse-patient communication on patient satisfaction and health outcomes for women following c-sections, utilizing a mixed-methods approach with patient surveys and semi-structured interviews.

Introduction: It has long been known that effective communication between nurses and patients is crucial for quality care. However, additional complications arise following emergency c-sections due to the interaction between new mother’s changing roles and recovery from surgery.

Literature Review: A review of the literature demonstrates the importance of nurse-patient communication, its impact on patient satisfaction, and potential links to health outcomes. However, communication between nurses and new mothers is less examined, and the specific experiences of those who have given birth via emergency c-section are to date unexamined.

Research Design and Methods: Participants will be patients in a hospital setting who have recently had an emergency c-section. A self-report survey will assess their satisfaction with nurse-patient communication and perceived health outcomes. A subset of participants will be selected for in-depth interviews to explore their experiences and perceptions of the communication with their nurses.

Timeline: The study will be conducted over a period of six months, including rolling recruitment, data collection, analysis, and report writing within the hospital.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: This study aims to provide evidence for the significance of nurse-patient communication in supporting new mothers who have had an emergency c-section. Recommendations will be presented for supporting nurses and midwives in improving outcomes for new mothers who had complications during birth.

5. Social Work Research Proposals

  • Experiences of negotiating employment and caring responsibilities of fathers post-divorce
  • Exploring kinship care in the north region of British Columbia

Consider this hypothetical social work research proposal:

The Role of a Family-Centered Intervention in Preventing Homelessness Among At-Risk Youthin a working-class town in Northern England

Abstract: This research proposal investigates the effectiveness of a family-centered intervention provided by a local council area in preventing homelessness among at-risk youth. This case study will use a mixed-methods approach with program evaluation data and semi-structured interviews to collect quantitative and qualitative data .

Introduction: Homelessness among youth remains a significant social issue. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of family-centered interventions in addressing this problem and identify factors that contribute to successful prevention strategies.

Literature Review: A review of the literature has demonstrated several key factors contributing to youth homelessness including lack of parental support, lack of social support, and low levels of family involvement. It also demonstrates the important role of family-centered interventions in addressing this issue. Drawing on current evidence, this study explores the effectiveness of one such intervention in preventing homelessness among at-risk youth in a working-class town in Northern England.

Research Design and Methods: The study will evaluate a new family-centered intervention program targeting at-risk youth and their families. Quantitative data on program outcomes, including housing stability and family functioning, will be collected through program records and evaluation reports. Semi-structured interviews with program staff, participants, and relevant stakeholders will provide qualitative insights into the factors contributing to program success or failure.

Timeline: The study will be conducted over a period of six months, including recruitment, data collection, analysis, and report writing.

Budget: Expenses include access to program evaluation data, interview materials, data analysis software, and any related travel costs for in-person interviews.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: This study aims to provide evidence for the effectiveness of family-centered interventions in preventing youth homelessness, potentially informing the expansion of or necessary changes to social work practices in Northern England.

Research Proposal Template

Get your Detailed Template for Writing your Research Proposal Here (With AI Prompts!)

This is a template for a 2500-word research proposal. You may find it difficult to squeeze everything into this wordcount, but it’s a common wordcount for Honors and MA-level dissertations.

Your research proposal is where you really get going with your study. I’d strongly recommend working closely with your teacher in developing a research proposal that’s consistent with the requirements and culture of your institution, as in my experience it varies considerably. The above template is from my own courses that walk students through research proposals in a British School of Education.

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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8 thoughts on “17 Research Proposal Examples”

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Very excellent research proposals

' src=

very helpful

' src=

Very helpful

' src=

Dear Sir, I need some help to write an educational research proposal. Thank you.

' src=

Hi Levi, use the site search bar to ask a question and I’ll likely have a guide already written for your specific question. Thanks for reading!

' src=

very good research proposal

' src=

Thank you so much sir! ❤️

' src=

Very helpful 👌

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Examples of research proposals

How to write your research proposal, with examples of good proposals.

Research proposals

Your research proposal is a key part of your application. It tells us about the question you want to answer through your research. It is a chance for you to show your knowledge of the subject area and tell us about the methods you want to use.

We use your research proposal to match you with a supervisor or team of supervisors.

In your proposal, please tell us if you have an interest in the work of a specific academic at York St John. You can get in touch with this academic to discuss your proposal. You can also speak to one of our Research Leads. There is a list of our Research Leads on the Apply page.

When you write your proposal you need to:

  • Highlight how it is original or significant
  • Explain how it will develop or challenge current knowledge of your subject
  • Identify the importance of your research
  • Show why you are the right person to do this research
  • Research Proposal Example 1 (DOC, 49kB)
  • Research Proposal Example 2 (DOC, 0.9MB)
  • Research Proposal Example 3 (DOC, 55.5kB)
  • Research Proposal Example 4 (DOC, 49.5kB)

Subject specific guidance

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Research proposal

Your research proposal is your opportunity to show your prospective supervisor that you have interesting ideas, and that you have some idea of how to test them.

