Home » How To Write A Research Proposal – Step-by-Step [Template]
How To Write A Research Proposal – Step-by-Step [Template]
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How To Write a Research Proposal
Writing a Research proposal involves several steps to ensure a well-structured and comprehensive document. Here is an explanation of each step:
1. Title and Abstract
- Choose a concise and descriptive title that reflects the essence of your research.
- Write an abstract summarizing your research question, objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes. It should provide a brief overview of your proposal.
- Provide an introduction to your research topic, highlighting its significance and relevance.
- Clearly state the research problem or question you aim to address.
- Discuss the background and context of the study, including previous research in the field.
3. Research Objectives
- Outline the specific objectives or aims of your research. These objectives should be clear, achievable, and aligned with the research problem.
4. Literature Review:
- Conduct a comprehensive review of relevant literature and studies related to your research topic.
- Summarize key findings, identify gaps, and highlight how your research will contribute to the existing knowledge.
- Describe the research design and methodology you plan to employ to address your research objectives.
- Explain the data collection methods, instruments, and analysis techniques you will use.
- Justify why the chosen methods are appropriate and suitable for your research.
- Create a timeline or schedule that outlines the major milestones and activities of your research project.
- Break down the research process into smaller tasks and estimate the time required for each task.
- Identify the resources needed for your research, such as access to specific databases, equipment, or funding.
- Explain how you will acquire or utilize these resources to carry out your research effectively.
8. Ethical Considerations:
- Discuss any ethical issues that may arise during your research and explain how you plan to address them.
- If your research involves human subjects, explain how you will ensure their informed consent and privacy.
9. Expected Outcomes and Significance:
- Clearly state the expected outcomes or results of your research.
- Highlight the potential impact and significance of your research in advancing knowledge or addressing practical issues.
- Provide a list of all the references cited in your proposal, following a consistent citation style (e.g., APA, MLA).
- Include any additional supporting materials, such as survey questionnaires, interview guides, or data analysis plans.
Research Proposal Format
The format of a research proposal may vary depending on the specific requirements of the institution or funding agency. However, the following is a commonly used format for a research proposal:
1. Title Page:
- Include the title of your research proposal, your name, your affiliation or institution, and the date.
- Provide a brief summary of your research proposal, highlighting the research problem, objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes.
- Introduce the research topic and provide background information.
- State the research problem or question you aim to address.
- Explain the significance and relevance of the research.
- Review relevant literature and studies related to your research topic.
- Summarize key findings and identify gaps in the existing knowledge.
- Explain how your research will contribute to filling those gaps.
5. Research Objectives:
- Clearly state the specific objectives or aims of your research.
- Ensure that the objectives are clear, focused, and aligned with the research problem.
- Describe the research design and methodology you plan to use.
- Explain the data collection methods, instruments, and analysis techniques.
- Justify why the chosen methods are appropriate for your research.
- Explain how you will acquire or utilize these resources effectively.
9. Ethical Considerations:
- If applicable, explain how you will ensure informed consent and protect the privacy of research participants.
10. Expected Outcomes and Significance:
Research Proposal Template
Here’s a template for a research proposal:
2. Literature Review:
3. Research Objectives:
7. Ethical Considerations:
8. Expected Outcomes and Significance:
Research Proposal Sample
Title: The Impact of Online Education on Student Learning Outcomes: A Comparative Study
Online education has gained significant prominence in recent years, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This research proposal aims to investigate the impact of online education on student learning outcomes by comparing them with traditional face-to-face instruction. The study will explore various aspects of online education, such as instructional methods, student engagement, and academic performance, to provide insights into the effectiveness of online learning.
The main objectives of this research are as follows:
- To compare student learning outcomes between online and traditional face-to-face education.
- To examine the factors influencing student engagement in online learning environments.
- To assess the effectiveness of different instructional methods employed in online education.
- To identify challenges and opportunities associated with online education and suggest recommendations for improvement.
3.1 Study Design
This research will utilize a mixed-methods approach to gather both quantitative and qualitative data. The study will include the following components:
The research will involve undergraduate students from two universities, one offering online education and the other providing face-to-face instruction. A total of 500 students (250 from each university) will be selected randomly to participate in the study.
3.3 Data Collection
The research will employ the following data collection methods:
- Quantitative: Pre- and post-assessments will be conducted to measure students’ learning outcomes. Data on student demographics and academic performance will also be collected from university records.
- Qualitative: Focus group discussions and individual interviews will be conducted with students to gather their perceptions and experiences regarding online education.
3.4 Data Analysis
Quantitative data will be analyzed using statistical software, employing descriptive statistics, t-tests, and regression analysis. Qualitative data will be transcribed, coded, and analyzed thematically to identify recurring patterns and themes.
4. Ethical Considerations
The study will adhere to ethical guidelines, ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of participants. Informed consent will be obtained, and participants will have the right to withdraw from the study at any time.
5. Significance and Expected Outcomes
This research will contribute to the existing literature by providing empirical evidence on the impact of online education on student learning outcomes. The findings will help educational institutions and policymakers make informed decisions about incorporating online learning methods and improving the quality of online education. Moreover, the study will identify potential challenges and opportunities related to online education and offer recommendations for enhancing student engagement and overall learning outcomes.
The proposed research will be conducted over a period of 12 months, including data collection, analysis, and report writing.
The estimated budget for this research includes expenses related to data collection, software licenses, participant compensation, and research assistance. A detailed budget breakdown will be provided in the final research plan.
This research proposal aims to investigate the impact of online education on student learning outcomes through a comparative study with traditional face-to-face instruction. By exploring various dimensions of online education, this research will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness and challenges associated with online learning. The findings will contribute to the ongoing discourse on educational practices and help shape future strategies for maximizing student learning outcomes in online education settings.
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Writing a Scientific Research Project Proposal
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The importance of a well-written research proposal cannot be underestimated. Your research really is only as good as your proposal. A poorly written, or poorly conceived research proposal will doom even an otherwise worthy project. On the other hand, a well-written, high-quality proposal will increase your chances for success.
In this article, we’ll outline the basics of writing an effective scientific research proposal, including the differences between research proposals, grants and cover letters. We’ll also touch on common mistakes made when submitting research proposals, as well as a simple example or template that you can follow.
What is a scientific research proposal?
The main purpose of a scientific research proposal is to convince your audience that your project is worthwhile, and that you have the expertise and wherewithal to complete it. The elements of an effective research proposal mirror those of the research process itself, which we’ll outline below. Essentially, the research proposal should include enough information for the reader to determine if your proposed study is worth pursuing.
It is not an uncommon misunderstanding to think that a research proposal and a cover letter are the same things. However, they are different. The main difference between a research proposal vs cover letter content is distinct. Whereas the research proposal summarizes the proposal for future research, the cover letter connects you to the research, and how you are the right person to complete the proposed research.
There is also sometimes confusion around a research proposal vs grant application. Whereas a research proposal is a statement of intent, related to answering a research question, a grant application is a specific request for funding to complete the research proposed. Of course, there are elements of overlap between the two documents; it’s the purpose of the document that defines one or the other.
Scientific Research Proposal Format
Although there is no one way to write a scientific research proposal, there are specific guidelines. A lot depends on which journal you’re submitting your research proposal to, so you may need to follow their scientific research proposal template.
In general, however, there are fairly universal sections to every scientific research proposal. These include:
- Title: Make sure the title of your proposal is descriptive and concise. Make it catch and informative at the same time, avoiding dry phrases like, “An investigation…” Your title should pique the interest of the reader.
- Abstract: This is a brief (300-500 words) summary that includes the research question, your rationale for the study, and any applicable hypothesis. You should also include a brief description of your methodology, including procedures, samples, instruments, etc.
- Introduction: The opening paragraph of your research proposal is, perhaps, the most important. Here you want to introduce the research problem in a creative way, and demonstrate your understanding of the need for the research. You want the reader to think that your proposed research is current, important and relevant.
- Background: Include a brief history of the topic and link it to a contemporary context to show its relevance for today. Identify key researchers and institutions also looking at the problem
- Literature Review: This is the section that may take the longest amount of time to assemble. Here you want to synthesize prior research, and place your proposed research into the larger picture of what’s been studied in the past. You want to show your reader that your work is original, and adds to the current knowledge.
- Research Design and Methodology: This section should be very clearly and logically written and organized. You are letting your reader know that you know what you are going to do, and how. The reader should feel confident that you have the skills and knowledge needed to get the project done.
- Preliminary Implications: Here you’ll be outlining how you anticipate your research will extend current knowledge in your field. You might also want to discuss how your findings will impact future research needs.
- Conclusion: This section reinforces the significance and importance of your proposed research, and summarizes the entire proposal.
- References/Citations: Of course, you need to include a full and accurate list of any and all sources you used to write your research proposal.
Common Mistakes in Writing a Scientific Research Project Proposal
Remember, the best research proposal can be rejected if it’s not well written or is ill-conceived. The most common mistakes made include:
- Not providing the proper context for your research question or the problem
- Failing to reference landmark/key studies
- Losing focus of the research question or problem
- Not accurately presenting contributions by other researchers and institutions
- Incompletely developing a persuasive argument for the research that is being proposed
- Misplaced attention on minor points and/or not enough detail on major issues
- Sloppy, low-quality writing without effective logic and flow
- Incorrect or lapses in references and citations, and/or references not in proper format
- The proposal is too long – or too short
Scientific Research Proposal Example
There are countless examples that you can find for successful research proposals. In addition, you can also find examples of unsuccessful research proposals. Search for successful research proposals in your field, and even for your target journal, to get a good idea on what specifically your audience may be looking for.
While there’s no one example that will show you everything you need to know, looking at a few will give you a good idea of what you need to include in your own research proposal. Talk, also, to colleagues in your field, especially if you are a student or a new researcher. We can often learn from the mistakes of others. The more prepared and knowledgeable you are prior to writing your research proposal, the more likely you are to succeed.
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One of the top reasons scientific research proposals are rejected is due to poor logic and flow. Check out our Language Editing Services to ensure a great proposal , that’s clear and concise, and properly referenced. Check our video for more information, and get started today.
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Writing Research Proposals
The research proposal is your opportunity to show that you—and only you!—are the perfect person to take on your specific project. After reading your research proposal, readers should be confident that…
- You have thoughtfully crafted and designed this project;
- You have the necessary background to complete this project;
- You have the proper support system in place;
- You know exactly what you need to complete this project and how to do so; and
- With this funding in hand, you can be on your way to a meaningful research experience and a significant contribution to your field.
Research proposals typically include the following components:
- Why is your project important? How does it contribute to the field or to society? What do you hope to prove?
- This section includes the project design, specific methodology, your specific role and responsibilities, steps you will take to execute the project, etc. Here you will show the committee the way that you think by explaining both how you have conceived the project and how you intend to carry it out.
- Please be specific in the project dates/how much time you need to carry out the proposed project. The scope of the project should clearly match the timeframe in which you propose to complete it!
- Funding agencies like to know how their funding will be used. Including this information will demonstrate that you have thoughtfully designed the project and know of all of the anticipated expenses required to see it through to completion.
- It is important that you have a support system on hand when conducting research, especially as an undergraduate. There are often surprises and challenges when working on a long-term research project and the selection committee wants to be sure that you have the support system you need to both be successful in your project and also have a meaningful research experience.
- Some questions to consider are: How often do you intend to meet with your advisor(s)? (This may vary from project to project based on the needs of the student and the nature of the research.) What will your mode of communication be? Will you be attending (or even presenting at) lab meetings?
Don’t be afraid to also include relevant information about your background and advocate for yourself! Do you have skills developed in a different research experience (or leadership position, job, coursework, etc.) that you could apply to the project in question? Have you already learned about and experimented with a specific method of analysis in class and are now ready to apply it to a different situation? If you already have experience with this professor/lab, please be sure to include those details in your proposal! That will show the selection committee that you are ready to hit the ground running!
Lastly, be sure to know who your readers are so that you can tailor the field-specific language of your proposal accordingly. If the selection committee are specialists in your field, you can feel free to use the jargon of that field; but if your proposal will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary committee (this is common), you might take a bit longer explaining the state of the field, specific concepts, and certainly spelling out any acronyms.
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11.2 Steps in Developing a Research Proposal
- Identify the steps in developing a research proposal.
- Choose a topic and formulate a research question and working thesis.
- Develop a research proposal.
Writing a good research paper takes time, thought, and effort. Although this assignment is challenging, it is manageable. Focusing on one step at a time will help you develop a thoughtful, informative, well-supported research paper.
Your first step is to choose a topic and then to develop research questions, a working thesis, and a written research proposal. Set aside adequate time for this part of the process. Fully exploring ideas will help you build a solid foundation for your paper.
Choosing a Topic
When you choose a topic for a research paper, you are making a major commitment. Your choice will help determine whether you enjoy the lengthy process of research and writing—and whether your final paper fulfills the assignment requirements. If you choose your topic hastily, you may later find it difficult to work with your topic. By taking your time and choosing carefully, you can ensure that this assignment is not only challenging but also rewarding.
