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  • How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

Published on October 12, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on June 13, 2023.

Structure of a research proposal

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

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


Literature review.

  • Research design

Reference list

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

Table of contents

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

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

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

Research proposal length

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

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

Download our research proposal template

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proposal writing of research

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

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

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

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

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

Your introduction should:

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

To guide your introduction , include information about:

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

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

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

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

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

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

For example, your results might have implications for:

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

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

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

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

Download our research schedule template

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

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

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

To determine your budget, think about:

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

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


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


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

Research bias

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

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

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

I will compare …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Write a Research Proposal

Lindsay Kramer

Once you’re in college and really getting into  academic writing , you may not recognize all the kinds of assignments you’re asked to complete. You know what an essay is, and you know how to respond to readings—but when you hear your professor mention a research proposal or a literature review, your mind might do a double take. 

Don’t worry; we’ve got you. Boiled down to its core, a research proposal is simply a short piece of  writing that details exactly what you’ll be covering in a larger research project. You’ll likely be required to write one for your  thesis , and if you choose to continue in academia after earning your bachelor’s degree, you’ll be writing research proposals for your master’s thesis, your dissertation , and all other research you conduct. By then, you’ll be a research proposal pro. But for now, we’ll answer all your questions and help you confidently write your first one. 

Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing shines? Grammarly can check your spelling and save you from grammar and punctuation mistakes. It even proofreads your text, so your work is extra polished wherever you write.

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What is the goal of a research proposal?

In a research proposal, the goal is to present the author’s plan for the research they intend to conduct. In some cases, part of this goal is to secure funding for said research. In others, it’s to have the research approved by the author’s supervisor or department so they can move forward with it. In some cases, a research proposal is a required part of a graduate school application. In every one of these circumstances, research proposals follow the same structure.

In a research proposal, the author demonstrates how and why their research is relevant to their field. They demonstrate that the work is necessary to the following:

  • Filling a gap in the existing body of research on their subject
  • Underscoring existing research on their subject, and/or
  • Adding new, original knowledge to the academic community’s existing understanding of their subject

A research proposal also demonstrates that the author is capable of conducting this research and contributing to the current state of their field in a meaningful way. To do this, your research proposal needs to discuss your academic background and credentials as well as demonstrate that your proposed ideas have academic merit. 

But demonstrating your research’s validity and your personal capability to carry it out isn’t enough to get your research proposal approved. Your research proposal also has to cover these things:

  • The research methodology you plan to use
  • The tools and procedures you will use to collect, analyze, and interpret the data you collect
  • An explanation of how your research fits the budget and other constraints that come with conducting it through your institution, department, or academic program

If you’ve already read our post on literature reviews , you may be thinking that a research proposal sounds pretty similar. They’re more than just similar, though—a literature review is part of a research proposal. It’s the section that covers which sources you’re using, how you’re using them, and why they’re relevant. Think of a literature review as a mini-research proposal that fits into your larger, main proposal. 

How long should a research proposal be?

Generally, research proposals for bachelor’s and master’s theses are a few pages long. Research proposals for meatier projects, like Ph.D. dissertations and funding requests, are often longer and far more detailed. A research proposal’s goal is to clearly outline exactly what your research will entail and accomplish, so including the proposal’s word count or page count isn’t nearly as important as it is to ensure that all the necessary elements and content are present. 

Research proposal structure

A research proposal follows a fairly straightforward structure. In order to achieve the goals described in the previous section, nearly all research proposals include the following sections:


Your introduction achieves a few goals:

  • Introduces your topic
  • States your problem statement and the questions your research aims to answer
  • Provides context for your research

In a research proposal, an introduction can be a few paragraphs long. It should be concise, but don’t feel like you need to cram all of your information into one paragraph. 

In some cases, you need to include an abstract and/or a table of contents in your research proposal. These are included just before the introduction. 

Background significance

This is where you explain why your research is necessary and how it relates to established research in your field. Your work might complement existing research, strengthen it, or even challenge it—no matter how your work will “play with” other researchers’ work, you need to express it in detail in your research proposal.  

This is also the section where you clearly define the existing problems your research will address. By doing this, you’re explaining why your work is necessary—in other words, this is where you answer the reader’s “so what?” 

In your background significance section, you’ll also outline how you’ll conduct your research. If necessary, note which related questions and issues you won’t be covering in your research. 

Literature review

In your  literature review , you introduce all the sources you plan to use in your research. This includes landmark studies and their data, books, and scholarly articles. A literature review isn’t merely a list of sources (that’s what your bibliography is for); a literature review delves into the collection of sources you chose and explains how you’re using them in your research. 

Research design, methods, and schedule

Following your research review, you’ll discuss your research plans. In this section, make sure you cover these aspects:

  • The type of research you will do. Are you conducting qualitative or quantitative research? Are you collecting original data or working with data collected by other researchers?
  • Whether you’re doing experimental, correlational, or descriptive research
  • The data you’re working with. For example, if you’re conducting research in the social sciences, you’ll need to describe the population you’re studying. You’ll also need to cover how you’ll select your subjects and how you’ll collect data from them. 
  • The tools you’ll use to collect data. Will you be running experiments? Conducting surveys? Observing phenomena? Note all data collection methods here along with why they’re effective methods for your specific research.

Beyond a comprehensive look at your research itself, you’ll also need to include:

  • Your research timeline
  • Your research budget
  • Any potential obstacles you foresee and your plan for handling them

Suppositions and implications

Although you can’t know your research’s results until you’ve 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 is perhaps the most critical to your research proposal’s argument because it expresses exactly why your research is necessary. 

In this section, make sure you cover the following:

  • Any ways your work can challenge existing theories and assumptions in your field
  • How your work will create the foundation for future research
  • The practical value your findings will provide to practitioners, educators, and other academics in your field
  • The problems your work can potentially help to fix
  • 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

In other words, this section isn’t about stating the specific results you expect. Rather, it’s where you state how your findings will be valuable. 

This is where you wrap it all up. Your conclusion section, just like your conclusion paragraph for an essay , briefly summarizes your research proposal and reinforces your research’s stated purpose. 


Yes, you need to write a bibliography in addition to your literature review. Unlike your literature review, where you explained the relevance of the sources you chose and in some cases, challenged them, your bibliography simply lists your sources and their authors.

The way you write a citation depends on the style guide you’re using. The three most common style guides for academics are MLA , APA , and Chicago , and each has its own particular rules and requirements. Keep in mind that each formatting style has specific guidelines for citing just about any kind of source, including photos , websites , speeches , and YouTube videos .

Sometimes, a full bibliography is not needed. When this is the case, you can include a references list, which is simply a scaled-down list of all the sources you cited in your work. If you’re not sure which to write, ask your supervisor. 

Here’s a tip: Grammarly’s  Citation Generator  ensures your essays have flawless citations and no plagiarism. Try it for citing journal articles in MLA , APA , and Chicago  styles.

How to write a research proposal

Research proposals, like all other kinds of academic writing, are written in a formal, objective tone. Keep in mind that being concise is a key component of academic writing; formal does not mean flowery. 

Adhere to the structure outlined above. Your reader knows how a research proposal is supposed to read and expects it to fit this template. It’s crucial that you present your research proposal in a clear, logical way. Every question the reader has while reading your proposal should be answered by the final section. 

Editing and proofreading a research proposal

When you’re writing a research proposal, follow the same six-step writing process you follow with every other kind of writing you do. 

After you’ve got a first draft written, take some time to let it “cool off” before you start proofreading . By doing this, you’re making it easier for yourself to catch mistakes and gaps in your writing. 

Common mistakes to avoid when writing a research proposal

When you’re writing a research proposal, avoid these common pitfalls: 

Being too wordy

As we said earlier, formal does not mean flowery. In fact, you should aim to keep your writing as brief and to-the-point as possible. The more economically you can express your purpose and goal, the better.   

Failing to cite relevant sources

When you’re conducting research, you’re adding to the existing body of knowledge on the subject you’re covering. Your research proposal should reference one or more of the landmark research pieces in your field and connect your work to these works in some way. This doesn’t just communicate your work’s relevance—it also demonstrates your familiarity with the field. 

Focusing too much on minor issues

There are probably a lot of great reasons why your research is necessary. These reasons don’t all need to be in your research proposal. In fact, including too many questions and issues in your research proposal can detract from your central purpose, weakening the proposal. Save the minor issues for your research paper itself and cover only the major, key issues you aim to tackle in your proposal. 

Failing to make a strong argument for your research

This is perhaps the easiest way to undermine your proposal because it’s far more subjective than the others. A research proposal is, in essence, a piece of persuasive writing . That means that although you’re presenting your proposal in an objective, academic way, the goal is to get the reader to say “yes” to your work. 