It should consist of about two sides of A4, including references and it should include:

  • clear empirical objective
  • some idea of the research methods you would use
  • some theoretical background

Firstly you need to lay out the theoretical background to your research question, and then provide a rationale for testing a hypothesis or two. You should briefly outline your methods, your sample, and the various techniques you hope to use. Finally give a brief statement of how the data will be analysed, and outline what various findings might lead to.

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Psychology Undergraduate Program

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  • Past & Current Theses

Current Approved Thesis Proposals

2023-24 Approved Thesis Proposals

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Lists of Past Theses

Class of 2023 /  2022 /  2021 /  2020  / 2019  /  2018 /  2017 /  2016 /  2015 /  2014 /  2013 /  2012 2011  /  2010  /  2009 /  2008 /  2007 /  2006  /  2005  /  2004  /  2003  /  2002 2001  (PDF)/  2000  (PDF) /  1999  (PDF) List of Prize-Winning Theses, 2001 - Present

Reading Sample Theses

As you prepare for your thesis, you might want to get a sense of what you can accomplish in your finished product. Reading past theses can show you the scope and nature of well-done undergraduate projects. Because theses in different areas of psychology often look quite different, it will help you to examine several in the same general area you plan to conduct your research in.

The Psychology Undergraduate Office has hard copies of several prize-winning theses from the past five years that you may sign out to see what the best undergraduate work looks like. Above, you can browse the titles of past undergraduate theses to give you an idea of the topics of theses students typically write.

Only hard copies of recent prize-winning theses are currently available.

Please note: Recent theses stored in the Social Relations Library (which recently closed) are unavailable. Inquirers needing a thesis that is not listed in HOLLIS should contact the authors of theses directly to attempt to obtain a copy.  

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Glenn Geher Ph.D.

How to Write a Psychology Research Proposal

Writing a brief research proposal cultivates all kinds of intellectual skills..

Posted May 3, 2018 | Reviewed by Matt Huston

Kelsey Newhook

NOTE: This post was co-authored with the SUNY New Paltz students in PSY 307 (1) of Spring 2018 (in particular, Zachary Ertrachter, Mariah Griffin, and Gianna Petrera).

A solid psychology education should lead to all kinds of outcomes related to analytical skills, statistical reasoning, and research design. One of the core skills that I try to cultivate in my students is the ability to write a clear and concise research proposal. Being able to write a solid research proposal demonstrates the following qualities:

* An understanding of some theoretical concepts in the behavioral sciences

* The ability to organize one's ideas in a coherent and efficient way

* The ability to get to the foundation of a set of research ideas

* The ability to write clearly and concisely in a scientific manner

* The ability to describe a hypothesis, proposed methodology, and proposed set of statistical analyses

* The ability to efficiently contextualize one's ideas in the existing scientific literature in some area

* The ability to think about how statistics can be used to examine some research-based predictions

* and probably more

Toward this end, I tend to give the following assignment to students in my undergraduate class in evolutionary psychology :

"Evolutionary psychology is a research-based enterprise. And learning about evolutionary psychology tends to lead people to develop hypotheses about human nature. For this assignment, you are to write a brief paper that does the following:

  • Articulates a hypothesis based on evolutionary reasoning
  • Describes methods that would test this hypothesis
  • Includes predicted outcomes and implications

Importantly, this paper is to be no more than two pages—printed on two sides of a single page. And it should be double-spaced.

This kind of assignment, forcing you to get your ideas reduced in a small space matches the kinds of assignments that professionals have all the time—this assignment will help prepare you for this kind of assignment in your future."

As an end-of-the-semester activity, to demonstrate the process of writing a research proposal, we actually worked together today (5/3/2018) as a class to develop and to fully create a research proposal. The document below is the result of this work. Nice job, evolutionary psychology students!

Research Proposal: A Proposed Study on the Mental Health Effects of Outdoor Experiences

Written by the SUNY New Paltz Spring 2018 Evolutionary Psychology Class

The evolutionary psychological perspective on human behavior suggests that instances of evolutionary mismatch may lead to adverse psychological functioning (e.g., Geher, 2014). Mismatch can exist in multiple domains, including nutritional offerings, exercise, community size, technology, transportation, and the nature of one’s physical environment—among many others.

One important way that modern environments are mismatched to ancestral environments pertains to the proportion of time that people spend in the out of doors. In fact, many evolutionists have made the case that humans have a natural love of the living world (see Wilson, 1984). Based on this reasoning, it may be the case that increased time spent in the outdoors leads to positive mental health outcomes. On the other hand, we might predict that increased time spent in human-made, non-natural environments might have adverse mental health outcomes.

Several mental health outcomes have been documented as important in all kinds of human psychological functioning. In particular, this research will focus on depressive tendencies, tendencies toward anxiety , and general psychological well-being. The basic prediction is that increased out-of-door experiences will correspond to less depression and anxiety and higher scores on a measure of well-being.

research proposal sample in psychology

This study will utilize a randomized between-groups design using 200 relatively fit American adults ranging in age from 18-34 selected from Southern California. Using a random-assignment process, participants will be assigned to either (a) the outdoor condition or (b) the indoor condition.