Writers understand the importance of choosing a topic that fulfills the assignment requirements and fits the assignment’s purpose and audience. (For more information about purpose and audience, see Chapter 6 “Writing Paragraphs: Separating Ideas and Shaping Content” .) Choosing a topic that interests you is also crucial. You instructor may provide a list of suggested topics or ask that you develop a topic on your own. In either case, try to identify topics that genuinely interest you.
After identifying potential topic ideas, you will need to evaluate your ideas and choose one topic to pursue. Will you be able to find enough information about the topic? Can you develop a paper about this topic that presents and supports your original ideas? Is the topic too broad or too narrow for the scope of the assignment? If so, can you modify it so it is more manageable? You will ask these questions during this preliminary phase of the research process.
Identifying Potential Topics
Sometimes, your instructor may provide a list of suggested topics. If so, you may benefit from identifying several possibilities before committing to one idea. It is important to know how to narrow down your ideas into a concise, manageable thesis. You may also use the list as a starting point to help you identify additional, related topics. Discussing your ideas with your instructor will help ensure that you choose a manageable topic that fits the requirements of the assignment.
In this chapter, you will follow a writer named Jorge, who is studying health care administration, as he prepares a research paper. You will also plan, research, and draft your own research paper.
Jorge was assigned to write a research paper on health and the media for an introductory course in health care. Although a general topic was selected for the students, Jorge had to decide which specific issues interested him. He brainstormed a list of possibilities.
If you are writing a research paper for a specialized course, look back through your notes and course activities. Identify reading assignments and class discussions that especially engaged you. Doing so can help you identify topics to pursue.
- Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) in the news
- Sexual education programs
- Hollywood and eating disorders
- Americans’ access to public health information
- Media portrayal of health care reform bill
- Depictions of drugs on television
- The effect of the Internet on mental health
- Popularized diets (such as low-carbohydrate diets)
- Fear of pandemics (bird flu, HINI, SARS)
- Electronic entertainment and obesity
- Advertisements for prescription drugs
- Public education and disease prevention
Set a timer for five minutes. Use brainstorming or idea mapping to create a list of topics you would be interested in researching for a paper about the influence of the Internet on social networking. Do you closely follow the media coverage of a particular website, such as Twitter? Would you like to learn more about a certain industry, such as online dating? Which social networking sites do you and your friends use? List as many ideas related to this topic as you can.
Narrowing Your Topic
Once you have a list of potential topics, you will need to choose one as the focus of your essay. You will also need to narrow your topic. Most writers find that the topics they listed during brainstorming or idea mapping are broad—too broad for the scope of the assignment. Working with an overly broad topic, such as sexual education programs or popularized diets, can be frustrating and overwhelming. Each topic has so many facets that it would be impossible to cover them all in a college research paper. However, more specific choices, such as the pros and cons of sexual education in kids’ television programs or the physical effects of the South Beach diet, are specific enough to write about without being too narrow to sustain an entire research paper.
A good research paper provides focused, in-depth information and analysis. If your topic is too broad, you will find it difficult to do more than skim the surface when you research it and write about it. Narrowing your focus is essential to making your topic manageable. To narrow your focus, explore your topic in writing, conduct preliminary research, and discuss both the topic and the research with others.
Exploring Your Topic in Writing
“How am I supposed to narrow my topic when I haven’t even begun researching yet?” In fact, you may already know more than you realize. Review your list and identify your top two or three topics. Set aside some time to explore each one through freewriting. (For more information about freewriting, see Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” .) Simply taking the time to focus on your topic may yield fresh angles.
Jorge knew that he was especially interested in the topic of diet fads, but he also knew that it was much too broad for his assignment. He used freewriting to explore his thoughts so he could narrow his topic. Read Jorge’s ideas.
Conducting Preliminary Research
Another way writers may focus a topic is to conduct preliminary research . Like freewriting, exploratory reading can help you identify interesting angles. Surfing the web and browsing through newspaper and magazine articles are good ways to start. Find out what people are saying about your topic on blogs and online discussion groups. Discussing your topic with others can also inspire you. Talk about your ideas with your classmates, your friends, or your instructor.
Jorge’s freewriting exercise helped him realize that the assigned topic of health and the media intersected with a few of his interests—diet, nutrition, and obesity. Preliminary online research and discussions with his classmates strengthened his impression that many people are confused or misled by media coverage of these subjects.
Jorge decided to focus his paper on a topic that had garnered a great deal of media attention—low-carbohydrate diets. He wanted to find out whether low-carbohydrate diets were as effective as their proponents claimed.
Writing at Work
At work, you may need to research a topic quickly to find general information. This information can be useful in understanding trends in a given industry or generating competition. For example, a company may research a competitor’s prices and use the information when pricing their own product. You may find it useful to skim a variety of reliable sources and take notes on your findings.
The reliability of online sources varies greatly. In this exploratory phase of your research, you do not need to evaluate sources as closely as you will later. However, use common sense as you refine your paper topic. If you read a fascinating blog comment that gives you a new idea for your paper, be sure to check out other, more reliable sources as well to make sure the idea is worth pursuing.
Review the list of topics you created in Note 11.18 “Exercise 1” and identify two or three topics you would like to explore further. For each of these topics, spend five to ten minutes writing about the topic without stopping. Then review your writing to identify possible areas of focus.
Set aside time to conduct preliminary research about your potential topics. Then choose a topic to pursue for your research paper.
Please share your topic list with a classmate. Select one or two topics on his or her list that you would like to learn more about and return it to him or her. Discuss why you found the topics interesting, and learn which of your topics your classmate selected and why.
A Plan for Research
Your freewriting and preliminary research have helped you choose a focused, manageable topic for your research paper. To work with your topic successfully, you will need to determine what exactly you want to learn about it—and later, what you want to say about it. Before you begin conducting in-depth research, you will further define your focus by developing a research question , a working thesis, and a research proposal.
Formulating a Research Question
In forming a research question, you are setting a goal for your research. Your main research question should be substantial enough to form the guiding principle of your paper—but focused enough to guide your research. A strong research question requires you not only to find information but also to put together different pieces of information, interpret and analyze them, and figure out what you think. As you consider potential research questions, ask yourself whether they would be too hard or too easy to answer.
To determine your research question, review the freewriting you completed earlier. Skim through books, articles, and websites and list the questions you have. (You may wish to use the 5WH strategy to help you formulate questions. See Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” for more information about 5WH questions.) Include simple, factual questions and more complex questions that would require analysis and interpretation. Determine your main question—the primary focus of your paper—and several subquestions that you will need to research to answer your main question.
Here are the research questions Jorge will use to focus his research. Notice that his main research question has no obvious, straightforward answer. Jorge will need to research his subquestions, which address narrower topics, to answer his main question.
Using the topic you selected in Note 11.24 “Exercise 2” , write your main research question and at least four to five subquestions. Check that your main research question is appropriately complex for your assignment.
Constructing a Working ThesIs
A working thesis concisely states a writer’s initial answer to the main research question. It does not merely state a fact or present a subjective opinion. Instead, it expresses a debatable idea or claim that you hope to prove through additional research. Your working thesis is called a working thesis for a reason—it is subject to change. As you learn more about your topic, you may change your thinking in light of your research findings. Let your working thesis serve as a guide to your research, but do not be afraid to modify it based on what you learn.
Jorge began his research with a strong point of view based on his preliminary writing and research. Read his working thesis statement, which presents the point he will argue. Notice how it states Jorge’s tentative answer to his research question.
One way to determine your working thesis is to consider how you would complete sentences such as I believe or My opinion is . However, keep in mind that academic writing generally does not use first-person pronouns. These statements are useful starting points, but formal research papers use an objective voice.
Write a working thesis statement that presents your preliminary answer to the research question you wrote in Note 11.27 “Exercise 3” . Check that your working thesis statement presents an idea or claim that could be supported or refuted by evidence from research.
Creating a Research Proposal
A research proposal is a brief document—no more than one typed page—that summarizes the preliminary work you have completed. Your purpose in writing it is to formalize your plan for research and present it to your instructor for feedback. In your research proposal, you will present your main research question, related subquestions, and working thesis. You will also briefly discuss the value of researching this topic and indicate how you plan to gather information.
When Jorge began drafting his research proposal, he realized that he had already created most of the pieces he needed. However, he knew he also had to explain how his research would be relevant to other future health care professionals. In addition, he wanted to form a general plan for doing the research and identifying potentially useful sources. Read Jorge’s research proposal.
Before you begin a new project at work, you may have to develop a project summary document that states the purpose of the project, explains why it would be a wise use of company resources, and briefly outlines the steps involved in completing the project. This type of document is similar to a research proposal. Both documents define and limit a project, explain its value, discuss how to proceed, and identify what resources you will use.
Writing Your Own Research Proposal
Now you may write your own research proposal, if you have not done so already. Follow the guidelines provided in this lesson.
- Developing a research proposal involves the following preliminary steps: identifying potential ideas, choosing ideas to explore further, choosing and narrowing a topic, formulating a research question, and developing a working thesis.
- A good topic for a research paper interests the writer and fulfills the requirements of the assignment.
- Defining and narrowing a topic helps writers conduct focused, in-depth research.
- Writers conduct preliminary research to identify possible topics and research questions and to develop a working thesis.
- A good research question interests readers, is neither too broad nor too narrow, and has no obvious answer.
- A good working thesis expresses a debatable idea or claim that can be supported with evidence from research.
- Writers create a research proposal to present their topic, main research question, subquestions, and working thesis to an instructor for approval or feedback.
Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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How to Write a Dissertation or Thesis Proposal
Published on September 21, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023.
When starting your thesis or dissertation process, one of the first requirements is a research proposal or a prospectus. It describes what or who you want to examine, delving into why, when, where, and how you will do so, stemming from your research question and a relevant topic .
The proposal or prospectus stage is crucial for the development of your research. It helps you choose a type of research to pursue, as well as whether to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.
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What should your proposal contain, dissertation question examples, what should your proposal look like, dissertation prospectus examples, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about proposals.
Prior to jumping into the research for your thesis or dissertation, you first need to develop your research proposal and have it approved by your supervisor. It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives .
Depending on your department’s requirements, there may be a defense component involved, where you present your research plan in prospectus format to your committee for their approval.
Your proposal should answer the following questions:
- Why is your research necessary?
- What is already known about your topic?
- Where and when will your research be conducted?
- Who should be studied?
- How can the research best be done?
Ultimately, your proposal should persuade your supervisor or committee that your proposed project is worth pursuing.
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Strong research kicks off with a solid research question , and dissertations are no exception to this.
Dissertation research questions should be:
- Focused on a single problem or issue
- Researchable using primary and/or secondary sources
- Feasible to answer within the timeframe and practical constraints
- Specific enough to answer thoroughly
- Complex enough to develop the answer over the space of a paper or thesis
- Relevant to your field of study and/or society more broadly
- What are the main factors enticing people under 30 in suburban areas to engage in the gig economy?
- Which techniques prove most effective for 1st-grade teachers at local elementary schools in engaging students with special needs?
- Which communication streams are the most effective for getting those aged 18-30 to the polls on Election Day?
An easy rule of thumb is that your proposal will usually resemble a (much) shorter version of your thesis or dissertation. While of course it won’t include the results section , discussion section , or conclusion , it serves as a “mini” version or roadmap for what you eventually seek to write.
Be sure to include:
- A succinct introduction to your topic and problem statement
- A brief literature review situating your topic within existing research
- A basic outline of the research methods you think will best answer your research question
- The perceived implications for future research
- A reference list in the citation style of your choice
The length of your proposal varies quite a bit depending on your discipline and type of work you’re conducting. While a thesis proposal is often only 3-7 pages long, a prospectus for your dissertation is usually much longer, with more detailed analysis. Dissertation proposals can be up to 25-30 pages in length.
Writing a proposal or prospectus can be a challenge, but we’ve compiled some examples for you to get your started.
- Example #1: “Geographic Representations of the Planet Mars, 1867-1907” by Maria Lane
- Example #2: “Individuals and the State in Late Bronze Age Greece: Messenian Perspectives on Mycenaean Society” by Dimitri Nakassis
- Example #3: “Manhood Up in the Air: A Study of Male Flight Attendants, Queerness, and Corporate Capitalism during the Cold War Era” by Phil Tiemeyer
If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
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The research methods you use depend on the type of data you need to answer your research question .
- If you want to measure something or test a hypothesis , use quantitative methods . If you want to explore ideas, thoughts and meanings, use qualitative methods .
- If you want to analyze a large amount of readily-available data, use secondary data. If you want data specific to your purposes with control over how it is generated, collect primary data.
- If you want to establish cause-and-effect relationships between variables , use experimental methods. If you want to understand the characteristics of a research subject, use descriptive methods.
A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.
Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:
- Your anticipated title
- Your abstract
- Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)
A well-planned research design helps ensure that your methods match your research aims, that you collect high-quality data, and that you use the right kind of analysis to answer your questions, utilizing credible sources . This allows you to draw valid , trustworthy conclusions.