This is true in every case, whether your reader is your supervisor, your department head, a graduate school admissions board, a private or government-backed funding provider, or the editor at a journal in which you’d like to publish your work. 

Polish your writing into a stellar proposal

When you’re asking for approval to conduct research—especially when there’s funding involved—you need to be nothing less than 100 percent confident in your proposal. If your research proposal has spelling or grammatical mistakes, an inconsistent or inappropriate tone, or even just awkward phrasing, those will undermine your credibility. 

Make sure your research proposal shines by using Grammarly to catch all of those issues. Even if you think you caught all of them while you were editing, it’s critical to double-check your work. Your research deserves the best proposal possible, and Grammarly can help you make that happen. 

proposal writing of research

proposal writing of research

  • Research Process

Writing a Scientific Research Project Proposal

  • 5 minute read

Table of Contents

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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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:

I.  Introduction

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.

VI.  Conclusion

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.

VII.  Citations

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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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

Learning objectives.

  • 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.

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.

Key Takeaways

  • 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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Research proposal

Writing a research proposal.

proposal writing of research

In a research proposal you pitch your research idea. You pitch a research problem, your approach to developing a solution and why it matters. This pitch needs to be credible and convincing. You need to sell your research idea.

A research proposal describes your planned research. It presents your research topic and describes why this topic is significant, it reviews some of the key thinking related to the topic that can be found in published literature and it signals the approach you will take to gather data so that you can investigate the topic you propose.

Research proposals are used whether the research you propose will be qualitative (i.e. research which is based on textual data), quantitative (i.e. research based more on numerical data) or mixed (i.e. based both on texts and numbers).

You may be asked to develop a research proposal as part of an assignment task in a unit or you may wish to write your own research proposal to express interest to enrol in a research degree. You may need to compile a research proposal when you apply for a grant or scholarship.

The purposes of a research project may include one or more of these:

  • To propose a research project that will contribute to new knowledge
  • To demonstrate that you understand the research field
  • To demonstrate that you know how to conduct discipline-specific research
  • To formulate a detailed plan of the research, including methodological approaches and theoretical frameworks
  • To create a road map and timeline for your research – to ensure that you have adequate resources and time to complete the project
  • To gain feedback from supervisors or a review panel regarding the feasibility of the project.

Quick tips for writing a research proposal View

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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

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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 ]


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.

Data collection

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 ]

Data analysis

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 ]

Ethical considerations

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.

Financial support and sponsorship

Conflicts of interest.

There are no conflicts of interest.

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How to Write a Research Proposal

Last Updated: October 12, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 772,993 times.

The exact format and requirements for a research proposal can vary slightly depending on the type of research being proposed and the specific demands of the institution you plan to submit your proposal to, but there are a few basics that are almost always needed. Overall, a good research proposal takes time to write and must identify what the proposed research will address and why the proposed research is so important. Here is a brief explanation of the sections needed to complete a standard research proposal as well as the writing timeline you should strive to follow.

Research Proposal Help

proposal writing of research

Sections of a Proposal

Step 1 Come up with a title for your proposal.

  • For example, try a short, informative title like, “Medieval Plagues and the Movement Towards Humanism,” or “The Negative Impact of Alcohol on Liver Function.”
  • Avoid phrases like “An Investigation of…” or “A Review of the…”

Step 2 Create a title page.

  • Each sponsoring agency may specify a format for the title page. If an agency does not, apply the APA style. [3] X Research source
  • Include a "running head" in the upper left corner. The running head will appear on all pages of the document and should be a shortened version of the title.
  • Include the page number in the upper right corner. The page number should appear on all pages of the proposal.
  • Center the full title of your research proposal roughly 1/3 of the way down the page. Double space it, and immediately below the title, insert your name. Below your name, list the institution you are affiliated with and the names and affiliations of any co-investigators you’re working with. In some styles, you may include their contact information as well.

Step 3 Summarize the proposal...

  • Center the word "Abstract" at the top of the page.
  • Begin the text of your abstract directly below the word "Abstract." Do not indent the paragraph.
  • The text of you abstract will usually be between 150 and 250 words.

Step 4 List keywords that will come up in your proposal.

  • For example, if your proposal is about heart diseases, you might use phrases like circulatory system, blood, heart attack, etc.
  • Your keywords can be single words, or phrases of 2-4 words.

Step 5 Include a table of contents.

  • Brief proposals that only span a few pages do not often need a table of contents. Leaving out a table of contents is common, but depends on the type of research you’re doing and the institution you’re submitting the proposal to.
  • Especially long proposals may also need a list of illustrations, figures, or tables.
  • List all major parts and divisions of the proposal.

Step 6 Move into your introduction.

  • Restate and center the title of your paper before moving into your introduction. Include a quick note about the topic being discussed and a definition of the theory from which your proposed research will be based.
  • Write "Statement of Problem" before moving into a paragraph detailing the problem. When writing this part of the introduction, seek to answer the question: why does this research need to be conducted and what new issues does this research raise?
  • Type "Purpose of Study" before writing this section of the introduction. Identify the goal of the study in one precise terms.
  • Type "Significance of Research." In the paragraph below, answer why the area of research is important and identify the type of research or analysis proposed.

Step 7 Provide background in the introduction.

  • If desired, you can break this section into multiple subsections.
  • Under a header reading "Research Question" or "Research Hypothesis," describe the relationship between variables in the research or predict the relationship between variables. This essentially identifies the research problem.
  • Under a header reading "Definition of Terms," define the central ideas that will be utilized in the proposed research.
  • Also provide evidence supporting your competence or expertise in the field.

Step 8 Write a Literature...

  • Don’t turn this section into a list or a bland summary. Sum up existing research in a story-like manner that draws readers in while exposing the hole that your research will attempt to fill.

Step 9 Describe the proposed research.

  • This section can also be titled "Methodology."
  • Provide a complete explanation of your proposed research. Address the explanation to experts in the field rather than laymen.
  • The set up and information in this section will depend on whether your research is qualitative and quantitative. You’ll likely have subsections like "Research Design," "Instrumentation," "Data Collection and Analysis Procedures." You may include information about what you will do to protect the rights of human subjects, if necessary, under a section called "Protection of Human Rights.” Other possible subsections might include “Rigor,” “Neutrality,” “Consistency,” and “Applicability.”
  • You should also demonstrate your knowledge of alternative methods, while making the case that your approach is the most effective way to tackle your research question.
  • Be realistic about what you hope to accomplish, clear about your focus, and explicit about everything the research relies on. The description should also include a detailed schedule of the proposed work and thorough about all groundwork and materials needed.
  • Also include information about sample size and target populations, if applicable.

Step 10 Describe relevant institutional resources.

  • Identify information like the institution's past competence or contributions within the field of research, the university's supportive services, or the institution's research facilities.

Step 11 List references.

  • Note that this section is not always included, especially for shorter proposals.
  • State the expertise and responsibilities of each contributor.

Step 13 Include appendices, if necessary.

  • Each cost should include justifying information.

Writing Timeline

Step 1 Take several months to prepare your research proposal.

  • At 26 weeks, review administrative requirements for the foundations and organizations you plan to submit your proposal to. Double-check due dates and submission requirements.
  • At 23 to 25 weeks, create a one to two page preliminary statement defining your proposed research.
  • If working with an adviser or colleagues, present this short version of your proposal at 23 weeks. Use any feedback you receive to further focus your research in week 22.
  • Research the context, history, and background of your research problem at 21 weeks.
  • At 19 weeks, write a two to three page document exploring questions and possible methodological approaches.
  • Contact experts in the field at 17 weeks to learn about the feasibility and relevance of each potential methodological approach.
  • Continue your research during week 16 and refine your research question by week 14.

Step 3 Perform early administrative tasks in Phase Ib.

  • At 20 weeks, identify and contact any relevant sources of information, including experts, archives, and organizations.
  • Begin researching your budget needs by 18 weeks and your protocol process by 14 weeks.
  • Request any necessary transcripts by 13 weeks.

Step 4 Focus your writing and administration in Phase II.

  • Create a single 5-page document containing your research question, framework, and proposed research design by week 13.
  • Gather any additional data needed to complete a draft during week 12.
  • Reconnect with collaborators and organizations. Determine which will be most helpful.
  • Add the remaining details needed to complete your draft. Use the above guidelines or guidelines provided by the provider of the grant provider. Complete this between weeks 10 and 12.
  • Ask your colleagues or adviser for more feedback by the 9 week mark.
  • Revise your draft at 8 weeks. Create a tentative budget and ask advisers for letters of recommendation.