Participants in the two experimental conditions will all be included in a climbing camp for two weeks. The outdoor participants will be at an all-outside version of the camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Southern California in September. The indoor participants will be at an all-indoor version of the camp at an indoor climbing gym for the same two weeks. Importantly, these climbing experiences will be overseen by the same Climbing Camp with the same activities and personnel.

This methodology would allow for the isolation of the “out of doors” variable and will have participants across groups have the same experiences otherwise. Given the random assignment to experimental conditions, this methodology would allow for an examination of the specific effects of the outdoor experience.

To measure anxiety, Liebowitz’s (1987) measure of social anxiety will be used. To measure depressive tendencies, Kessler et al.’s (2003) measure will be used. We will create a 5-item Likert scale of subjective well-being that participants will also complete.

Anticipated Results

Across the three outcome measures, including social anxiety, depressive tendencies, and subjective well-being, it is predicted that the outdoor group will score as less anxious, less depressed, and as higher in subjective well-being. These results will be examined using three between-groups t-tests.

Potential Implications

Evolutionists are interested in the mismatches between modern conditions and ancestral conditions. Simply being in the out-of-doors or not is a classic mismatch that surrounds us all the time, often unbeknownst to ourselves. The experimental design here would allow us to zero in on the effects of the outdoor experience as it relates to mental health outcomes, controlling for individual differences between groups.

If the predicted pattern of results is obtained, then we would have strong evidence suggesting that people function best when they are provided with outdoor experiences. Such a pattern would support an evolutionary-mismatch approach to understanding the interface of people with their physical environments.

Here is a PDF link to the two-page paper. Enjoy!

Geher, G. (2014). Evolutionary Psychology 101. New York: Springer.

Kessler, R .C., Andrews, G., Colpe, L.J., Hiripi, E., Mroczek, D.K., Normand, S.L....Zaslavsky,A.M. (2002) Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and trends in non-specific psychological distress. Psychological Medicine, 32, 959-956.

Liebowitz, M. R . (1987). Social phobia. Modern Problems of Pharmacopsychiatry, 22, 141-173.

Wilson, Edward O. (1984). Biophilia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press

Glenn Geher Ph.D.

Glenn Geher, Ph.D. , is professor of psychology at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He is founding director of the campus’ Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) program.

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    Research Proposal Format Example Following is a general outline of the material that should be included in your project proposal. I. Title Page II. Introduction and Literature Review (Chapters 2 and 3) A. Identification of specific problem area (e.g., what is it, why it is important). B. Prevalence, scope of problem. C.

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  3. How to Write a Psychology Research Proposal

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    Example Research Proposal (note: the study describe here is not meant to be perfect, but rather to give you an idea of the level of detail that would be most useful for evaluating & commenting on your proposal). 1. Working Title. Workouts and working memory: Do brief periods of exercise increase working memory span? 2.

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    When applying to study for a PhD or MPhil in the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, you will typically need to send us an initial 500-word research proposal. The content and structure of your research proposal will be influenced by the nature of the project you wish to pursue.

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    The proposal is organized into five major sections. The names and order of these sections are as follows: abstract, introduction, method, analysis and references. It may also include appendices, tables, and figures. The title of each section (Abstract, Method, etc.) should be centered and bold, but not underlined.

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    Reference list While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organized and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take. Table of contents Research proposal purpose Research proposal examples Title page Introduction

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    Research Proposal Example 1 (DOC, 49kB) Research Proposal Example 2 (DOC, 0.9MB) Research Proposal Example 3 (DOC, 55.5kB) Research Proposal Example 4 (DOC, 49.5kB) Subject specific guidance Writing a Humanities PhD Proposal (PDF, 0.1MB) Writing a Creative Writing PhD Proposal (PDF, 0.1MB)

  20. Research proposal

    Research proposal. Your research proposal is your opportunity to show your prospective supervisor that you have interesting ideas, and that you have some idea of how to test them. It should consist of about two sides of A4, including references and it should include: clear empirical objective. some idea of the research methods you would use.

  21. PDF 1 Sample Application

    sample application - cla psychology undergraduate student research & creative projects sample contents 1. research & creative projects application - pp. 2-3 2. research proposal - pp. 4-38 3. recommendation letter - p. 39 4. award letter - p. 40 5. final report - pp. 41-42 6. final product - pp. 43-85

  22. Past & Current Theses

    Reading past theses can show you the scope and nature of well-done undergraduate projects. Because theses in different areas of psychology often look quite different, it will help you to examine several in the same general area you plan to conduct your research in. The Psychology Undergraduate Office has hard copies of several prize-winning ...

  23. How to Write a Psychology Research Proposal

    Being able to write a solid research proposal demonstrates the following qualities: * An understanding of some theoretical concepts in the behavioral sciences. * The ability to organize one's ...