The priorities of a research design can vary depending on the field, but you usually have to specify:
- Your research questions and/or hypotheses
- Your overall approach (e.g., qualitative or quantitative )
- The type of design you’re using (e.g., a survey , experiment , or case study )
- Your sampling methods or criteria for selecting subjects
- Your data collection methods (e.g., questionnaires , observations)
- Your data collection procedures (e.g., operationalization , timing and data management)
- Your data analysis methods (e.g., statistical tests or thematic analysis )
A dissertation prospectus or proposal describes what or who you plan to research for your dissertation. It delves into why, when, where, and how you will do your research, as well as helps you choose a type of research to pursue. You should also determine whether you plan to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.
It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives , ready to be approved by your supervisor or committee.
Note that some departments require a defense component, where you present your prospectus to your committee orally.
Formulating a main research question can be a difficult task. Overall, your question should contribute to solving the problem that you have defined in your problem statement .
However, it should also fulfill criteria in three main areas:
- Feasibility and specificity
- Relevance and originality
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How to write a research proposal
Advice and guidance on writing a proposal for a student research project.
Purpose of a Research Proposal
A research proposal should describe what you will investigate, why it is important to the discipline and how you will conduct your research.
Simply put, it is your plan for the research you intend to conduct. All research proposals are designed to persuade someone about how and why your intended project is worthwhile.
In your proposal you will need to explain and defend your choices. Always think about the exact reasons why you are making specific choices and why they are the best options available to you and your project.
Your research proposal aims should be centred on:
- Relevance - You want to convince the reader how and why your research is relevant and significant to your field and how it is original. This is typically done in parts of the introduction and the literature review.
- Context - You should demonstrate that you are familiar with the field, you understand the current state of research on the topic and your ideas have a strong academic basis (i.e., not simply based on your instincts or personal views). This will be the focus of your introduction and literature review.
- Approach - You need to make a case for your methodology, showing that you have carefully thought about the data, tools and procedures you will need to conduct the research. You need to explicitly defend all of your choices. This will be presented in the research design section.
- Feasibility - You need to demonstrate clearly that your project is both reasonable and feasible within the practical constraints of the course, timescales, institution or funding. You need to make sure you have the time and access to resources to complete the project in a reasonable period.
Our Research Writing workshop will look at some of the main writing challenges associated with writing a large-scale research project and look at strategies to manage your writing on a day-to-day basis. It will identify ways to plan, organise and map out the structure of your writing to allow you to develop an effective writing schedule and make continuous progress on your dissertation project.
The format of a research proposal varies between fields and levels of study but most proposals should contain at least these elements: introduction, literature review, research design and reference list.
Generally, research proposals can range from 500-1500 words or one to a few pages long. Typically, proposals for larger projects such as a PhD dissertation or funding requests, are longer and much more detailed.
Remember, the goal of your research proposal is to outline clearly and concisely exactly what your research will entail and accomplish, how it will do so and why it is important. If you are writing to a strictly enforced word count, a research proposal can be a great test of your ability to express yourself concisely!
The first part of your proposal is the initial pitch for your project, so make sure it succinctly explains what you want to do and why. In other words, this is where you answer the reader’s “so what?” It should typically include: introducing the topic , outlining your problem statement and research question(s) and giving background and context. Some important questions to shape your introduction include:
- Who has an interest in the topic (e.g. scientists, practitioners, policymakers, particular members of society)?
- How much is already known about the problem and why is it important?
- What is missing from current knowledge and why?
- What new insights will your research contribute?
- Why is this research worth doing?
If your proposal is very long, you might include separate sections with more detailed information on the background and context, problem statement, aims and objectives, and importance of the research.
It’s important to show that you’re familiar with the most important research on your topic. A strong literature review convinces the reader that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge or theory (i.e. how it relates to established research in the field).
Your literature review will also show that you’re not simply repeating what other people have already done or said. This is also where you explain why your research is necessary. You might want to consider some of the following prompts:
- Comparing and contrasting: what are the main theories, methods, debates and controversies?
- Being critical: what are the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches?
- Showing how your research fits in: how will you build on, challenge or synthesise the work of others?
- Filling a gap in the existing body of research: why is your idea innovative?
Research design and methods
Following the literature review, it is a good idea to restate your main objectives, bringing the focus back to your own project. The research design/ methodology section should describe the overall approach and practical steps you will take to answer your research questions. You also need to demonstrate the feasibility of the project keeping in mind time and other constraints.
You should definitely include:
- Qualitative vs quantitative research? Combination?
- Will you collect original data or work with primary/secondary sources?
- Is your research design descriptive, correlational or experimental? Something completely different?
- If you are undertaking your own study, when and where will you collect the data? How will you select subjects or sources? Ethics review? Exactly what or who will you study?
- What tools and procedures will you use (e.g. systematic reviews, surveys, interviews, observation, experiments, bibliographic data) to collect your data?
- What tools/methods will you use to analyse your data?
- Why are these the best methods to answer your research question(s)? This is where you should justify your choices.
- How much time will you need to collect the data?
- How will you gain access to participants and sources?
- Do you foresee any potential obstacles and if so, how will you address them?
Make sure you are not simply compiling a list of methods. Instead, aim to make an argument for why this is the most appropriate, valid and reliable way to approach answering your question. Remember you should always be defending your choices!
Implications and Contributions to Knowledge
To ensure you finish your proposal on a strong note, it is a good idea to explore and/or emphasise the potential implications of the research. This means: what do you intend to contribute to existing knowledge on the topic?
Although you cannot know the results of your research until you have actually done the work, you should be going into the project with a clear idea of how your work will contribute to your field. This section might even be considered the most critical to your research proposal’s argument because it expresses exactly why your research is necessary.
You should consider covering at least some of the following topics:
- Ways in which your work can challenge existing theories and assumptions in your field.
- How your work will create the foundation for future research and theory.
- The practical value your findings will provide to practitioners, educators and other academics in your field.
- The problems or issues your work can potentially help to resolve.
- Policies that could be impacted by your findings.
- How your findings can be implemented in academia or other settings and how this will improve or otherwise transform these settings.
This part is not about stating the specific results that you expect to obtain but rather, this is the section where you explicitly state how your findings will be valuable.
This section is where you want to wrap it all up in a nice pretty bow. It is just like the concluding paragraph that you would structure and craft for a typical essay. You should briefly summarise your research proposal and reinforce your research purpose.
Reference List or Bibliography
Your research proposal MUST include proper citations for every source you have used and full references. Please consult your departmental referencing styles to ensure you are citing and referencing in an appropriate way.
Common mistakes to avoid
Try and avoid these common pitfalls when you are writing your research proposal:
- Being too wordy: Remember formal does not mean flowery or pretentious. In fact, you should really aim to keep your writing as concise and accessible as possible. The more economically you can express your goals and ideas, the better.
- Failing to cite relevant information/sources: You are adding to the existing body of knowledge on the subject you are covering. Therefore, your research proposal should reference the main research pieces in your field (while referencing them correctly!) and connect your proposal to these works in some way. This does not mean just communicating the relevance of your work, it should explicitly demonstrate your familiarity with the field.
- Focusing too much on minor issues: Your research is most likely important for so many great reasons. However, they do not all need to be listed in your research proposal. Generally, including too many questions and issues in your research proposal can serve as a red flag and detract from your main purpose(s). This will in turn weaken your proposal. Only involve the main/key issues you plan to address.
- Failing to make a strong argument for your research: This is the simplest way to undermine your proposal. Your proposal is a piece of persuasive and critical writing . This means that, although you are presenting your proposal in an academic and hopefully objective manner, the goal is to get the reader to say ‘yes’ to your work.
- Not polishing your writing : If your proposal has spelling or grammatical errors, an inconsistent or inappropriate tone or even just awkward phrasing it can undermine your credibility. Check out some of these resources to help guide you in the right direction: Manchester Academic Phrasebank , Proofreading Guide , Essay Checklist and Grammar Guide . Remember to double and triple check your work.
Links and Resources
You might also need to include a schedule and/or a budget depending on your requirements. Some tools to help include:
- Manchester University Academic Phrasebank
- Leeds Beckett Assignment Calculator
Writing a literature review
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What (Exactly) Is A Research Proposal?
A simple explainer with examples + free template.
By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewed By: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | June 2020 (Updated April 2023)
Whether you’re nearing the end of your degree and your dissertation is on the horizon, or you’re planning to apply for a PhD program, chances are you’ll need to craft a convincing research proposal . If you’re on this page, you’re probably unsure exactly what the research proposal is all about. Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Overview: Research Proposal Basics
- What a research proposal is
- What a research proposal needs to cover
- How to structure your research proposal
- Example /sample proposals
- Proposal writing FAQs
- Key takeaways & additional resources
What is a research proposal?
Simply put, a research proposal is a structured, formal document that explains what you plan to research (your research topic), why it’s worth researching (your justification), and how you plan to investigate it (your methodology).
The purpose of the research proposal (its job, so to speak) is to convince your research supervisor, committee or university that your research is suitable (for the requirements of the degree program) and manageable (given the time and resource constraints you will face).
The most important word here is “ convince ” – in other words, your research proposal needs to sell your research idea (to whoever is going to approve it). If it doesn’t convince them (of its suitability and manageability), you’ll need to revise and resubmit . This will cost you valuable time, which will either delay the start of your research or eat into its time allowance (which is bad news).
What goes into a research proposal?
A good dissertation or thesis proposal needs to cover the “ what “, “ why ” and” how ” of the proposed study. Let’s look at each of these attributes in a little more detail:
Your proposal needs to clearly articulate your research topic . This needs to be specific and unambiguous . Your research topic should make it clear exactly what you plan to research and in what context. Here’s an example of a well-articulated research topic:
An investigation into the factors which impact female Generation Y consumer’s likelihood to promote a specific makeup brand to their peers: a British context
As you can see, this topic is extremely clear. From this one line we can see exactly:
- What’s being investigated – factors that make people promote or advocate for a brand of a specific makeup brand
- Who it involves – female Gen-Y consumers
- In what context – the United Kingdom
So, make sure that your research proposal provides a detailed explanation of your research topic . If possible, also briefly outline your research aims and objectives , and perhaps even your research questions (although in some cases you’ll only develop these at a later stage). Needless to say, don’t start writing your proposal until you have a clear topic in mind , or you’ll end up waffling and your research proposal will suffer as a result of this.
Need a helping hand?
As we touched on earlier, it’s not good enough to simply propose a research topic – you need to justify why your topic is original . In other words, what makes it unique ? What gap in the current literature does it fill? If it’s simply a rehash of the existing research, it’s probably not going to get approval – it needs to be fresh.
But, originality alone is not enough. Once you’ve ticked that box, you also need to justify why your proposed topic is important . In other words, what value will it add to the world if you achieve your research aims?
As an example, let’s look at the sample research topic we mentioned earlier (factors impacting brand advocacy). In this case, if the research could uncover relevant factors, these findings would be very useful to marketers in the cosmetics industry, and would, therefore, have commercial value . That is a clear justification for the research.
So, when you’re crafting your research proposal, remember that it’s not enough for a topic to simply be unique. It needs to be useful and value-creating – and you need to convey that value in your proposal. If you’re struggling to find a research topic that makes the cut, watch our video covering how to find a research topic .
It’s all good and well to have a great topic that’s original and valuable, but you’re not going to convince anyone to approve it without discussing the practicalities – in other words:
- How will you actually undertake your research (i.e., your methodology)?
- Is your research methodology appropriate given your research aims?
- Is your approach manageable given your constraints (time, money, etc.)?
While it’s generally not expected that you’ll have a fully fleshed-out methodology at the proposal stage, you’ll likely still need to provide a high-level overview of your research methodology . Here are some important questions you’ll need to address in your research proposal:
- Will you take a qualitative , quantitative or mixed -method approach?
- What sampling strategy will you adopt?
- How will you collect your data (e.g., interviews, surveys, etc)?
- How will you analyse your data (e.g., descriptive and inferential statistics , content analysis, discourse analysis, etc, .)?
- What potential limitations will your methodology carry?
So, be sure to give some thought to the practicalities of your research and have at least a basic methodological plan before you start writing up your proposal. If this all sounds rather intimidating, the video below provides a good introduction to research methodology and the key choices you’ll need to make.
How To Structure A Research Proposal
Now that we’ve covered the key points that need to be addressed in a proposal, you may be wondering, “ But how is a research proposal structured? “.
While the exact structure and format required for a research proposal differs from university to university, there are four “essential ingredients” that commonly make up the structure of a research proposal:
- A rich introduction and background to the proposed research
- An initial literature review covering the existing research
- An overview of the proposed research methodology
- A discussion regarding the practicalities (project plans, timelines, etc.)
In the video below, we unpack each of these four sections, step by step.
Research Proposal Examples/Samples
In the video below, we provide a detailed walkthrough of two successful research proposals (Master’s and PhD-level), as well as our popular free proposal template.
Proposal Writing FAQs
How long should a research proposal be.
This varies tremendously, depending on the university, the field of study (e.g., social sciences vs natural sciences), and the level of the degree (e.g. undergraduate, Masters or PhD) – so it’s always best to check with your university what their specific requirements are before you start planning your proposal.