Step 5 Edit and submit your proposal during Phase II.

  • At 5 weeks, review specific requirements addressed by the application and revise your proposal to meet this requirements and incorporate adviser suggestions.
  • Give yourself a break during week 4 to let things settle.
  • Remind your adviser and other faculty about your letters of recommendation during week 3.
  • At 2 weeks, assemble your materials, review your proposal, and finalize your proposal.
  • Ask colleagues to help you copy-edit 10 days in advance.
  • Print your final copy and collect your materials 3 to 4 days in advance.
  • Submit your research proposal 2 to 3 days before the due date.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

  • Include images, charts, and diagrams in your methodology section if allowed and if applicable. The resources can structure the information in an easy-to-digest format while also breaking up otherwise long, monotonous blocks of text. Thanks Helpful 5 Not Helpful 0
  • Be objective. Throughout the entire research proposal, you must strive to maintain an objective tone. Identify the importance of your research using broad academic reasons instead of narrow personal reasons. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 1

proposal writing of research

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  • ↑ https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185911
  • ↑ https://guides.library.illinois.edu/c.php?g=504643&p=3454882
  • ↑ https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/paper-format/title-page
  • ↑ https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/abstract
  • ↑ https://libguides.lvc.edu/c.php?g=333843&p=2247147
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037942/
  • ↑ https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185916
  • ↑ https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/literaturereview
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3282423/
  • ↑ https://academicanswers.waldenu.edu/faq/72739

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write a research proposal, start by writing an introduction that includes a statement of the problem that your research is trying to solve. After you've established the problem, move into describing the purpose and significance of your research within the field. After this introduction, provide your research questions and hypotheses, if applicable. Finally, describe your proposed research and methodology followed by any institutional resources you will use, like archives or lab equipment. To learn how to construct a realistic writing timeline, keep reading. Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Advanced Research Methods

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What Is a Research Proposal?

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When applying for a research grant or scholarship, or, just before you start a major research project, you may be asked to write a preliminary document that includes basic information about your future research. This is the information that is usually needed in your proposal:

  • The topic and goal of the research project.
  • The kind of result expected from the research.
  • The theory or framework in which the research will be done and presented.
  • What kind of methods will be used (statistical, empirical, etc.).
  • Short reference on the preliminary scholarship and why your research project is needed; how will it continue/justify/disprove the previous scholarship.
  • How much will the research project cost; how will it be budgeted (what for the money will be spent).
  • Why is it you who can do this research and not somebody else.

Most agencies that offer scholarships or grants provide information about the required format of the proposal. It may include filling out templates, types of information they need, suggested/maximum length of the proposal, etc.

Research proposal formats vary depending on the size of the planned research, the number of participants, the discipline, the characteristics of the research, etc. The following outline assumes an individual researcher. This is just a SAMPLE; several other ways are equally good and can be successful. If possible, discuss your research proposal with an expert in writing, a professor, your colleague, another student who already wrote successful proposals, etc.

Author, author's affiliation


  • Explain the topic and why you chose it. If possible explain your goal/outcome of the research . How much time you need to complete the research?

Previous scholarship:

  • Give a brief summary of previous scholarship and explain why your topic and goals are important.
  • Relate your planned research to previous scholarship. What will your research add to our knowledge of the topic.

Specific issues to be investigated:

  • Break down the main topic into smaller research questions. List them one by one and explain why these questions need to be investigated. Relate them to previous scholarship.
  • Include your hypothesis into the descriptions of the detailed research issues if you have one. Explain why it is important to justify your hypothesis.


  • This part depends of the methods conducted in the research process. List the methods; explain how the results will be presented; how they will be assessed.
  • Explain what kind of results will justify or  disprove your hypothesis. 
  • Explain how much money you need.
  • Explain the details of the budget (how much you want to spend for what).


  • Describe why your research is important.


  • List the sources you have used for writing the research proposal, including a few main citations of the preliminary scholarship.

proposal writing of research

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Writing a research proposal

A guide to writing an effective proposal that effectively outlines the research you will undertake at a higher level of study.

What's it for?

A research proposal explains the nature and extent of your planned or future research. It is written for an academic reader e.g. for your supervisor or an academic with a similar disciplinary background. By thinking through your entire research project from beginning to end, it may also highlight core issues with the feasibility of the project.

W hat's in it ?

There are some disciplinary differences regarding exactly what is included in the proposal. For example, disciplines such as Psychology may include a prominent hypothesis statement, others in the Social Sciences including Education, may expect a set of research questions that the study will answer. However, all research proposals should cover the four basic elements below.

  • The research topic addresses a significant problem and, therefore, advances the state of knowledge in that field.
  • Identification of an appropriate methodology and underlying theory to address the problem, including data collection methods and equipment (if required).
  • Details of how the collected data will be analysed in such a way that useful conclusions can be drawn.
  • An organised plan for any proposed work, including a timeframe.

Possible macro-structures

The structure of your research proposal will vary depending on the requirements of your discipline. Nevertheless, certain structural elements will be expected by your reader and these may be presented in the following order. Check with the Research Coordinator in your area for specific requirements.

Identifies the title of the project, your full name, the institution, department, and supervisor details. The title should be brief and descriptive and may use a colon (:) to separate the topic from the focus (i.e. Stormwater Harvesting: Managing the hazards of surface water pollution by run-off ).

Lists the sections of the Research Proposal (headings and indented sub-headings) and corresponding page numbers.

Outlines the essence of the research project. It describes the purpose and motivation for the study, the problem, the data collection methodology and analysis, significant results and implications of the research.

Provides background information for the research (i.e. the problem being addressed) and is typically structured from general information to narrow or focused ideas with your research question/s or hypotheses at the narrow end.

The Introduction should be about 10% of your proposal.

Imagine you are writing for a general reader rather than an expert audience. The Introduction includes a brief review of relevant literature or knowledge in the field, so that you are able to present a gap in existing knowledge and, therefore, the significance and originality of your research.

Finally, articulate the scope of your research (or what you will not be doing) to limit your task. Your research question/s should encapsulate the primary question/s you aim to solve.

Synthesises the literature in your field. Some disciplines will expect to see this in the Introduction but others will want it placed in this ‘stand-alone’ section (especially in more Humanities-based fields). Again, it could be structured from broad to narrow, so literature on the more general aspects of your topic could come first, narrowing down to published work on your particular area of interest. You might end this section by including a short summary of the main themes you have identified from the literature.

Includes a description and rationale for the methods of data collection and analysis, and the materials you will use in your research. Use subheadings if possible ( i.e. Data Collection, Data Analysis, Ethical Considerations etc.) and write with a future aspect, ( i.e. The research will initially examine water treatment processes in... )

Details any results that you may already have resulting from previous Honours or Masters’ research work, or perhaps from a pilot study. It is important to relate these results to the critical framework of your intended new research project.

Lists the stages of the research project in timeline, spreadsheet or tabular format, and the deadlines for completion of these stages or tasks. You should include any anticipated challenges to completion.

Outlines the proposed chapters of the thesis and the content of each chapter in several lines or a paragraph, including a Table of Contents.

Relates the expected outcomes of your research to the aims expressed in the Introduction so that the need for the study and the contribution to knowledge is clear.

Provides all the resources cited in your resource proposal using a referencing format favoured by your faculty or discipline. Do not list resources that are not directly referred to in your Proposal.

Writing the Research Proposal

How much should i write.

A research proposal is usually quite a bit longer than other written academic genres. In the Humanities, it could be around 10,000 words or even longer (excluding the Reference List); whereas those from more Science-oriented disciplines may be shorter.

What should I begin with?

Similar to other academic genres, writing the research proposal is a process. If you are proposing a ‘recycled’ topic that builds on previous assignments already written on the same topic, you might spend some time re-reading these. However, if you are starting a ‘fresh’ project you might consider two key questions:

  • What am I really interested in finding out about my research topic?
  • How am I going to do this in practice? Brainstorm responses to these questions under a strict time limit – say 30 minutes.

Then leave this ‘free-writing’ for at least 24 hours before reviewing it for a possible more polished second draft.

How should I approach the literature?

Reviewing the academic literature on your topic is one of the most critical stages of your research proposal. This section goes beyond a simple summary of everything written on a subject. Instead, it is a critical synthesis of materials that illuminates selected academic literature on your topic. Your coverage of the literature should reflect the argument or perspective that you have set out in your research question/s.

Try the following techniques for dealing with the literature:

  • Develop a theme or series of themes from your broad reading, referencing the work of relevant authors who support your position or who provide counter-arguments against your point/s.
  • Limit excessive quoting. Too many direct quotations will dilute your authority over the topic.
  • Avoid beginning paragraphs with “Jones argues …”; “Smith states …” This approach risks losing a sense of your writer’s authority to the work of others. Instead, provide an overview of the paragraph in a topic sentence written in your own writer’s voice.

Adapted from Rudestam and Newton (2015) as cited in Paltridge and Starfield (2020). Thesis and dissertation writing in a second language: A handbook for students and their advisers. Routledge.

Tips for writing

  • Avoid language that is overly hesitant or tentative (i.e. ‘It seems that…’, ‘It is hoped that …’). Instead, use confident language when you feel able to (i.e. ‘It is clear that…’, ‘I assert that …’).
  • Break up large blocks of text into smaller sections using sub-headings and bullet-points.
  • Anticipate possible problems with, or limitations of, your research. Address these issues directly for your own benefit as well as to improve the entire proposal.
  • Make your proposal is easy for readers to skim read. Never assume your readers will read your work in a ‘logical’ order. Use sub-headings and restate key ideas to guide the reader through your writing.
  • Find copies of other Research Proposals in your field and study the way they:
  • devise titles.
  • structure their proposal.
  • use discipline-specific language.
  • Take a note of anything else you notice. You might ask your potential supervisor/s for models of previously submitted proposals or search for relevant examples online (look for examples from reputable .edu or .org. web addresses)

Remember, your research proposal should demonstrate:

  • the feasibility and logical foundations of your project
  • a well-focussed research question, set of research objectives, or hypothesis
  • the width and depth of the academic literature on your topic
  • understanding of current issues or debates on your topic
  • justification of your project through the literature
  • a match between the methodology and / or methods and your research question/s

Adapted from Cadman (2002) as cited in Paltridge, B. and Starfield, S. (2020). Thesis and dissertation writing in a second language: A handbook for students and their advisers. Routledge.

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Research Methods in Dentistry pp 87–114 Cite as

Writing a Research Proposal

  • Fahimeh Tabatabaei 3 &
  • Lobat Tayebi 3  
  • First Online: 10 April 2022

610 Accesses

A research proposal is a roadmap that brings the researcher closer to the objectives, takes the research topic from a purely subjective mind, and manifests an objective plan. It shows us what steps we need to take to reach the objective, what questions we should answer, and how much time we need. It is a framework based on which you can perform your research in a well-organized and timely manner. In other words, by writing a research proposal, you get a map that shows the direction to the destination (answering the research question). If the proposal is poorly prepared, after spending a lot of energy and money, you may realize that the result of the research has nothing to do with the initial objective, and the study may end up nowhere. Therefore, writing the proposal shows that the researcher is aware of the proper research and can justify the significance of his/her idea.

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How to Write a Research Proposal: Template, Format, Tips

Learn how to write a research proposal that makes you stand out from the crowd, get the funding you need, and gain entry into your dream academic institution.

proposal writing of research

John McTale

14 minute read

How to write a research proposal

You’ve put a lot of thought into that research project. You know it’s importan. The problem? Nobody else does. And no one is willing to fund it. Yet.

Research proposals are nerve-racking, notoriously difficult to write, and for good reason - they have a major impact on your academic career.

The best institutions and labs have thousands of talented researchers fighting to get in. And their most powerful weapon to get ahead of the pack is their research proposal.

So, how do you write a proposal that helps you outperform other applicants?

This guide will help you write stress-free research proposals that land the funding you deserve and launch your academic career .

What is a research proposal?

A research proposal is a formal academic document that outlines your research project and requests support for that project: either by funding or agreeing to supervise your research.

The main objective of a research proposal is to explain what you’re planning to research and why it’s worth researching. Research proposals are most commonly used in academia or across non-academic scientific organizations. Of course, no two research proposals are identical—in fact, those can vary greatly depending on the level of study you’re at, your field, or the exact nature of your project.

Still, there are some general requirements that all great proposals have to meet and must-have sections to include. This article will focus particularly on writing research proposals for academic grants at postgraduate level or PhD applications. However, even if you’re writing a thesis or a dissertation proposal, most of the same rules apply—it’s just that your proposal might not have to be as detailed and comprehensive. Speaking of which...

How long should a research proposal be?

Most research proposals in humanities and social sciences are between 10 and 25 pages long. Technical or scientific proposals might require you to include detailed specifications and more supporting documentation and can therefore be significantly longer. That said, each institution might have its own guidelines and requirements for research proposals and those often include the word count range. If that’s the case, you obviously have to play by the rules.

Try Storydoc for research proposals

If you want to add some flair to your research proposal and immediately stand out from hundreds of other, identically-looking documents, take our interactive proposal maker for a spin and create a visually stunning summary of your proposal. Storydoc is 100% free to use for verified .edu email addresses.

Alright, we covered the theoretical part. Time for some practical knowledge!

Here’s how to write a research proposal:

1. write an introduction to present the subject of your research.

“Wow, I can’t wait to see the outcome of this study!” This is the kind of response you want your research proposal introduction to receive. How to make that happen? Outline your research proposal intro around these four key issues:

  • What is the research problem?
  • Who is this problem relevant to (general society, fellow researchers, specialized professionals, etc.)?
  • What is currently known about the problem and what key pieces are missing from the current state of knowledge?
  • Why should anyone care about the potential outcomes?

The easiest way to write a captivating intro to a research proposal is to follow a four-paragraph format, where each paragraph addresses one of these questions. Let’s see a practical example. (Yes, I made it up, but it works as a convenient point of reference.)

Sample outline for a research proposal introduction

The problem Investigating the impact of remote work on new joiners to previously in-house teams. Who it’s relevant to Human resources professionals, workspace psychologists, working population, business management specialists and scholars. What’s currently known There is existing research about the impact of remote work on team morale and productivity, but no research has been centered around people joining fully-remote teams that had previously worked in-house and the implications of such a situation for new employees' mental health and sense of belonging. Why should anyone care? In the era of COVID, many offices have switched to remote-only work yet they’re still hiring new employees. The findings of this study might suggest a need to change onboarding practices and HR management techniques in order to aid employee satisfaction which, in turn, can help improve work performance, NPS scores and overall business results.

2. Explain the Context and Background

Whether or not you’ll need this section depends on how detailed your proposal is. If a research problem at hand is particularly complicated or advanced, it’s usually best to add this section. It will usually be entitled “Background and Significance,” or “Rationale.” For shorter proposals, most of the actual background will have been already included in the introduction. How to write the “Background” section of a research proposal?

  • Describe the broader area of research that your project fits into.
  • Focus on the gaps in existing studies and explain the need to fill these gaps. That said…
  • Show how your research will build upon existing knowledge.
  • Explain your hypothesis and the rationale behind it.
  • Establish the limits of your study (in other words, explain what the research is not about).
  • Finally, reiterate why your research is important and what benefits it can reap. In other words, provide the answer to the dreaded “So what?” question.

If your research project is complex and highly technical, describing the background in a separate section is particularly helpful: this way, you can make your introduction follow a free-flowing, “sexy” narrative, and let the “Background” part do the heavy lifting. That said— Don’t make this part too detailed either. Assume you’re dealing with a very busy reader who won’t have the time to get into your methodology and timeline but still wants some hard evidence behind the relevance of your project.

3. Provide a Detailed Literature Review

Arguably, the most important (and, yes, you guessed it, the most difficult) part of the whole document— One where you have to prove that you know *all* there is to know about the topic of interest and that your research will help advance the whole field of study. The Literature Review section is, in essence, a mini-dissertation. It has to follow a logical progression and put forward the argument for your study in relation to existing research: describe and summarize what has already been discussed and demonstrate that your research goes beyond that. In the digital era of easy access to information , it might be difficult to discuss all of the existing research on your subject in the Literature Review so be critical about what studies or papers you choose to include.

But there’s a handy set of rules to help you pick the right ones—the gold standard for academic Literature Review. It’s called “ the five Cs ” and refers to the following practices:

  • Cite directly from the sources to avoid digressions and drifting away from the actual literature.
  • Compare different theories or arguments (in arts and humanities), methodologies and findings (in sciences and tech).
  • Contrast the approaches discussed above: highlight the main differences and areas of disagreement among scholars in the field.
  • Critique the research of the past. Don’t shy away from pointing out inaccuracies, mutually exclusive findings, or controversies. At the same time, give credit where it’s due. Identify the findings you find most convincing, reliable, or accurate.
  • Connect the whole of the literature reviewed to your own project. Are you basing your assumptions on any previous findings? Is your goal to confront, challenge, or even debunk certain pieces of research? Either way, you need to prove that your study will be intertwined with existing ones, not floating in an academic void.

How to structure your Literature Review?