As a rough guide, a formal research proposal at Masters-level often ranges between 2000-3000 words, while a PhD-level proposal can be far more detailed, ranging from 5000-8000 words. In some cases, a rough outline of the topic is all that’s needed, while in other cases, universities expect a very detailed proposal that essentially forms the first three chapters of the dissertation or thesis.
The takeaway – be sure to check with your institution before you start writing.
How do I choose a topic for my research proposal?
Finding a good research topic is a process that involves multiple steps. We cover the topic ideation process in this video post.
How do I write a literature review for my proposal?
While you typically won’t need a comprehensive literature review at the proposal stage, you still need to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the key literature and are able to synthesise it. We explain the literature review process here.
How do I create a timeline and budget for my proposal?
We explain how to craft a project plan/timeline and budget in Research Proposal Bootcamp .
Which referencing format should I use in my research proposal?
The expectations and requirements regarding formatting and referencing vary from institution to institution. Therefore, you’ll need to check this information with your university.
What common proposal writing mistakes do I need to look out for?
We’ve create a video post about some of the most common mistakes students make when writing a proposal – you can access that here . If you’re short on time, here’s a quick summary:
- The research topic is too broad (or just poorly articulated).
- The research aims, objectives and questions don’t align.
- The research topic is not well justified.
- The study has a weak theoretical foundation.
- The research design is not well articulated well enough.
- Poor writing and sloppy presentation.
- Poor project planning and risk management.
- Not following the university’s specific criteria.
Key Takeaways & Additional Resources
As you write up your research proposal, remember the all-important core purpose: to convince . Your research proposal needs to sell your study in terms of suitability and viability. So, focus on crafting a convincing narrative to ensure a strong proposal.
At the same time, pay close attention to your university’s requirements. While we’ve covered the essentials here, every institution has its own set of expectations and it’s essential that you follow these to maximise your chances of approval.
By the way, we’ve got plenty more resources to help you fast-track your research proposal. Here are some of our most popular resources to get you started:
- Proposal Writing 101 : A Introductory Webinar
- Research Proposal Bootcamp : The Ultimate Online Course
- Template : A basic template to help you craft your proposal
If you’re looking for 1-on-1 support with your research proposal, be sure to check out our private coaching service , where we hold your hand through the proposal development process (and the entire research journey), step by step.
Psst… there’s more!
This post is an extract from our bestselling Udemy Course, Research Proposal Bootcamp . If you want to work smart, you don't want to miss this .
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You’re most welcome. We don’t have any research proposals that we can share (the students own the intellectual property), but you might find our research proposal template useful: https://gradcoach.com/research-proposal-template/
Cheruiyot Moses Kipyegon
Thanks alot. It was an eye opener that came timely enough before my imminent proposal defense. Thanks, again
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The goal of a research proposal is twofold: to present and justify the need to study a research problem and to present the practical ways in which the proposed study should be conducted. The design elements and procedures for conducting research are governed by standards of the predominant discipline in which the problem resides, therefore, the guidelines for research proposals are more exacting and less formal than a general project proposal. Research proposals contain extensive literature reviews. They must provide persuasive evidence that a need exists for the proposed study. In addition to providing a rationale, a proposal describes detailed methodology for conducting the research consistent with requirements of the professional or academic field and a statement on anticipated outcomes and benefits derived from the study's completion.
Krathwohl, David R. How to Prepare a Dissertation Proposal: Suggestions for Students in Education and the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2005.
How to Approach Writing a Research Proposal
Your professor may assign the task of writing a research proposal for the following reasons:
- Develop your skills in thinking about and designing a comprehensive research study;
- Learn how to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature to determine that the research problem has not been adequately addressed or has been answered ineffectively and, in so doing, become better at locating pertinent scholarship related to your topic;
- Improve your general research and writing skills;
- Practice identifying the logical steps that must be taken to accomplish one's research goals;
- Critically review, examine, and consider the use of different methods for gathering and analyzing data related to the research problem; and,
- Nurture a sense of inquisitiveness within yourself and to help see yourself as an active participant in the process of conducting scholarly research.
A proposal should contain all the key elements involved in designing a completed research study, with sufficient information that allows readers to assess the validity and usefulness of your proposed study. The only elements missing from a research proposal are the findings of the study and your analysis of those findings. Finally, an effective proposal is judged on the quality of your writing and, therefore, it is important that your proposal is coherent, clear, and compelling.
Regardless of the research problem you are investigating and the methodology you choose, all research proposals must address the following questions:
- What do you plan to accomplish? Be clear and succinct in defining the research problem and what it is you are proposing to investigate.
- Why do you want to do the research? In addition to detailing your research design, you also must conduct a thorough review of the literature and provide convincing evidence that it is a topic worthy of in-depth study. A successful research proposal must answer the "So What?" question.
- How are you going to conduct the research? Be sure that what you propose is doable. If you're having difficulty formulating a research problem to propose investigating, go here for strategies in developing a problem to study.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Failure to be concise . A research proposal must be focused and not be "all over the map" or diverge into unrelated tangents without a clear sense of purpose.
- Failure to cite landmark works in your literature review . Proposals should be grounded in foundational research that lays a foundation for understanding the development and scope of the the topic and its relevance.
- Failure to delimit the contextual scope of your research [e.g., time, place, people, etc.]. As with any research paper, your proposed study must inform the reader how and in what ways the study will frame the problem.
- Failure to develop a coherent and persuasive argument for the proposed research . This is critical. In many workplace settings, the research proposal is a formal document intended to argue for why a study should be funded.
- Sloppy or imprecise writing, or poor grammar . Although a research proposal does not represent a completed research study, there is still an expectation that it is well-written and follows the style and rules of good academic writing.
- Too much detail on minor issues, but not enough detail on major issues . Your proposal should focus on only a few key research questions in order to support the argument that the research needs to be conducted. Minor issues, even if valid, can be mentioned but they should not dominate the overall narrative.
Procter, Margaret. The Academic Proposal. The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Sanford, Keith. Information for Students: Writing a Research Proposal. Baylor University; Wong, Paul T. P. How to Write a Research Proposal. International Network on Personal Meaning. Trinity Western University; Writing Academic Proposals: Conferences, Articles, and Books. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing a Research Proposal. University Library. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Structure and Writing Style
Beginning the Proposal Process
As with writing most college-level academic papers, research proposals are generally organized the same way throughout most social science disciplines. The text of proposals generally vary in length between ten and thirty-five pages, followed by the list of references. However, before you begin, read the assignment carefully and, if anything seems unclear, ask your professor whether there are any specific requirements for organizing and writing the proposal.
A good place to begin is to ask yourself a series of questions:
- What do I want to study?
- Why is the topic important?
- How is it significant within the subject areas covered in my class?
- What problems will it help solve?
- How does it build upon [and hopefully go beyond] research already conducted on the topic?
- What exactly should I plan to do, and can I get it done in the time available?
In general, a compelling research proposal should document your knowledge of the topic and demonstrate your enthusiasm for conducting the study. Approach it with the intention of leaving your readers feeling like, "Wow, that's an exciting idea and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!"
Most proposals should include the following sections:
In the real world of higher education, a research proposal is most often written by scholars seeking grant funding for a research project or it's the first step in getting approval to write a doctoral dissertation. Even if this is just a course assignment, treat your introduction as the initial pitch of an idea based on a thorough examination of the significance of a research problem. After reading the introduction, your readers should not only have an understanding of what you want to do, but they should also be able to gain a sense of your passion for the topic and to be excited about the study's possible outcomes. Note that most proposals do not include an abstract [summary] before the introduction.
Think about your introduction as a narrative written in two to four paragraphs that succinctly answers the following four questions :
- What is the central research problem?
- What is the topic of study related to that research problem?
- What methods should be used to analyze the research problem?
- Answer the "So What?" question by explaining why this is important research, what is its significance, and why should someone reading the proposal care about the outcomes of the proposed study?
II. Background and Significance
This is where you explain the scope and context of your proposal and describe in detail why it's important. It can be melded into your introduction or you can create a separate section to help with the organization and narrative flow of your proposal. Approach writing this section with the thought that you can’t assume your readers will know as much about the research problem as you do. Note that this section is not an essay going over everything you have learned about the topic; instead, you must choose what is most relevant in explaining the aims of your research.
To that end, while there are no prescribed rules for establishing the significance of your proposed study, you should attempt to address some or all of the following:
- State the research problem and give a more detailed explanation about the purpose of the study than what you stated in the introduction. This is particularly important if the problem is complex or multifaceted .
- Present the rationale of your proposed study and clearly indicate why it is worth doing; be sure to answer the "So What? question [i.e., why should anyone care?].
- Describe the major issues or problems examined by your research. This can be in the form of questions to be addressed. Be sure to note how your proposed study builds on previous assumptions about the research problem.
- Explain the methods you plan to use for conducting your research. Clearly identify the key sources you intend to use and explain how they will contribute to your analysis of the topic.
- Describe the boundaries of your proposed research in order to provide a clear focus. Where appropriate, state not only what you plan to study, but what aspects of the research problem will be excluded from the study.
- If necessary, provide definitions of key concepts, theories, or terms.
III. Literature Review
Connected to the background and significance of your study is a section of your proposal devoted to a more deliberate review and synthesis of prior studies related to the research problem under investigation . The purpose here is to place your project within the larger whole of what is currently being explored, while at the same time, demonstrating to your readers that your work is original and innovative. Think about what questions other researchers have asked, what methodological approaches they have used, and what is your understanding of their findings and, when stated, their recommendations. Also pay attention to any suggestions for further research.
Since a literature review is information dense, it is crucial that this section is intelligently structured to enable a reader to grasp the key arguments underpinning your proposed study in relation to the arguments put forth by other researchers. A good strategy is to break the literature into "conceptual categories" [themes] rather than systematically or chronologically describing groups of materials one at a time. Note that conceptual categories generally reveal themselves after you have read most of the pertinent literature on your topic so adding new categories is an on-going process of discovery as you review more studies. How do you know you've covered the key conceptual categories underlying the research literature? Generally, you can have confidence that all of the significant conceptual categories have been identified if you start to see repetition in the conclusions or recommendations that are being made.
NOTE: Do not shy away from challenging the conclusions made in prior research as a basis for supporting the need for your proposal. Assess what you believe is missing and state how previous research has failed to adequately examine the issue that your study addresses. Highlighting the problematic conclusions strengthens your proposal. For more information on writing literature reviews, GO HERE .
To help frame your proposal's review of prior research, consider the "five C’s" of writing a literature review:
- Cite , so as to keep the primary focus on the literature pertinent to your research problem.
- Compare the various arguments, theories, methodologies, and findings expressed in the literature: what do the authors agree on? Who applies similar approaches to analyzing the research problem?
- Contrast the various arguments, themes, methodologies, approaches, and controversies expressed in the literature: describe what are the major areas of disagreement, controversy, or debate among scholars?
- Critique the literature: Which arguments are more persuasive, and why? Which approaches, findings, and methodologies seem most reliable, valid, or appropriate, and why? Pay attention to the verbs you use to describe what an author says/does [e.g., asserts, demonstrates, argues, etc.].
- Connect the literature to your own area of research and investigation: how does your own work draw upon, depart from, synthesize, or add a new perspective to what has been said in the literature?
IV. Research Design and Methods
This section must be well-written and logically organized because you are not actually doing the research, yet, your reader must have confidence that you have a plan worth pursuing . The reader will never have a study outcome from which to evaluate whether your methodological choices were the correct ones. Thus, the objective here is to convince the reader that your overall research design and proposed methods of analysis will correctly address the problem and that the methods will provide the means to effectively interpret the potential results. Your design and methods should be unmistakably tied to the specific aims of your study.
Describe the overall research design by building upon and drawing examples from your review of the literature. Consider not only methods that other researchers have used, but methods of data gathering that have not been used but perhaps could be. Be specific about the methodological approaches you plan to undertake to obtain information, the techniques you would use to analyze the data, and the tests of external validity to which you commit yourself [i.e., the trustworthiness by which you can generalize from your study to other people, places, events, and/or periods of time].
When describing the methods you will use, be sure to cover the following:
- Specify the research process you will undertake and the way you will interpret the results obtained in relation to the research problem. Don't just describe what you intend to achieve from applying the methods you choose, but state how you will spend your time while applying these methods [e.g., coding text from interviews to find statements about the need to change school curriculum; running a regression to determine if there is a relationship between campaign advertising on social media sites and election outcomes in Europe ].
- Keep in mind that the methodology is not just a list of tasks; it is a deliberate argument as to why techniques for gathering information add up to the best way to investigate the research problem. This is an important point because the mere listing of tasks to be performed does not demonstrate that, collectively, they effectively address the research problem. Be sure you clearly explain this.
- Anticipate and acknowledge any potential barriers and pitfalls in carrying out your research design and explain how you plan to address them. No method applied to research in the social and behavioral sciences is perfect, so you need to describe where you believe challenges may exist in obtaining data or accessing information. It's always better to acknowledge this than to have it brought up by your professor!
V. Preliminary Suppositions and Implications
Just because you don't have to actually conduct the study and analyze the results, doesn't mean you can skip talking about the analytical process and potential implications . The purpose of this section is to argue how and in what ways you believe your research will refine, revise, or extend existing knowledge in the subject area under investigation. Depending on the aims and objectives of your study, describe how the anticipated results will impact future scholarly research, theory, practice, forms of interventions, or policy making. Note that such discussions may have either substantive [a potential new policy], theoretical [a potential new understanding], or methodological [a potential new way of analyzing] significance. When thinking about the potential implications of your study, ask the following questions:
- What might the results mean in regards to challenging the theoretical framework and underlying assumptions that support the study?
- What suggestions for subsequent research could arise from the potential outcomes of the study?
- What will the results mean to practitioners in the natural settings of their workplace, organization, or community?
- Will the results influence programs, methods, and/or forms of intervention?
- How might the results contribute to the solution of social, economic, or other types of problems?
- Will the results influence policy decisions?
- In what way do individuals or groups benefit should your study be pursued?
- What will be improved or changed as a result of the proposed research?
- How will the results of the study be implemented and what innovations or transformative insights could emerge from the process of implementation?
NOTE: This section should not delve into idle speculation, opinion, or be formulated on the basis of unclear evidence . The purpose is to reflect upon gaps or understudied areas of the current literature and describe how your proposed research contributes to a new understanding of the research problem should the study be implemented as designed.
ANOTHER NOTE : This section is also where you describe any potential limitations to your proposed study. While it is impossible to highlight all potential limitations because the study has yet to be conducted, you still must tell the reader where and in what form impediments may arise and how you plan to address them.
The conclusion reiterates the importance or significance of your proposal and provides a brief summary of the entire study . This section should be only one or two paragraphs long, emphasizing why the research problem is worth investigating, why your research study is unique, and how it should advance existing knowledge.
Someone reading this section should come away with an understanding of:
- Why the study should be done;
- The specific purpose of the study and the research questions it attempts to answer;
- The decision for why the research design and methods used where chosen over other options;
- The potential implications emerging from your proposed study of the research problem; and
- A sense of how your study fits within the broader scholarship about the research problem.
As with any scholarly research paper, you must cite the sources you used . In a standard research proposal, this section can take two forms, so consult with your professor about which one is preferred.
- References -- a list of only the sources you actually used in creating your proposal.
- Bibliography -- a list of everything you used in creating your proposal, along with additional citations to any key sources relevant to understanding the research problem.
In either case, this section should testify to the fact that you did enough preparatory work to ensure the project will complement and not just duplicate the efforts of other researchers. It demonstrates to the reader that you have a thorough understanding of prior research on the topic.
Most proposal formats have you start a new page and use the heading "References" or "Bibliography" centered at the top of the page. Cited works should always use a standard format that follows the writing style advised by the discipline of your course [e.g., education=APA; history=Chicago] or that is preferred by your professor. This section normally does not count towards the total page length of your research proposal.
Develop a Research Proposal: Writing the Proposal. Office of Library Information Services. Baltimore County Public Schools; Heath, M. Teresa Pereira and Caroline Tynan. “Crafting a Research Proposal.” The Marketing Review 10 (Summer 2010): 147-168; Jones, Mark. “Writing a Research Proposal.” In MasterClass in Geography Education: Transforming Teaching and Learning . Graham Butt, editor. (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), pp. 113-127; Juni, Muhamad Hanafiah. “Writing a Research Proposal.” International Journal of Public Health and Clinical Sciences 1 (September/October 2014): 229-240; Krathwohl, David R. How to Prepare a Dissertation Proposal: Suggestions for Students in Education and the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2005; Procter, Margaret. The Academic Proposal. The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Punch, Keith and Wayne McGowan. "Developing and Writing a Research Proposal." In From Postgraduate to Social Scientist: A Guide to Key Skills . Nigel Gilbert, ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2006), 59-81; Wong, Paul T. P. How to Write a Research Proposal. International Network on Personal Meaning. Trinity Western University; Writing Academic Proposals: Conferences , Articles, and Books. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing a Research Proposal. University Library. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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Research Paper Guide
Writing Research Proposal
Research Proposal Writing - A Step-by-Step Guide
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Published on: Dec 9, 2017
Last updated on: Oct 30, 2023
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If you're a student, you've probably heard about research proposals, but what are they exactly, and how do you write one without feeling overwhelmed?
A research proposal is a plan of your research paper that shows what you want to study, how you'll do it, and why it's important.
But don't worry if it sounds a bit complicated at first; we're here to make it clear and straightforward.
In this guide, we'll break down research proposals into easy-to-understand steps.
We'll explain how to structure your proposal, share examples, and tell you about common mistakes to avoid.
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What is a Research Proposal?
According to the research proposal definition, it is like a roadmap. It's a document that explains what you want to study, why it's important, and how you plan to do it. Think of it as your guidebook for conducting research.
How Long is a Research Proposal?
A research proposal typically ranges from 1,500 to 3,000 words in length for Bachelor’s or Master’s. However, the proposals for PhD dissertations are long and detailed due to their complexity when developing research strategies.
The precise length can vary depending on the academic institution, funding agency, or specific guidelines provided for your research proposal.
Why Research Proposal is Important?
A research proposal has different purposes, including:
- Clarifying Intentions: It forces you to think about what you want to investigate and why it matters.
- Seeking Approval: In many academic settings, you need to get approval for your research. A well-written proposal is your ticket to gaining that approval.
- Funding Your Research: If you need financial support for your research, a proposal is often required. It helps funding organizations understand the value of your work.
Key Questions to Address in Your Research Proposal
When crafting a research proposal, it's essential to address several key questions to ensure that your proposal is comprehensive and well-structured.
Here are the fundamental questions to consider:
- What is Your Research Topic or Problem?
This question asks you to define the central issue or question that your research intends to explore. It's the starting point for your proposal and sets the stage for what you aim to investigate.
- Why is Your Research Important?
Here, you explain the significance of your research. You need to clarify why your study is relevant and what impact it may have on your field of study or on society as a whole.
- What is Your Research Objective or Hypothesis?
You should state what you intend to achieve or discover through your research. If applicable, you can also provide a hypothesis, which is a tentative answer to your research question.
- What Previous Research Exists?
This involves conducting a brief literature review to identify existing research related to your topic. You should outline what has been studied before and highlight any gaps or unanswered questions that your research addresses.
- What is Your Research Methodology?
Here, you describe the methods and techniques you plan to use in your research. You need to be specific about how you will collect and analyze data, which is crucial for evaluating the validity of your study.
- What Are the Expected Outcomes?
This question asks you to outline the expected results or findings of your research. What do you hope to discover, prove, or contribute to your field? It provides a preview of the potential impact of your study.
Research Proposal Format
The components of a research proposal included in the format are explained in detail below.
In a research proposal, the title page is the very first section, serving as the cover page for your document.
It typically includes the following essential elements:
- Main Title of the Research Work
- Student's Name
- Supervisor's Name
- Institution and Department
Abstract and Table of Contents
In a research proposal, the abstract is a concise summary of your research proposal, providing a snapshot of its key elements. Keep the abstract brief, typically within 250 words, and include:
- A concise statement of your research topic and its significance.
- A brief overview of your research objectives or questions.
- A summary of your research methodology.
- The expected outcomes or contributions of your study.
The table of contents is a structured outline of your research proposal's contents. It acts as a roadmap, aiding readers in navigating the document efficiently. A well-organized table of contents typically includes:
- Section headings and subheadings.
- Page numbers for each section.
- A clear hierarchy that reflects the document's structure.
A well-structured research proposal outline is a way to organize your ideas before writing a research paper. It will decide what headings and subheadings the research paper will have.
Research Paper Introduction
The introduction of your research paper serves as a concise and compelling entry point for your readers. It should include:
- Introduction of the Topic: Briefly introduce the subject matter and what readers can expect from your paper.
- Main Research Problem: Clearly state the central research question or problem you are addressing.
- Background of the Issue: Provide context by explaining the importance of the problem and any gaps in existing research.
- Methodology: Mention the research methods you've employed.
- Significance: Explain why your research matters and its potential impact.
- Future Plan: Conclude with an overview of your paper's structure and research objectives.
Background and Significance
This section provides essential context and rationale for your research:
- State the Problem: Clearly define the research problem and its complexities.
- Rationale of the Study: Explain why your research is important and its relevance within your field.
- Critical Issues Addressed: Specify the key issues your research aims to resolve.
- Research Methodology: Briefly describe your chosen methods and data sources.
- Scope Clarification: Define the research boundaries to outline what you will and won't cover.
- Key Term Definitions: Provide concise explanations of any specialized terms or concepts.
A comprehensive literature review in a research proposal is important. It is a thorough analysis of literature sources that are relevant to the research topic. A strong review aims to convince readers about the valuable contribution to the existing knowledge by giving information.
Key Elements of a Literature Review
Here are the 5 C’s that can make up a literature review.
- Cite: Reference relevant sources to acknowledge previous research.
- Contrast: Highlight differences among theories or findings.
- Compare : Identify similarities and shared insights.
- Connect: Explain how your research builds upon prior work.
- Critique: Assess the strengths and weaknesses of previous studies.
By using them, compare and contrast the main theories and methods. Also, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches while writing a literature review.
Research Design and Methods
In this section, you outline the overall strategy and research proposal steps you'll take to address your research questions.
The key is not just listing methods but demonstrating why your chosen method is the most suitable approach to answer your questions.
The below table will help you identify the methodology in a research proposal.
A hypothesis is a critical initial step in defining the purpose of your research. It not only provides a clear objective for researchers but also helps readers understand the essence of your study.
Well-crafted hypotheses streamline the research process, making it more efficient.
Key Questions to Consider When Formulating a Hypothesis
- What Will be the Research Outcome Concerning the Theoretical Framework and Assumptions?
Define the expected outcome of your study in relation to the theoretical framework and underlying assumptions you've established.
- What Suggestions Could Arise from Research Outcomes?
Anticipate potential recommendations or suggestions that might emerge from the results of your research.
- How Will Results Contribute to the Natural Workplace Setting?
Consider how the research outcomes might impact or enhance the natural dynamics of a workplace or relevant setting.
- Will the Outcomes Contribute to Social and Economic Issues?
Assess whether your research results have implications for broader social or economic problems.
- How Will the Outcomes Influence Policy Decisions?
Explore how your research findings could inform or influence policy decisions at various levels.
- How Can Research Benefits Extend to Individuals or Groups?
Identify the potential benefits that your research might offer to individuals or specific groups within society.
- What Aspects Can Be Improved as a Result of Your Study?
Determine the areas or practices that could be enhanced based on the findings of your research.
- How Will Study Outcomes be Implemented in the Future?
Consider the practical application and implementation of your research outcomes in the future.
The primary purpose of the discussion is to analyze the significance of your findings in the context of the research problem.
Additionally, this section explores new and promising insights that can guide future research studies.
- Highlight Frameworks: Emphasize the frameworks that guided your study.
- Examine Significance: Analyze the importance of your findings in addressing the research problem.
- Connect to Introduction: Maintain alignment with your research's purpose and introduction.
- Present Fresh Insights: Share new insights that emerged from your study.
- Propose Future Research: Suggest directions for future studies based on your research.
Research Paper Conclusion
The conclusion serves as a concise summary of your entire research study, highlighting its significance and importance.
It should be a brief section, typically comprising one to two paragraphs, focusing on:
- Purpose of the Research Study: Clarify why your research study was conducted and what overarching questions it sought to address.
- Advancement of Existing Knowledge: Emphasize how your research contributes to the current body of knowledge in your field or area of study.
- Relation to Theory or Hypothesis: Discuss how your research aligns with the theoretical framework or hypothesis you proposed earlier in the paper.
- Benefits to Scholars: Consider how your research findings might benefit other scholars, researchers, or practitioners in your field.
- Prospects for Future Implications: Conclude by highlighting the potential implications of your study for future research or practice.
A research proposal formatting must include proper citations for every source that you have used. Similarly, the referencing list should also contain full publication details.
A standard paper proposal has two kinds of citations.
- References - Only list the sources you have used in the proposal.
- Bibliography - List sources used along with other additional citations that you have studied to conduct the research.
Always choose the specific citation formats required by the professors. It includes APA, MLA, and Chicago.
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Research Proposal Examples
Have a look at the sample research proposal for a better understanding.
APA Research Proposal
Student Research Proposal Example
Research Proposal Sample
Research Proposal Template
Research Proposal on Covid 19
Research Proposal Topics
Here are some considerations and examples to inspire your research proposal topics:
- The Impact of Technology on Remote Work Productivity
- Gender Disparities in STEM Education
- Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Urban Areas
- Mental Health and Social Media Use
- The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
- Cultural Heritage Preservation in the Digital Age
- The Economics of Sustainable Agriculture
- Online Learning and Student Engagement
- Psychological Resilience in the Face of Natural Disasters
- Exploring Ethical Implications of Genetic Engineering
Mistake to Avoid when Writing a Research Proposal
When crafting your research proposal, it's crucial to steer clear of common pitfalls that can hinder the quality and effectiveness of your proposal. Here are some key mistakes to avoid:
- Lack of Clarity: Failing to clearly articulate your research questions, objectives, and methodology can lead to confusion among readers.