  • The easiest and most reader-friendly way to format the Literature Review section is to devote each paragraph to a separate piece of literature.
  • For scientific projects, it’s best to go from the more general to the more specific studies.
  • For projects in arts and humanities, a historical (or chronological) progression is the most commonly-used method as it helps develop an easy-to-follow narrative.

The hard part? DONE. (No, it really is). All of what comes next boils down to technicalities and formal requirements. If they’re sold on your vision by now, you just need to show how you’re planning to achieve what you set out to do.

4. List Your Key Aims and Objectives

This section can be called “Research Questions,” or just “Aims and Objectives.” Compared to the previous ones, it should be very succinct and to-the-point. Whether you need to write about your aims and objectives or formulate those as research questions usually depends on the formal requirements of the institution to which you’re applying. The key aspect of getting this part right is distinguishing between the three: an aim, an objective, and a research question. Here’s how:

  • Aims describe what you want to achieve. An aim is usually stated in a broad term.
  • Objectives are the specific, measurable outputs you need to produce in order to achieve your aim. There are usually multiple objectives associated with a single aim.
  • Questions are a slightly more specific way to formulate your objectives—in essence, very similar in meaning, just slightly different in format.

Again, here’s a practical example. And again, it’s simplified and not based on actual research, just here to let you better understand the disambiguation.

Sample research aims and objectives for a research proposal

Research Aim

To understand the importance of the quality of food in school canteens on the nutritional health of children aged 6–10. Objectives:

  • Investigate the weekly menus across 28 school canteens in New Jersey with a focus on key nutritional ingredients and portion sizes.
  • Conduct desk-research of state policies regulating nutrition in primary schools.
  • Interview the parents of children participating in the study about their children’s nutritional habits outside of school.
  • Evaluate the key health-related metrics in children participating in the study.

As I mentioned, if such are the formal requirements, your objectives can easily be translated into research questions. For instance: “Conduct desk-research of state policies regulating nutrition in primary schools.” Becomes: “What state-wide policies regulating nutrition in primary schools are there in place in the state of New Jersey?”

Remember the five Cs of literature review? When it comes to your research objectives and questions, there’s another handy acronym to serve as a sanity check for you: SMART . It stands for:

  • Specific: is the objective well-defined and can be achieved with a singular action?
  • Measurable: will you end up with quantified, verifiable data?
  • Achievable: considering your resources and capacity, is it realistic for you to reach your objective?
  • Relevant: does this objective actually contribute to your research aim?
  • Timebound: do you have enough time to complete this objective, in relation to the overall timeline of your project?

5. Outline the Research Methods and Design

The grant decision makers already know what you’re trying to achieve and have a general idea about how you’re planning to achieve that. This section should prove to them that you’re well equipped (both in terms of your skills and resources) to conduct the research. The main goal is to convince the reader that your methods are adequate and appropriate for the specific topic. Any idea why “specific” is in bold? Well, this is one of those parts of a research proposal that differs the most across different documents. There’s an ideal methodology for any particular academic project and no two kinds of research design are the same. Make sure your methodology matches all of your desired outcomes.

Some usual components of the Research Methods section include:

Research type:

  • Qualitative or quantitative ,
  • Collecting original data or basing your research on primary and secondary sources,
  • Descriptive, correlational, or experimental.

Population and sample:

  • The whole population of individuals or entities that meet eligibility criteria to be included in your research,
  • The subset of the population that is going to be included in the particular study.

Data collection:

  • What methods ( surveys , clinical analysis, biochemical analysis, interviews, experiments) will you use?
  • Why are those methods optimal for achieving the desired objectives?
  • How can you ensure that the chosen method eliminates bias?

Data analysis:

  • How will you sort and code the data obtained?
  • What tools, algorithms, or techniques will you use to analyze the data?

Operational issues:

  • How much time will you need to collect the research material?
  • How are you planning to gain access to the desired set of data or information?
  • What obstacles might you encounter and how will you overcome them?

Now, I can’t stress that enough— This part of a research proposal will vary the most from one proposal to another. The outline above will work good for sciences (both social and exact), perhaps not equally great for arts and humanities. At the end of the day, you know your project better than anyone else. You’ll need to make the judgement call as to what methods are best.

6. (Optional) Discuss Ethical Considerations

No, this part isn’t optional because you might just disregard ethics or choose to be the evil scientist. But let’s face it— There aren’t going to be many ethical issues to consider if you’re investigating the vector shapes of tree leaves’ shadows (I kid you not, it’s a legit research issue, my friend did his PhD in Physics about it and absolutely killed it). But if your research has to do with humans, especially in fields such as medicine or psychology, it might introduce ethical problems in data collection , not often encountered by other researchers. You need to take extra care to protect your participants’ rights, get their explicit consent to process the data, as well as consult the research project with the authorities of your academic institution—for that purpose, your proposal needs to contain detailed information regarding these aspects.

7. Present Preliminary or Desired Implications and Contribution to Knowledge

This is the last argument-based part of your proposal. After that, everything will be about “boring” technicalities. This also means, it’s your last chance to convince the decision makers to back your project. Think about it this way— You already explained what exactly is going to be the scope of your project. You detailed the current state of knowledge and identified the most important gaps. You told them what you’re hoping to find out and how you’re planning to do it. Now, talk about the actual, feasible difference your finding can make. How your research can influence the future of the field, or even the very narrow niche. In other words, describe the implications of your research such as:

  • How can your research challenge the current underlying assumptions on the subject matter?
  • How can it inform future research and what new areas of research can it propel?
  • What will the influence of your research be on policy decisions?
  • What sorts of individuals, organizations, or other entities can your research benefit?
  • What will be improved and optimized on the basis of your research?

All that while keeping one crucial thing in mind— Talking about the practical implications of your study shouldn’t sound like daydreaming. However “preliminary” or “desired” the said implications are, you need to base those on very clear evidence. In short, this section is about:

  • Reiterating the gaps in the current state of knowledge.
  • Showing how you’ll contribute to a new understanding of certain problems or even a scientific breakthrough.
  • Clearly showing how your findings can be acted upon and what feasible change those actions will bring about.

And yes, it does sound lofty, but it’s true. As a researcher, you’re expanding the scope of human comprehension! Don’t shy away from highlighting the actual change you can bring to the world (or even just your narrow field, it’s just as valuable).

8. Detail Your Budget and Funding Requirements

If you do have a supervisor already, it’s best to consult this part with them. They’ve most likely submitted similar documents to the institution you’re reaching out to and will be able to provide invaluable insights on how much you can realistically expect to get paid. If you’re at a different stage of the application process, here are the key elements you should include in the funding requirements section:

  • Operational costs: materials, equipment, access to labs, any software you might need, etc.
  • Travel costs: including transportation, accommodation, and living costs.
  • Staff: if you’ll need human assistants to help you carry out your research, you’ll most likely need to pay them. It might be the case that junior researchers or students will be able to help you to obtain necessary credits for graduation, but it’s still a cost for their institution you’ll need to include in the budget.
  • Allowance: you’ll most likely have to give up on other duties that help you pay bills (be that teaching, publishing, or administrative work) but you still need those bills paid. Treat your allowance as a regular salary you need to make a living.

Note: if possible, do leave yourself some wiggle room and request for conditional extra allowance for unpredictable disasters, delays, or unexpected cost rises.

9. Provide a Timetable

Certain grant schemes come with predefined timetables (e.g. placements offered for 3, 6, or 9 months) and in such cases there’s no need for a very detailed timeline—all you need to do is convince them that the period of time for which you’ll be receiving funding is sufficient for you to complete the project. When you’re writing a proposal for a standalone project, detailing a timeline can help support your budget. The most common format is, you guessed it, a table. Divide your research into stages, list, in bullet points, what actions you’ll need to take at each stage, and list rough deadlines. I know I don’t have to tell you that but please, keep Murphy's Law in mind. Perhaps not everything that can go wrong will, but, well, expect the unexpected and be conservative with deadlines. All in all, it's easier to explain why you no longer need 3 months worth of funding than it is to ask for 6 months’ extra allowance. Don’t let delays derail your project. That’s all I have to say.

10. End with a List of Citations

This one really is self-explanatory, isn’t it. As a scholar, you need to cite the sources you’re referring to (no matter how harshly critical you are of some of those:)). Citations in research proposals can either be included in the form of references (so only the pieces of literature you actually cited) or bibliography (everything that informed your proposal). As is the case with many other elements of the proposal, the correct format depends almost exclusively on the institution you’re applying to, so make sure to check it with them or consult with your supervisor about which one is preferred. The same goes for the style of referencing. Most US universities use APA or Chicago style but each has its own set of rules and preferences. Double-check with the list of guidelines on their website. When in doubt, reach out to the head of the department you’re wishing to work with. (No, using the wrong style won’t ruin your chances but I don’t think I need to tell you how particular certain academics are so let’s not step on any toes, shall we?)