- Insufficient Literature Review: Neglecting a comprehensive review of existing research can result in a lack of context and relevance for your study.
- Overly Ambitious Scope: Trying to tackle too broad a topic within the constraints of a research proposal can lead to unrealistic expectations and an unfocused study.
- Weak or Absent Justification: Failing to explain the significance and relevance of your research can undermine its credibility.
- Inadequate Methodology: A poorly defined research methodology can raise doubts about the validity and reliability of your study.
- Ignoring Ethical Considerations: Neglecting ethical considerations can have serious consequences for your research and its approval.
- Neglecting Proofreading and Editing: Typos, grammatical errors, and formatting issues can detract from the professionalism of your proposal.
In conclusion, crafting a well-structured and compelling research proposal is an essential step in your academic journey. We've provided you with a complete format guide and useful templates to help you get started. Remember, a strong research proposal is the foundation for a successful research project.
If you find yourself needing further assistance in your academic pursuits don't hesitate to reach out to us. Our best paper writing service is here to assist you every step of the way, ensuring your academic success.
So, contact our research proposal writing service and make your academic dreams a reality!
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Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.
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- Indian J Anaesth
- v.60(9); 2016 Sep
How to write a research proposal?
Department of Anaesthesiology, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Devika Rani Duggappa
Writing the proposal of a research work in the present era is a challenging task due to the constantly evolving trends in the qualitative research design and the need to incorporate medical advances into the methodology. The proposal is a detailed plan or ‘blueprint’ for the intended study, and once it is completed, the research project should flow smoothly. Even today, many of the proposals at post-graduate evaluation committees and application proposals for funding are substandard. A search was conducted with keywords such as research proposal, writing proposal and qualitative using search engines, namely, PubMed and Google Scholar, and an attempt has been made to provide broad guidelines for writing a scientifically appropriate research proposal.
A clean, well-thought-out proposal forms the backbone for the research itself and hence becomes the most important step in the process of conduct of research.[ 1 ] The objective of preparing a research proposal would be to obtain approvals from various committees including ethics committee [details under ‘Research methodology II’ section [ Table 1 ] in this issue of IJA) and to request for grants. However, there are very few universally accepted guidelines for preparation of a good quality research proposal. A search was performed with keywords such as research proposal, funding, qualitative and writing proposals using search engines, namely, PubMed, Google Scholar and Scopus.
Five ‘C’s while writing a literature review
BASIC REQUIREMENTS OF A RESEARCH PROPOSAL
A proposal needs to show how your work fits into what is already known about the topic and what new paradigm will it add to the literature, while specifying the question that the research will answer, establishing its significance, and the implications of the answer.[ 2 ] The proposal must be capable of convincing the evaluation committee about the credibility, achievability, practicality and reproducibility (repeatability) of the research design.[ 3 ] Four categories of audience with different expectations may be present in the evaluation committees, namely academic colleagues, policy-makers, practitioners and lay audiences who evaluate the research proposal. Tips for preparation of a good research proposal include; ‘be practical, be persuasive, make broader links, aim for crystal clarity and plan before you write’. A researcher must be balanced, with a realistic understanding of what can be achieved. Being persuasive implies that researcher must be able to convince other researchers, research funding agencies, educational institutions and supervisors that the research is worth getting approval. The aim of the researcher should be clearly stated in simple language that describes the research in a way that non-specialists can comprehend, without use of jargons. The proposal must not only demonstrate that it is based on an intelligent understanding of the existing literature but also show that the writer has thought about the time needed to conduct each stage of the research.[ 4 , 5 ]
CONTENTS OF A RESEARCH PROPOSAL
The contents or formats of a research proposal vary depending on the requirements of evaluation committee and are generally provided by the evaluation committee or the institution.
In general, a cover page should contain the (i) title of the proposal, (ii) name and affiliation of the researcher (principal investigator) and co-investigators, (iii) institutional affiliation (degree of the investigator and the name of institution where the study will be performed), details of contact such as phone numbers, E-mail id's and lines for signatures of investigators.
The main contents of the proposal may be presented under the following headings: (i) introduction, (ii) review of literature, (iii) aims and objectives, (iv) research design and methods, (v) ethical considerations, (vi) budget, (vii) appendices and (viii) citations.[ 4 ]
It is also sometimes termed as ‘need for study’ or ‘abstract’. Introduction is an initial pitch of an idea; it sets the scene and puts the research in context.[ 6 ] The introduction should be designed to create interest in the reader about the topic and proposal. It should convey to the reader, what you want to do, what necessitates the study and your passion for the topic.[ 7 ] Some questions that can be used to assess the significance of the study are: (i) Who has an interest in the domain of inquiry? (ii) What do we already know about the topic? (iii) What has not been answered adequately in previous research and practice? (iv) How will this research add to knowledge, practice and policy in this area? Some of the evaluation committees, expect the last two questions, elaborated under a separate heading of ‘background and significance’.[ 8 ] Introduction should also contain the hypothesis behind the research design. If hypothesis cannot be constructed, the line of inquiry to be used in the research must be indicated.
Review of literature
It refers to all sources of scientific evidence pertaining to the topic in interest. In the present era of digitalisation and easy accessibility, there is an enormous amount of relevant data available, making it a challenge for the researcher to include all of it in his/her review.[ 9 ] It is crucial to structure this section intelligently so that the reader can grasp the argument related to your study in relation to that of other researchers, while still demonstrating to your readers that your work is original and innovative. It is preferable to summarise each article in a paragraph, highlighting the details pertinent to the topic of interest. The progression of review can move from the more general to the more focused studies, or a historical progression can be used to develop the story, without making it exhaustive.[ 1 ] Literature should include supporting data, disagreements and controversies. Five ‘C's may be kept in mind while writing a literature review[ 10 ] [ Table 1 ].
Aims and objectives
The research purpose (or goal or aim) gives a broad indication of what the researcher wishes to achieve in the research. The hypothesis to be tested can be the aim of the study. The objectives related to parameters or tools used to achieve the aim are generally categorised as primary and secondary objectives.
Research design and method
The objective here is to convince the reader that the overall research design and methods of analysis will correctly address the research problem and to impress upon the reader that the methodology/sources chosen are appropriate for the specific topic. It should be unmistakably tied to the specific aims of your study.
In this section, the methods and sources used to conduct the research must be discussed, including specific references to sites, databases, key texts or authors that will be indispensable to the project. There should be specific mention about the methodological approaches to be undertaken to gather information, about the techniques to be used to analyse it and about the tests of external validity to which researcher is committed.[ 10 , 11 ]
The components of this section include the following:[ 4 ]
Population and sample
Population refers to all the elements (individuals, objects or substances) that meet certain criteria for inclusion in a given universe,[ 12 ] and sample refers to subset of population which meets the inclusion criteria for enrolment into the study. The inclusion and exclusion criteria should be clearly defined. The details pertaining to sample size are discussed in the article “Sample size calculation: Basic priniciples” published in this issue of IJA.
The researcher is expected to give a detailed account of the methodology adopted for collection of data, which include the time frame required for the research. The methodology should be tested for its validity and ensure that, in pursuit of achieving the results, the participant's life is not jeopardised. The author should anticipate and acknowledge any potential barrier and pitfall in carrying out the research design and explain plans to address them, thereby avoiding lacunae due to incomplete data collection. If the researcher is planning to acquire data through interviews or questionnaires, copy of the questions used for the same should be attached as an annexure with the proposal.
Rigor (soundness of the research)
This addresses the strength of the research with respect to its neutrality, consistency and applicability. Rigor must be reflected throughout the proposal.
It refers to the robustness of a research method against bias. The author should convey the measures taken to avoid bias, viz. blinding and randomisation, in an elaborate way, thus ensuring that the result obtained from the adopted method is purely as chance and not influenced by other confounding variables.
Consistency considers whether the findings will be consistent if the inquiry was replicated with the same participants and in a similar context. This can be achieved by adopting standard and universally accepted methods and scales.
Applicability refers to the degree to which the findings can be applied to different contexts and groups.[ 13 ]
This section deals with the reduction and reconstruction of data and its analysis including sample size calculation. The researcher is expected to explain the steps adopted for coding and sorting the data obtained. Various tests to be used to analyse the data for its robustness, significance should be clearly stated. Author should also mention the names of statistician and suitable software which will be used in due course of data analysis and their contribution to data analysis and sample calculation.[ 9 ]
Medical research introduces special moral and ethical problems that are not usually encountered by other researchers during data collection, and hence, the researcher should take special care in ensuring that ethical standards are met. Ethical considerations refer to the protection of the participants' rights (right to self-determination, right to privacy, right to autonomy and confidentiality, right to fair treatment and right to protection from discomfort and harm), obtaining informed consent and the institutional review process (ethical approval). The researcher needs to provide adequate information on each of these aspects.
Informed consent needs to be obtained from the participants (details discussed in further chapters), as well as the research site and the relevant authorities.
When the researcher prepares a research budget, he/she should predict and cost all aspects of the research and then add an additional allowance for unpredictable disasters, delays and rising costs. All items in the budget should be justified.
Appendices are documents that support the proposal and application. The appendices will be specific for each proposal but documents that are usually required include informed consent form, supporting documents, questionnaires, measurement tools and patient information of the study in layman's language.
As with any scholarly research paper, you must cite the sources you used in composing your proposal. Although the words ‘references and bibliography’ are different, they are used interchangeably. It refers to all references cited in the research proposal.
Successful, qualitative research proposals should communicate the researcher's knowledge of the field and method and convey the emergent nature of the qualitative design. The proposal should follow a discernible logic from the introduction to presentation of the appendices.
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How to Write a Research Proposal: Steps, Outline, Example, and More!
What Is a Research Proposal: Definition and Purpose
A research proposal is a strategic tool for a world of uncharted discoveries. It is the entrance to the world of scientific inquiry, where the bounds of human knowledge are pushed, and new perspectives are unveiled. When wondering what is a research proposal and what is its main purpose, remember that it accomplishes two things at once: it persuades the academics that the proposed study deserves funding and leads the researcher on an exciting intellectual quest. The proposal combines a call to action, a request for financial support, and a mission statement. It's a creative work that unites the brilliance of creation with the powerful ability to persuade, opening up a whole new range of alternatives.
A research proposal sets forth a planned research study's objectives, approach, schedule, and financial details. Its main goal is to persuade a funding organization or other interested parties that the suggested project is worth the investment and that the scholar has the competence and assets necessary to complete it adequately. The proposal has to be crystal clear, direct to the point, and persuasive, making a strong argument for the significance of the study, its future contribution, and the original strategy the scholar would employ. Each ambitious researcher should have a strong study proposal, which may lead to funding possibilities, team projects, and even brand-new insights.
We bet you'd fancy a guide on how to write a proposal for a research paper with detailed information and explaining steps required to successfully complete your work. Then, let's delve into the following sections right away!
How to Write a Research Proposal Step-by-Step
There is no research proposal template that is universally applicable to all types of papers. However, no matter how extensive and in-depth your study is, you will discover that the majority of research paper proposal example templates contain the following information:
Research Paper Title
So, how to start a research proposal? The logical answer is to first come up with a proper title. A well-written title can greatly increase the likelihood of a research article being read and referenced. For instance, a study titled 'The Effect of Media Platforms on Social Development: A Systematic Review' effectively communicates the study's focus while clarifying how it was conducted. The reader will find it simpler to comprehend the study's goal and any potential ramifications owing to the title's precision and informational nature.
An abstract provides a 150-300 word summary of a research paper and its primary objectives, methods, results, and conclusions. As it is frequently the first thing readers see and can influence whether they continue reading the complete article, the abstract is an important part of a research study. An effective abstract should summarize the paper's ideas, be simple to read, and emphasize the importance and possible influence of the work. It should give readers a thorough understanding of the paper's scope and purpose while piquing their interest in learning more.
If you're wondering how to write a research proposal context, remember that here you should provide the structure and background information of your paper. Typically, you should discuss related literature reviews and any gaps in research that you'll be exploring throughout the study. It's also suggested that you stress the importance of undertaking the research and mentioning related theoretical and conceptual frameworks employed. Considering these, providing the context in your proposal is crucial since it helps your audience comprehend the study's relevance and how it fits into a broader perspective.
The research question is the foundation of your proposal that shapes your study design and defines its main goal. It demonstrates your desire to learn more while furthering your academic career. If you're writing a proposal about comparing the US and UK healthcare systems, then you can come up with the following research question: 'How do low-income citizens with severe diseases do in terms of their physical well-being in the US and the UK?'.
In the research proposal, you should go into depth about how you conducted your study. Explain your key research tools and the techniques you employed to get your results. If you conducted interviews, tell the reader about the subjects of your questions. Lastly, provide your analysis of the results.
Afterward, you should describe the significance of your work. Every research proposal sample will briefly explain how your research is unique and contributes to the topic of study. You might wish to provide reasoning for the necessity of your study at this given moment. For example: 'The study's findings connect Psycho with other contemporary movies that share the same shock-factor traits. The startling aspect is more difficult to create today, as seen by the rise of low-budget, badly made horror movies that rely on shock rather than suspense to keep viewers' interest.'