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And that’s a wrap!

To sum up, this is what a typical research proposal should include:

  • Introduction
  • Context and Background
  • Literature Review
  • Aims and Objectives or Research Questions
  • Methods and Design
  • Ethical Considerations
  • Contributions to Knowledge or Implications

Writing a research proposal can be hard and feel like a never-ending process. It really isn’t much different from writing an actual thesis or dissertation. Yup, this is my roundabout way of saying: don’t get disheartened. Allow yourself a few months up to half a year to complete your proposal, follow the steps outlined in this guide and, whenever in doubt, remember to reach out to senior researchers for help. Keeping my fingers crossed for your proposal!

proposal writing of research

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Research Method

Home » Proposal – Types, Examples, and Writing Guide

Proposal – Types, Examples, and Writing Guide

Table of Contents



Proposal is a formal document or presentation that outlines a plan, idea, or project and seeks to persuade others to support or adopt it. Proposals are commonly used in business, academia, and various other fields to propose new initiatives, solutions to problems, research studies, or business ventures.

Proposal Layout

While the specific layout of a proposal may vary depending on the requirements or guidelines provided by the recipient, there are some common sections that are typically included in a standard proposal. Here’s a typical layout for a proposal:

  • The title of the proposal.
  • Your name or the name of your organization.
  • Date of submission.
  • A list of sections or headings with corresponding page numbers for easy navigation.
  • An overview of the proposal, highlighting its key points and benefits.
  • Summarize the problem or opportunity.
  • Outline the proposed solution or project.
  • Mention the expected outcomes or deliverables.
  • Keep it concise and compelling.
  • Provide background information about the issue or context.
  • Explain the purpose and objectives of the proposal.
  • Clarify the problem statement or opportunity that the proposal aims to address.
  • Describe in detail the methodology , approach , or plan to achieve the objectives.
  • Outline the steps or tasks involved in implementing the proposal.
  • Explain how the proposed solution or project will be executed.
  • Include a timeline or schedule to demonstrate the project’s timeline.
  • Define the specific activities, tasks, or services to be provided.
  • Clarify the deliverables and expected outcomes.
  • Mention any limitations or exclusions, if applicable.
  • Provide a detailed breakdown of the costs associated with the proposal.
  • Include itemized expenses such as personnel, materials, equipment, and any other relevant costs.
  • If applicable, include a justification for each cost.
  • Introduce the individuals or team members involved in the proposal.
  • Highlight their qualifications, expertise, and experience relevant to the project.
  • Include their roles and responsibilities.
  • Specify how the success of the proposal will be measured.
  • Define evaluation criteria and metrics to assess the outcomes.
  • Explain how progress will be tracked and reported.
  • Recap the main points of the proposal.
  • Reiterate the benefits and advantages of the proposed solution.
  • Emphasize the value and importance of supporting or adopting the proposal.
  • Include any additional documents, references, charts, graphs, or data that support your proposal.
  • These can include resumes, letters of support, financial projections, or relevant research materials.

Types of Types of Proposals

When it comes to proposals, there are various types depending on the context and purpose. Here are some common types of proposals:

Business Proposal

This type of proposal is used in the business world to present a plan, idea, or project to potential clients, investors, or partners. It typically includes an executive summary, problem statement, proposed solution, timeline, budget, and anticipated outcomes.

Project Proposal

A project proposal is a detailed document that outlines the objectives, scope, methodology, deliverables, and budget of a specific project. It is used to seek approval and funding from stakeholders or clients.

Research Proposal

Research proposals are commonly used in academic or scientific settings. They outline the research objectives, methodology, timeline, expected outcomes, and potential significance of a research study. These proposals are submitted to funding agencies, universities, or research institutions.

Grant Proposal

Non-profit organizations, researchers, or individuals seeking funding for a project or program often write grant proposals. These proposals provide a detailed plan of the project, including goals, methods, budget, and expected outcomes, to convince grant-making bodies to provide financial support.

Sales Proposal

Sales proposals are used by businesses to pitch their products or services to potential customers. They typically include information about the product/service, pricing, features, benefits, and a persuasive argument to encourage the recipient to make a purchase.

Sponsorship Proposal

When seeking sponsorship for an event, sports team, or individual, a sponsorship proposal is created. It outlines the benefits for the sponsor, the exposure they will receive, and the financial or in-kind support required.

Marketing Proposal

A marketing proposal is developed by marketing agencies or professionals to present their strategies and tactics to potential clients. It includes an analysis of the target market, proposed marketing activities, budget, and expected results.

Policy Proposal

In the realm of government or public policy, individuals or organizations may create policy proposals to suggest new laws, regulations, or changes to existing policies. These proposals typically provide an overview of the issue, the proposed solution, supporting evidence, and potential impacts.

Training Proposal

Organizations often create training proposals to propose a training program for their employees. These proposals outline the training objectives, topics to be covered, training methods, resources required, and anticipated outcomes.

Partnership Proposal

When two or more organizations or individuals wish to collaborate or form a partnership, a partnership proposal is used to present the benefits, shared goals, responsibilities, and terms of the proposed partnership.

Event Proposal

Event planners or individuals organizing an event, such as a conference, concert, or wedding, may create an event proposal. It includes details about the event concept, venue, logistics, budget, marketing plan, and anticipated attendee experience.

Technology Proposal

Technology proposals are used to present new technological solutions, system upgrades, or IT projects to stakeholders or decision-makers. These proposals outline the technology requirements, implementation plan, costs, and anticipated benefits.

Construction Proposal

Contractors or construction companies create construction proposals to bid on construction projects. These proposals include project specifications, cost estimates, timelines, materials, and construction methodologies.

Book Proposal

Authors or aspiring authors create book proposals to pitch their book ideas to literary agents or publishers. These proposals include a synopsis of the book, target audience, marketing plan, author’s credentials, and sample chapters.

Social Media Proposal

Social media professionals or agencies create social media proposals to present their strategies for managing social media accounts, creating content, and growing online presence. These proposals include an analysis of the current social media presence, proposed tactics, metrics for success, and pricing.

Training and Development Proposal

Similar to training proposals, these proposals focus on the overall development and growth of employees within an organization. They may include plans for leadership development, skill enhancement, or professional certification programs.

Consulting Proposal

Consultants create consulting proposals to present their services and expertise to potential clients. These proposals outline the problem statement, proposed approach, scope of work, timeline, deliverables, and fees.

Policy Advocacy Proposal

Organizations or individuals seeking to influence public policy or advocate for a particular cause create policy advocacy proposals. These proposals present research, evidence, and arguments to support a specific policy change or reform.

Website Design Proposal

Web designers or agencies create website design proposals to pitch their services to clients. These proposals outline the project scope, design concepts, development process, timeline, and pricing.

Environmental Proposal

Environmental proposals are created to address environmental issues or propose conservation initiatives. These proposals may include strategies for renewable energy, waste management, biodiversity preservation, or sustainable practices.

Health and Wellness Proposal

Proposals related to health and wellness can cover a range of topics, such as wellness programs, community health initiatives, healthcare system improvements, or health education campaigns.

Human Resources (HR) Proposal

HR professionals may create HR proposals to introduce new policies, employee benefits programs, performance evaluation systems, or employee training initiatives within an organization.

Nonprofit Program Proposal

Nonprofit organizations seeking funding or support for a specific program or project create nonprofit program proposals. These proposals outline the program’s objectives, activities, target beneficiaries, budget, and expected outcomes.

Government Contract Proposal

When bidding for government contracts, businesses or contractors create government contract proposals. These proposals include details about the project, compliance with regulations, cost estimates, and qualifications.

Product Development Proposal

Businesses or individuals seeking to develop and launch a new product present product development proposals. These proposals outline the product concept, market analysis, development process, production costs, and marketing strategies.

Feasibility Study Proposal

Feasibility study proposals are used to assess the viability and potential success of a project or business idea. These proposals include market research, financial analysis, risk assessment, and recommendations for implementation.

Educational Program Proposal

Educational institutions or organizations create educational program proposals to introduce new courses, curricula, or educational initiatives. These proposals outline the program objectives, learning outcomes, curriculum design, and resource requirements.

Social Service Proposal

Organizations involved in social services, such as healthcare, community development, or social welfare, create social service proposals to seek funding, support, or partnerships. These proposals outline the social issue, proposed interventions, anticipated impacts, and sustainability plans.

Proposal Writing Guide

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you with proposal writing:

  • Understand the Requirements: Before you begin writing your proposal, carefully review any guidelines, instructions, or requirements provided by the recipient or organization. This will ensure that you meet their expectations and include all necessary information.
  • Research and Gather Information: Conduct thorough research on the topic or project you are proposing. Collect relevant data, statistics, case studies, and any supporting evidence that strengthens your proposal. This will demonstrate your knowledge and credibility.
  • Define the Problem or Opportunity: Clearly identify and articulate the problem or opportunity that your proposal aims to address. Provide a concise and compelling explanation of why it is important and relevant.
  • State Your Objectives: Outline the specific objectives or goals of your proposal. What do you hope to achieve? Make sure your objectives are clear, measurable, and aligned with the needs of the recipient.
  • Present Your Solution: Propose your solution or approach to the problem. Describe how your solution is unique, innovative, and effective. Provide a step-by-step plan or methodology, highlighting key activities, deliverables, and timelines.
  • Demonstrate Benefits and Impact: Clearly outline the benefits and impact of your proposal. Explain how it will add value, solve the problem, or create positive change. Use evidence and examples to support your claims.
  • Develop a Budget: If applicable, include a detailed budget that outlines the costs associated with implementing your proposal. Be transparent and realistic about expenses, and clearly explain how the funding will be allocated.
  • Address Potential Risks and Mitigation Strategies: Identify any potential risks, challenges, or obstacles that may arise during the implementation of your proposal. Offer strategies or contingency plans to mitigate these risks and ensure the success of your project.
  • Provide Supporting Documentation: Include any supporting documents that add credibility to your proposal. This may include resumes or bios of key team members, letters of support or partnership, relevant certifications, or past success stories.
  • Write Clearly and Concisely: Use clear and concise language to communicate your ideas effectively. Avoid jargon or technical terms that may confuse or alienate the reader. Structure your proposal with headings, subheadings, and bullet points to enhance readability.
  • Proofread and Edit: Carefully review your proposal for grammar, spelling, and formatting errors. Ensure that it is well-organized, coherent, and flows logically. Consider asking someone else to review it for feedback and suggestions.
  • Include a Professional Cover Letter: If appropriate, attach a cover letter introducing your proposal. This letter should summarize the key points, express your enthusiasm, and provide contact information for further discussion.
  • Follow Submission Instructions: Follow the specific instructions for submitting your proposal. This may include submitting it electronically, mailing it, or delivering it in person. Pay attention to submission deadlines and any additional requirements.
  • Follow Up: After submitting your proposal, consider following up with the recipient to ensure they received it and address any questions or concerns they may have. This shows your commitment and professionalism.

Purpose of Proposal

The purpose of a proposal is to present a plan, idea, project, or solution to a specific audience in a persuasive and compelling manner. Proposals are typically written documents that aim to:

  • Convince and Persuade: The primary purpose of a proposal is to convince the recipient or decision-makers to accept and support the proposed plan or idea. It is important to present a strong case, providing evidence, logical reasoning, and clear benefits to demonstrate why the proposal should be approved.
  • Seek Approval or Funding: Proposals often seek approval or funding for a project, program, research study, business venture, or initiative. The purpose is to secure the necessary resources, whether financial, human, or technical, to implement the proposed endeavor.
  • Solve Problems or Address Opportunities: Proposals are often developed in response to a problem, challenge, or opportunity. The purpose is to provide a well-thought-out solution or approach that effectively addresses the issue or leverages the opportunity for positive outcomes.
  • Present a Comprehensive Plan : Proposals outline a comprehensive plan, including objectives, strategies, methodologies, timelines, budgets, and anticipated outcomes. The purpose is to demonstrate the feasibility, practicality, and potential success of the proposed plan.
  • Inform and Educate: Proposals provide detailed information and analysis to educate the audience about the subject matter. They offer a thorough understanding of the problem or opportunity, the proposed solution, and the potential impact.
  • Establish Credibility: Proposals aim to establish the credibility and expertise of the individual or organization presenting the proposal. They demonstrate the knowledge, experience, qualifications, and track record that make the proposer capable of successfully executing the proposed plan.
  • I nitiate Collaboration or Partnerships: Proposals may serve as a means to initiate collaboration, partnerships, or contractual agreements. They present an opportunity for individuals, organizations, or entities to work together towards a common goal or project.
  • Provide a Basis for Decision-Making: Proposals offer the information and analysis necessary for decision-makers to evaluate the merits and feasibility of the proposed plan. They provide a framework for informed decision-making, allowing stakeholders to assess the risks, benefits, and potential outcomes.

When to write a Proposal

Proposals are typically written in various situations when you need to present a plan, idea, or project to a specific audience. Here are some common scenarios when you may need to write a proposal:

  • Business Opportunities: When you identify a business opportunity, such as a potential client or partnership, you may write a proposal to pitch your products, services, or collaboration ideas.
  • Funding or Grants: If you require financial support for a project, research study, non-profit program, or any initiative, you may need to write a proposal to seek funding from government agencies, foundations, or philanthropic organizations.
  • Project Planning: When you plan to undertake a project, whether it’s a construction project, software development, event organization, or any other endeavor, writing a project proposal helps outline the objectives, deliverables, timelines, and resource requirements.
  • Research Studies: In academic or scientific settings, researchers write research proposals to present their study objectives, research questions, methodology, anticipated outcomes, and potential significance to funding bodies, universities, or research institutions.
  • Business Development: If you’re expanding your business, launching a new product or service, or entering a new market, writing a business proposal helps outline your plans, strategies, market analysis, and financial projections to potential investors or partners.
  • Partnerships and Collaborations: When seeking partnerships, collaborations, or joint ventures with other organizations or individuals, writing a partnership proposal helps communicate the benefits, shared goals, responsibilities, and terms of the proposed partnership.
  • Policy or Advocacy Initiatives: When advocating for a particular cause, addressing public policy issues, or proposing policy changes, writing a policy proposal helps outline the problem, proposed solutions, supporting evidence, and potential impacts.
  • Contract Bidding: If you’re bidding for contracts, whether in government or private sectors, writing a proposal is necessary to present your capabilities, expertise, resources, and pricing to potential clients or procurement departments.
  • Consulting or Service Contracts: If you offer consulting services, professional expertise, or specialized services, writing a proposal helps outline your approach, deliverables, fees, and timeline to potential clients.

Importance of Proposal

Proposals play a significant role in numerous areas and have several important benefits. Here are some key reasons why proposals are important:

  • Communication and Clarity: Proposals serve as a formal means of communication, allowing you to clearly articulate your plan, idea, or project to others. By presenting your proposal in a structured format, you ensure that your message is conveyed effectively, minimizing misunderstandings and confusion.
  • Decision-Making Tool: Proposals provide decision-makers with the necessary information and analysis to make informed choices. They offer a comprehensive overview of the proposal, including objectives, strategies, timelines, budgets, and anticipated outcomes. This enables stakeholders to evaluate the proposal’s feasibility, alignment with goals, and potential return on investment.
  • Accountability and Documentation: Proposals serve as a written record of commitments, responsibilities, and expectations. Once a proposal is approved, it becomes a reference point for all parties involved, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and accountable for their roles and obligations.
  • Planning and Organization: Writing a proposal requires thorough planning and organization. It compels you to define objectives, outline strategies, consider potential risks, and create a timeline. This process helps you think critically about the proposal, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and areas that require further refinement.
  • Persuasion and Influence: Proposals are persuasive documents that aim to convince others to support or approve your plan. By presenting a well-constructed proposal, supported by evidence, logical reasoning, and benefits, you enhance your ability to influence decision-makers and stakeholders.
  • Resource Allocation and Funding: Many proposals are written to secure resources, whether financial, human, or technical. A compelling proposal can increase the likelihood of obtaining funding, grants, or other resources needed to execute a project or initiative successfully.
  • Partnership and Collaboration Opportunities: Proposals enable you to seek partnerships, collaborations, or joint ventures with other organizations or individuals. By presenting a clear proposal that outlines the benefits, shared goals, responsibilities, and terms, you increase the likelihood of forming mutually beneficial relationships.
  • Professionalism and Credibility: A well-written proposal demonstrates professionalism, expertise, and credibility. It showcases your ability to analyze complex issues, develop effective strategies, and present ideas in a concise and persuasive manner. This can enhance your reputation and increase trust among stakeholders.
  • Continual Improvement: The process of writing proposals encourages you to refine your ideas, explore alternatives, and seek feedback. It provides an opportunity for reflection and refinement, ultimately leading to continuous improvement in your plans and approaches.