Finally, you should compile a list of the articles and books most helpful to your research. You may need to do so according to the guidelines set forth by your instructor for research papers (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). You could also develop an annotated bibliography in which you explain how each resource aided your inquiry.
How to Create a Research Proposal Outline with a Research Proposal Template
Your outline format should look like the research proposal example provided above. Ensure you have a well-defined research topic and a clear plan for organizing your approach before starting the proposal writing process. Our history essay writer suggests that the following be included in your research proposal outline:
- Background information and context
- Research problem statement
- Research question(s) or hypothesis
II. Literature Review
- Review of relevant literature
- Identification of gaps in existing research
- Explanation of how the proposed research will address those gaps
- Research design
- Participants or population
- Sampling method
- Data collection methods
- Data analysis methods
IV. Expected Results
- Discussion of expected outcomes
- Significance of expected outcomes
- Project timeline with major milestones
- Itemized budget with justification for expenses
- Recap of the research problem and proposed solution
- Potential contributions to the field of study
- List of references cited in the proposal
This research paper outline should give you a clear idea of how to write a research proposal example effortlessly. Now, let's find out more about the formatting details.
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How to Format a Research Proposal Properly: APA Research Proposal
A research proposal format might be as short as a few paragraphs or as extensive as up to ten pages for dissertations. When unsure how to format a research proposal, first discuss details with your teacher, such as length, content, style, etc. However, one of the most demanded formats is the APA style, which follows a specific format as given in the American Psychological Association guidelines. As it guides the project and helps guarantee that the study is thorough, ethical, and evidence-based, a research proposal example APA is usually generated before the study is conducted. Here is the general APA format:
- 12-point font Times New Roman
- 1-inch margins
- An APA running head (limited to 50 characters)
- A title page with the paper's title (no more than 12 words in length), your name, and the name of your institution
- An abstract (150-200 words)
- In-text citations
- References page
Effective Research Proposal Topics
Research proposals are the foundation of scholarly investigation. Therefore, thinking of fresh and distinctive research proposal ideas might be difficult. Due to this, our paper writers have supplied some excellent research proposal topics that will add excitement and enthusiasm to your academic endeavor:
- Investigating whether virtual reality affects how medical students acquire empathy.
- Examining the efficiency of a mindfulness-based treatment in decreasing college students' social media addiction.
- The link between preschoolers' cultivation of creativity and outdoor recreation.
- Evaluating the application of chatbots to provide mental health therapy to underprivileged groups.
- Fostering food security and social cohesiveness in urban areas using green spaces.
- An investigation of how music affects the development of memory in older people.
- Examining how light pollution affects nocturnal animals' circadian clocks.
- Investigating how mindfulness techniques affect people with anxiety disorders' ability to control their emotions.
- The link between teenage self-esteem and use of social media.
- An investigation on the effects of daily exercise on mental function in people with moderate memory loss.
Research Proposal Example
Here is a research proposal example APA. Notice the structure of a short research paper (around 15 pages) and the APA formatting.
If you enjoyed our sample, feel free to drop us your ' write an essay for me ' request for any kind of assignment.
To wrap up, we hope our article assisted you in writing a research proposal. In addition to providing a thorough analysis of all the crucial elements of a research project, we provided guidance on how to write a research paper proposal that stands out.
And if you're already prepared to start producing a scholarly research paper, you can always rely on us! Contact us with your ' write my research paper ' request to place an order for a quality custom term paper that will easily impress your professor!
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Research Paper Guide
Writing Research Proposal
Last updated on: Jun 9, 2023
Writing a Research Proposal - Outline, Format, and Examples
By: Nathan D.
13 min read
Reviewed By: Rylee W.
Published on: Mar 24, 2023
Ready to take on the world of research, but feeling a bit intimidated by the proposal-writing process? You're not alone! Writing a research proposal can seem like a daunting task, especially if you're new to the game.
But don't worry – we're here to help make the process as easy and exciting as possible!
Think of your research proposal as a sales pitch for your ideas. It's your chance to convince others that your project is worth their time and investment. And just like with any great sales pitch, the key is to show passion and enthusiasm for your work.
In this guide, we'll demystify the proposal-writing process. We'll cover everything from defining your research question to outlining your methodology to presenting your budget.
So get ready to rock this proposal writing journey!
On this Page
What is a Research Proposal?
As per the research proposal definition, it is a concise summary of your research paper. It introduces the general idea of your research by highlighting the questions and issues you are going to address in your paper.
For writing a good and ‘acceptance worthy’ proposal, demonstrating the uniqueness and worthiness of your research paper is important.
Below is a detailed definition that will help you understand it better.
‘A research proposal is a document that is written to present and justify your interest and need for researching a particular topic.’
Similarly, a good proposal must highlight the benefits and o utcomes of the proposed study, supported by persuasive evidence.
Purpose of Research Proposal
Knowing what the goal of writing a research proposal is can make the process easier and help you get your project approved by faculty.
Let’s break down what makes up a good research proposal.
Filling Gaps in Existing Knowledge
Crafting a research proposal is an opportunity to explore the depths of your topic and uncover unturned stones.
By identifying areas previously unexamined, you can open up new perspectives which could provide substantial value to your project. This demonstrates your contribution to knowledge.
With such insights in hand, faculty will quickly recognize that there's something special about this study – setting it apart from others on the same subject!
Underscoring Existing Knowledge
A research proposal is a chance for you to show how good you are at analyzing things and understanding past studies.
With evidence-based data, you can demonstrate how these studies relate to each other - which agrees or disagrees with current theories about the topic.
Whether it's presenting meaningful insights or uncovering new ones, this exercise will challenge your ability to think critically!
Adding New Original Knowledge
To create a compelling research proposal, you must demonstrate your understanding of the existing body of knowledge on your topic.
You should also bring something new to the table. You can explore primary sources like interviews or surveys with experts or members involved in this study.
Showcase how this proposed project adds value and moves conversations forward; make sure that it is relevant to today's context!
In conclusion, the purpose of a research proposal is to identify gaps in existing knowledge and provide new, original perspectives on the topic. By doing this, you'll be able to craft an impactful study that faculty will find hard to ignore!
How to Create a Research Proposal Outline?
Sometimes students don’t realize how important a research paper proposal is and end up putting all the information together without following the basic outline or thinking this through.
Before starting with the outline, you need to understand the basic components. A clear outline is important when it comes to presenting the literature review and writing the entire paper.
Here is a basic format you can follow while writing your proposal.
- Literature Review
- Research Methodology
It might seem like a dreadful task and especially for the students who are new to this. It requires good writing as well as research skills.
Here is a sample template to further explain the outline.
Research Proposal Template
RESEARCH PROPOSAL TEMPLATE
Need help with creating an outline for your research paper? Check out this in-depth read on how to create an effective research paper outline !
How to Start a Research Proposal?
Many students think that starting a research proposal is the same as creating an outline. No, it is not, and knowing how to start with your research proposal on the right track is like getting done with half of it.
Below are the important steps to start a research proposal.
- Begin working on it as soon as possible.
- Conduct thorough and in-depth research.
- Instead of forming the title first, find the main theme or problem that you would like to discuss in your research.
- Collect and save the research information with proper and complete citation and reference information.
- Divide the collected details into the sections of the proposal and stick to them.
Writing a research proposal is tricky, but when you start it beforehand then you will have enough time to understand your main topic’s different aspects.
Procrastinating and leaving it for the last few days before submission will only land you in trouble.
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How to Write a Research Proposal
Now you have the basic outline you can follow. Let’s discuss how to write it by following the format mentioned above.
1. Choose the Title Carefully
Your proposal title should be concise and clear to indicate your research question. Your readers should know what to expect in the paper after reading the title. Avoid writing titles in a general perspective or phrases like “An investigation of …” or “A review of …” etc. Make it concise and well-defined.
2. Add a Concise Abstract
‘How to write an abstract for a research proposal?’
The abstract is a short summary that is around 100-250 words. The abstract should include the research question, the hypothesis of your research (if there is any), the research methodology, and the findings.
If the proposal is detailed, it will require a section of the contents after the abstract. It, knowing how to write an abstract will be helpful and can save you from making any blunders.
3. Add a Strong Introduction
You need to start with a strong introduction. The introduction is written to provide a background or context related to your research problem. It is important to frame the research question while writing the proposal.
Start the introduction with a general statement related to the problem area you are focusing on and justify your study.
The introduction usually covers the following elements.
- What is the purpose of your research or study?
- Mention the background information and significance before you introduce your research question.
- Introduce your research question in a way that its significance is highlighted by setting the stage for it.
- Briefly mention the issues that you are going to discuss and highlight in your study.
- Make sure that you identify the independent and dependent variables in the title of your study.
- If there is a hypothesis or a theory related to your research, state it in the introduction.
Have a very clear and concise idea about your research, and make sure that you do not deviate from the main research question. A clear idea will help you craft a perfect thesis. Here is how you can create a crisp and interesting thesis introduction along with a basic guideline.
4. Clarify the Research Objectives
Your research objectives will explain what the writer is trying to achieve. Moreover, these aims and objectives must be achievable. It means that it must be framed according to the:
- Available time
- Other important resources.
However, it is beneficial to read all the developments in the field and find research gaps before deciding your objective. It will help you come up with suitable aims for your projects.
5. Add Relevant Literature Review
A separate section dedicated to the literature review will allow you to conduct extensive background research and support your research question with credible sources and research.
The following are the basic purposes of the literature review.
- To give reference to the researchers whose study has been a part of your research.
- To help you construct a precise and clear research question.
- To critically evaluate previous literature information related to your research.
- To understand research issues relevant to the topic of your research.
- To convince the reader that your research is an important contribution to the relevant niche.
A literature review is an important component. Learning how to write a literature review will help you compose an engaging and impressive literature review easily.
Keep your literature review organized by adding a subheading to maintain a smooth flow in the content. Try not to bore your readers and your instructor or the committee. Write it in an engaging manner.
6. Mention the Significance of the Research
The significance of your research will identify the importance of your work. It should be mainly stated in the introductory paragraph.
You must highlight how your research is beneficial for the respective field of study. Similarly, you can also state its contribution to the field in both the broader and narrow sense.
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7. Explain the Research Methodology
‘How to write a methods section of a research proposal?’
This section explains how you are going to conduct your research. Explain why the specific method is suitable for your research and how it will help you attain your research goals. Your research methodology will give you an organized plan for the research.
Mention sufficient information regarding your research methodology for readers to understand how you are conducting your research. It must contain enough information regarding the study for another researcher to implement it.
i.) Types of Research Methodology
Choose the type of research methodology that is suitable for your research.
a.) Qualitative type is used in a theoretical type of research like that in literature.
Some research involves both; if your research topic also involves analyzing both the statistical data and theory, then make sure that you use them appropriately. For a qualitative approach, the method section of your proposal needs to be more detailed and elaborate compared to the one in the quantitative approach. How you will collect your data and analyze it according to the qualitative approach should be described with great care.
b.) Quantitative research is suitable for projects involving collecting and analyzing statistical data like that in social sciences, medicine, and psychology. When you choose a quantitative approach for your research, the method section should contain answers to the following elements.
- Design – Is it a laboratory experiment or a survey?
- What are the sample size and the subject of your study?
- What is the procedure of your study, and how will you carry out the activities involved in it?
- Describe your questionnaire or the instruments you will be using in the experiment.
Have detailed knowledge of all the research methodologies to justify your approach toward the research problem.
8. Present the Hypothesis or the Expected Research Results
In the research proposal, this section will contain the results of the research, but since this is a research proposal, you do not have the results yet. This is why you will add the expected research results here. These results are those that you aim to obtain from the research.
Sometimes the researcher gets the same kind of results, but sometimes, the results could differ from the expected ones.
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9. Mention the Ethical Considerations
It is an essential part of your outline. Researchers need to consider ethical values while conducting research work. Furthermore, you also have to be very careful in the data collection process and need to respect the rights of the participants.
They should not harm them in any way, and full consent should be obtained from them prior to the study.
Lastly, the writer’s moral duty is to promise complete confidentiality to feel comfortable while sharing information.
10. Discuss the Research Limitations
The research limitations indicate the flaws and shortcomings of your research. These may include:
- Unavailability of resources
- Small sample size
- Wrong methodology
Listing the limitations shows your honesty and complete understanding of the topic.
11. Add Proper References and Citation
Don’t forget the references section. You don’t want to get blamed for plagiarism. Always give references to the authors and the literature you have studied for your research.
There are two ways to cite your sources.
- Reference – List the literature that you have used in your proposal.
- Bibliography – List everything that you have studied, cited, or not while doing your study or while writing.
Follow a specific format for the citation section as instructed by your supervisor. It can be written in APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard style. Both references and a bibliography are included in it.
12. Edit and Proofread
Many students prefer not to proofread the proposal after completion, which is a grave mistake. If you proofread the paper on your own, you may fail to identify the mistakes. Use online tools or have a helping hand from your friend to give it a good read.
In the end, edit the document as per the needs.
Why Do Research Proposals Get Rejected?
An analysis of 500 rejected proposals allowed us to identify the common blunders made in them. These blunders caused the rejection of otherwise promising research. Therefore, to maximize the chances of acceptance, you must avoid these mistakes.
Here are some of those mistakes.
- The proposal stated a flawed hypothesis.
- The professor doubts the research will not bring new or useful results.
- The plan mentioned in the proposal lacks details and is unrealistic.
- It lacks coherence.
- The results obtained, or the hypothesis from the chosen method will be inaccurate.
- The review of the literature is not done correctly.
- Sufficient time was not devoted to writing the proposal.
- The proposal is copied or has been used by many other students in the past.
These are the common mistakes that result in rejection.
If you desire to make it shine, stick to your instructor’s guidelines and stay away from committing these mistakes.
Research Proposal Examples
Looking for some helpful and detailed research proposal examples to get you started? Examples are great for a quick understanding of how something works or is written, in our case.
Here are some complete research paper proposal samples to help you write your own.
RESEARCH PROPOSAL SAMPLE
RESEARCH PROPOSAL EXAMPLE - APA
HOW TO WRITE A RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL
NSF RESEARCH PROPOSAL SAMPLE
MARKET RESEARCH PROPOSAL SAMPLE
PH.D. RESEARCH PROPOSAL SAMPLE
Research Proposal Topics
You can take ideas for your topic from books, journals, previously done research, and dissertations.
Here are a few topics you can choose from.
- How has technology evolved the English language over the last ten years?
- What are the effects of individualism on British literature?
- How has Feminism helped women get their rights over the last decade?
- What caused the fall of the Roman empire, and what are its effects?
- What factors caused World War II?
- What are the effects of World War II on diplomacy?
- Can cultural differences affect social interactions?
- How have violent video games affected brain development among children?
- How does alcohol affect aggression among a few people?
- How effective is the death penalty?
If you want to know more about finding a topic for your research paper and research paper topic examples, here is a list of interesting research paper topics .
Research proposals can be critical because they require great attention. If you are inexperienced, you are likely to suffer. In a worst-case scenario, your proposal may get rejected.
Your dedicated professional and experienced essay writer at 5StarEssays.com is always here to help you. Being a professional essay writing service , we know how to craft a compelling research proposal and help you get it accepted.
If you have any queries, talk to our representative or place your research proposal order now.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a strong research proposal.
Your proposal must explain why your research is important in addition to explaining the methods that you will use. You should also position yourself within your field of study and give an overview of why this specific topic could be significant.
How many pages a research proposal should be?
Research proposals typically range between three and five pages in length. Research proposal formats vary across disciplines.
You should follow the format that is standard within your field, with special attention to what your faculty mentor prefers.
What tense should a research proposal be written in?
In a research proposal, use future tense for actions to be undertaken in the study. For example: A survey method will be employed , and a close-ended questionnaire will be used .
How long is a research proposal?
When writing a research proposal, it is best, to begin with, what you want to know more about. There is no set length for these proposals so they can be anywhere from 2,500 words up or down depending on the topic and scope of your study.
Does a research proposal have chapters?
Like a research paper, the introduction and conclusion of your proposal should be brief. In every chapter you include in your proposal, begin with an informative intro paragraph that captures what will follow in each section.
Similarly, for chapters near their end, conclusions summarize points discussed throughout the sections but also highlight what is most important about them overall.
What are the 7 parts of the research proposal?
The 7 parts of a research proposal include
- Problem statement
- Literature review
Each of these sections is key in order to craft an effective research proposal that will be approved by faculty members!
PhD Essay, Literature
Nathan completed his Ph.D. in journalism and has been writing articles for well-respected publications for many years now. His work is carefully researched and insightful, showing a true passion for the written word. Nathan's clients appreciate his expertise, deep understanding of the process, and ability to communicate difficult concepts clearly.
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Writing a Dissertation Proposal: Outline and Example
13 Sep 2021
❓ What Is a Dissertation Proposal?
🔍 Dissertation Proposal Structure
☝ Advice for Writing a Dissertation Proposal
📝 Example of a Dissertation Proposal
A prospectus, or research proposal, is vital for obtaining a doctoral degree and represents the first step toward dissertation completion. Well-designed proposals can clarify research goals, present the significance of the study, and show the committee the practicability of your project, including its value. Writing a proposal for a dissertation requires careful consideration, planning, and execution.
Crafting a well-structured and convincing proposal can be daunting. Here, you'll find details of dissertation proposal writing, with the dissertation proposal outline and example. By following the steps in this article, students can ensure that their prospectus is thorough and persuasive, ultimately setting them up for academic success. Let's see how to write a dissertation proposal.
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What Is a Dissertation Proposal?
It's a guide or a map for research, that gives an overview of examination and data methods. A well-crafted prospectus identifies the dissertation direction. A suitable topic is crucial; the proposal ensures guidance.
When writing a research proposal, you'll include an introduction, goals, literature review, methodology, implications, limitations, and bibliography. The content varies based on the study, university, or degree. The proposals aren’t rigid frameworks.
Strong proposals demonstrate research abilities, and they require instructor feedback. By taking the time to develop concise proposals, students go straight for academic journey success.
The proposal should be thorough and persuasive and should follow the appropriate structure. While the proposal can be a guide, seeking feedback from instructors and department members is vital. It ensures the project meets academic standards.
A dissertation or thesis proposal is critical to earning a higher academic degree. Designing straightforward yet comprehensive proposals can be challenging. However, when following the structure and seeking comments and feedback, students can establish a strong foundation for their project. Thus, success is guaranteed.
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Dissertation proposal structure.
When working on proposals, the format is fundamental. Many students wonder how to write a dissertation proposal and what the process includes. Whether you start writing a dissertation proposal example or a final project, please remember that no versatile structure fits everyone.
Choosing the first dissertation proposal template and structure you see isn't advisable. Instead, select a dissertation proposal format that's best for your paper. It's vital to include necessary sections; in addition, highlight the vital points of the report, the goals you intend to achieve, and the research methods you plan to use. Before you write a dissertation proposal, gather details on structure.
The introduction is a critical section. For most academic papers, it typically represents the starting point. It provides an opportunity to give context to the topic, introduce a thesis statement, and outline the research objectives. Additionally, the introduction should outline the research questions the paper aims to answer. This section sets the tone for proposals. It explains the research's importance. For the thesis to be impactful, the paper should be significant for the subject area. You may describe the significance of your study in the introduction. Include useful definitions, limitations, delimitations, and other similar sections depending on your department's requirements.
It's a crucial part of a Ph.D. dissertation proposal that outlines the methods and procedures used to collect and analyze data. It describes the research approach, including the theoretical framework and research methods, whether quantitative, qualitative, or a combination of both. The methodology section explains gathering data methods, how you'll conduct the research, and what tools and techniques you'll use. All this sounds confusing. You can always tell “ Do my dissertation ” to professional writers, and they will start immediately. It's essential to explain the research methods clearly. In addition, provide the reasons for their selection. It ensures the validity and reliability of the study's findings.
Aims and Objectives
When writing a dissertation proposal, clearly outlining your aims and objectives is essential. Your aims should indicate what you hope to achieve with your research, while your objectives should provide a clear plan for achieving the goals. Well-crafted proposals show the research topic's relevance. It's essential to consider the research's broader implications. Your aims and objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. It'll ensure the research is well-planned.
In the doctoral dissertation proposal, the literature review section for the dissertation should include a list of the books and materials used for research. Highlight any sources that provided background information on your topic or sources used as references for previous studies related to your research. This task takes the paper to higher levels, but hiring a dissertation writing service is another solution. The literature review shows how your work builds upon or diverges from previous research. While providing sufficient details about the materials you used in your research is crucial, it is also important to evaluate and show their significance to your work.
Here are some tips:
- Do not be afraid to argue the issues you don’t agree with. All the works are mostly subjective, it means that perspectives may differ and all have their own opinion;
- Use citations as a basis for developing your point of view. It will help your proposal look more authoritative and worthy of reading;
- Compare and contrast various theories, arguments, and controversies and give your suggestions on how to come to an agreement;
- Link your own research to the literature and state how crucial it will be for the development of this subject area.
When writing a proposal for your dissertation, outlining the research limitations is vital. Many research topics are extremely complex. Thus, clearly demonstrating these constraints shows your levels of understanding of the factors and context in which your research operates. Provide examples of possible limitations that may affect your work, such as time limits, gathering data issues, inadequate sample size, participant dropout, etc. You're showing the readers the potential challenges you may face along the way.
Ethical considerations are essential for proposals. As a researcher, you must ensure your study meets ethical standards and guidelines. This involves identifying and addressing potential ethical problems related to data collection, participant privacy, informed consent, and other relevant factors. By addressing these considerations, you show your willingness and commitment to conducting ethical research. In addition, you ensure the study meets the highest standards of integrity and accountability.
In the prospectus, providing an estimated timeframe for delivering work to the supervisor is common and advisable. For example, it may involve submitting chapters as completed. It's vital to be realistic - allocate sufficient time for research - then start the writing process. That way, you'll have a solid foundation of knowledge. Thus, you'll avoid rushing the writing phase.
While a conclusion isn't mandatory, it's helpful to summarize your key points and recapitulate what’s behind the topic choice, research methodology, and expected outcomes. With a summary, you can remind the reader of the main focus of your research and its importance. A concise conclusion provides closure, leaving a lasting and often strong impression on readers.
Advice for Writing a Dissertation Proposal
If you, like many students, wonder how to write a dissertation proposal, the advice below will help in the process. Following advice for writing proposals is crucial for several reasons. Remember that visiting the best essay writing service is always an option. When proposals are well-written, they can help you gain the approval of your advisor and committee, which is essential for moving forward and advancing to the writing stage. Additionally, strong proposals help students clarify their research goals, methods, and expected outcomes, ultimately saving time and improving the quality of work. By following advice for writing, you can also demonstrate your competence and professionalism as a researcher, which may be valuable for future academic and career opportunities.
Let's explore the most helpful advice in the field to help you complete the task faster and smoother:
- Allocate sufficient time for research writing and avoid rushing the process. That way, you’ll avoid potential issues that could arise, especially lack of time.
- Remember that reviewers often have to read many proposals. Thus, present a well-organized and clear work, easy to understand. By doing that, you’ll move to writing phase faster.
- Recognize that a dissertation or thesis proposal research is subject to change. View your paper as a preliminary outline rather than a definitive final product summary. For dissertations, changes in work and outlines are completely normal.
- Ensure that your research questions and ideas are clearly stated, Also, ensure that your research scope is realistic and feasible, as proposals are assessed on the likelihood of completion and intellectual ambition. The ideas and questions should be relevant to the specific field.
- Convey your passion for the research topic to engage and persuade the reader of the project's significance. Share a personal story that inspired you, or explain the impotence the topic has for your future work and academic goals.
- Acknowledge all sources properly by paraphrasing or using quotation marks to avoid plagiarism. Ensure to add a reference list or bibliography to show the sources you consulted for the research. Use clear, concise, and coherent language in your paper. Thoroughly proofread and edit your work for errors before submission.
Dissertation Proposal Example
When working on a dissertation, having access to quality examples is crucial. There are many dissertation proposal template options. However, examples are different, and using the best resources is vital. This is where best dissertation help plays an important role - providing high-quality examples with the right structure and meeting the necessary requirements.
For instance, if you're working on a prospectus on the computational model of acquiring intellectual expertise, there are points to remember. Give your paper a clear and concise title that reflects the topic. Add the University name. Next, briefly summarize your paper, including the goals and objectives. While the abstract may be small, it's an essential work element. It helps readers understand your project. Once you have your abstract in place, it's time to organize the gathered info into sections. These usually include an introduction, methodology, conclusion, etc. Create every part carefully. Ensure the writing flows logically and cohesively.
After that, you have to organize the information into several sections. This is an example of a structure for such a dissertation proposal:
Note that this example is good for studies in cognitive science. However, it can be quite different for other topics.
How to choose dissertation proposal topics?
How long should proposals be, what is the difference between proposals and prospectus, was this article helpful, thanks for your feedback.
Dr. Caroline Phd
I have always been a bit of a polymath – I loved going through encyclopedias, learning interesting facts about the world around us. Even when it was time to choose my major, I struggled a lot, as I wanted to learn everything about everything.
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How to write a research proposal?
- 1 Department of Anaesthesiology, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.
- PMID: 27729688
- PMCID: PMC5037942
- DOI: 10.4103/0019-5049.190617
Writing the proposal of a research work in the present era is a challenging task due to the constantly evolving trends in the qualitative research design and the need to incorporate medical advances into the methodology. The proposal is a detailed plan or 'blueprint' for the intended study, and once it is completed, the research project should flow smoothly. Even today, many of the proposals at post-graduate evaluation committees and application proposals for funding are substandard. A search was conducted with keywords such as research proposal, writing proposal and qualitative using search engines, namely, PubMed and Google Scholar, and an attempt has been made to provide broad guidelines for writing a scientifically appropriate research proposal.
Keywords: Guidelines; proposal; qualitative; research.