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Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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Writing Your Research Proposal

5 Essentials You Need To Keep In Mind

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewer: Eunice Rautenbach (DTech) | June 2023

Writing a high-quality research proposal that “sells” your study and wins the favour (and approval) of your university is no small task. In this post, we’ll share five critical dos and don’ts to help you navigate the proposal writing process.

This post is based on an extract from our online course , Research Proposal Bootcamp . In the course, we walk you through the process of developing an A-grade proposal, step by step, with plain-language explanations and loads of examples. If it’s your first time writing a research proposal, you definitely want to check that out. 

Overview: 5 Proposal Writing Essentials

  • Understand your university’s requirements and restrictions
  • Have a clearly articulated research problem
  • Clearly communicate the feasibility of your research
  • Pay very close attention to ethics policies
  • Focus on writing critically and concisely

1. Understand the rules of the game

All too often, we see students going through all the effort of finding a unique and valuable topic and drafting a meaty proposal, only to realise that they’ve missed some critical information regarding their university’s requirements. 

Every university is different, but they all have some sort of requirements or expectations regarding what students can and can’t research. For example:

  • Restrictions regarding the topic area that can be research
  • Restrictions regarding data sources – for example, primary or secondary
  • Requirements regarding methodology – for example, qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods-based research
  • And most notably, there can be varying expectations regarding topic originality – does your topic need to be super original or not?

The key takeaway here is that you need to thoroughly read through any briefing documents provided by your university. Also, take a look at past dissertations or theses from your program to get a feel for what the norms are . Long story short, make sure you understand the rules of the game before you start playing.

Webinar - How to write a research proposal for a dissertation or thesis

2. Have a clearly articulated research problem

As we’ve explained many times on this blog, all good research starts with a strong research problem – without a problem, you don’t have a clear justification for your research. Therefore, it’s essential that you have clarity regarding the research problem you’re going to address before you start drafting your proposal. From the research problem , the research gap emerges and from the research gap, your research aims , objectives and research questions emerge. These then guide your entire dissertation from start to end. 

Needless to say, all of this starts with the literature – in other words, you have to spend time reading the existing literature to understand the current state of knowledge. You can’t skip this all-important step. All too often, we see students make the mistake of trying to write up a proposal without having a clear understanding of the current state of the literature, which is just a recipe for disaster. You’ve got to take the time to understand what’s already been done before you can propose doing something new.

Positivism is rooted in the belief that knowledge can be obtained through objective observations and measurements of an external reality.

3. Demonstrate the feasibility of your research

One of the key concerns that reviewers or assessors have when deciding to approve or reject a research proposal is the practicality/feasibility of the proposed research , given the student’s resources (which are usually pretty limited). You can have a brilliant research topic that’s super original and valuable, but if there is any question about whether the project is something that you can realistically pull off, you’re going to run into issues when it comes to getting your proposal accepted.

So, what does this mean for you?

First, you need to make sure that the research topic you’ve chosen and the methodology you’re planning to use is 100% safe in terms of feasibility . In other words, you need to be super certain that you can actually pull off this study. Of greatest importance here is the data collection and analysis aspect – in other words, will you be able to get access to the data you need, and will you be able to analyse it?

Second, assuming you’re 100% confident that you can pull the research off, you need to clearly communicate that in your research proposal. To do this, you need to proactively think about all the concerns the reviewer or supervisor might have and ensure that you clearly address these in your proposal. Remember, the proposal is a one-way communication – you get one shot (per submission) to make your case, and there’s generally no Q&A opportunity . So, make it clear what you’ll be doing, what the potential risks are and how you’ll manage those risks to ensure that your study goes according to plan.

If you have the word count available, it’s a good idea to present a project plan , ideally using something like a Gantt chart. You can also consider presenting a risk register , where you detail the potential risks, their likelihood and impact, and your mitigation and response actions – this will show the assessor that you’ve really thought through the practicalities of your proposed project. If you want to learn more about project plans and risk registers, we cover these in detail in our proposal writing course, Research Proposal Bootcamp , and we also provide templates that you can use. 

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proposal writing of research

4. Pay close attention to ethics policies

This one’s a biggy – and it can often be a dream crusher for students with lofty research ideas. If there’s one thing that will sink your research proposal faster than anything else, it’s non-compliance with your university’s research ethics policy . This is simply a non-negotiable, so don’t waste your time thinking you can convince your institution otherwise. If your proposed research runs against any aspect of your institution’s ethics policies, it’s a no-go.

The ethics requirements for dissertations can vary depending on the field of study, institution, and country, so we can’t give you a list of things you need to do, but some common requirements that you should be aware of include things like:

  • Informed consent – in other words, getting permission/consent from your study’s participants and allowing them to opt out at any point
  • Privacy and confidentiality – in other words, ensuring that you manage the data securely and respect people’s privacy
  • If your research involves animals (as opposed to people), you’ll need to explain how you’ll ensure ethical treatment, how you’ll reduce harm or distress, etc.

One more thing to keep in mind is that certain types of research may be acceptable from an ethics perspective, but will require additional levels of approval . For example, if you’re planning to study any sort of vulnerable population (e.g., children, the elderly, people with mental health conditions, etc.), this may be allowed in principle but requires additional ethical scrutiny. This often involves some sort of review board or committee, which slows things down quite a bit. Situations like this aren’t proposal killers, but they can create a much more rigid environment , so you need to consider whether that works for you, given your timeline.

Pragmatism takes a more flexible approach, focusing on the potential usefulness and applicability of the research findings.

5. Write critically and concisely

The final item on the list is more generic but just as important to the success of your research proposal – that is, writing critically and concisely . 

All too often, students fall short in terms of critical writing and end up writing in a very descriptive manner instead. We’ve got a detailed blog post and video explaining the difference between these two types of writing, so we won’t go into detail here. However, the simplest way to distinguish between the two types of writing is that descriptive writing focuses on the what , while analytical writing draws out the “so what” – in other words, what’s the impact and relevance of each point that you’re making to the bigger issue at hand.

In the case of a research proposal, the core task at hand is to convince the reader that your planned research deserves a chance . To do this, you need to show the reviewer that your research will (amongst other things) be original , valuable and practical . So, when you’re writing, you need to keep this core objective front of mind and write with purpose, taking every opportunity to link what you’re writing about to that core purpose of the proposal.

The second aspect in relation to writing is to write concisely . All too often, students ramble on and use far more word count than is necessary. Part of the problem here is that their writing is just too descriptive (the previous point) and part of the issue is just a lack of editing .

The keyword here is editing – in other words, you don’t need to write the most concise version possible on your first try – if anything, we encourage you to just thought vomit as much as you can in the initial stages of writing. Once you’ve got everything down on paper, then you can get down to editing and trimming down your writing . You need to get comfortable with this process of iteration and revision with everything you write – don’t try to write the perfect first draft. First, get the thoughts out of your head and onto the paper , then edit. This is a habit that will serve you well beyond your proposal, into your actual dissertation or thesis.

Pragmatism takes a more flexible approach, focusing on the potential usefulness and applicability of the research findings.

Wrapping Up

To recap, the five essentials to keep in mind when writing up your research proposal include:

If you want to learn more about how to craft a top-notch research proposal, be sure to check out our online course for a comprehensive, step-by-step guide. Alternatively, if you’d like to get hands-on help developing your proposal, be sure to check out our private coaching service , where we hold your hand through the research journey, step by step. 

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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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ASU Lodestar Center Blog

A beginner’s guide to grant writing for nonprofits.

grant writing

In many ways, the hallmarks of a strong grant proposal are the same as the hallmarks of any good piece of writing. Factors like conciseness, voice, emotional appeal, strong subject matter and more will serve just as well in a grant proposal as they would in a high school essay. 

But grant writing also leaves more room for creativity than your traditional essay. 

While many specifications for a grant proposal are up to the funder, a host of other factors are up to the grant writer. Key creative decisions in a proposal can make or break its success. Below are some suggestions for a stronger grant proposal. 

Understand the funder

Grant applications encourage taking your reader into account. When you know which foundation or agency is reading your proposal, the content and message of a piece of writing can be tailor-made to resonate with its intended audience. Important factors such as the grantmaker’s values and priorities influence how they perceive any message. By understanding the funder before even beginning the writing process, you have the opportunity to ensure your message is the one that will stick.

To make your application resonate… 

  • Find funders who share your organization’s goals. This way, the mission that is shared in the grant proposal will already align with the values of the funder. To find the right grants, look into nonprofit news organizations and newsletters that often share grant opportunities.
  • Reach out to the funder directly. Forming a relationship with the funder first will give you a better understanding of their values and wants.
  • Write with your reader in mind. When you write your proposal, try to view your work through the lens of your prospective funder. This will save time during the initial brainstorming and revision processes. 

Know what you’re asking for 

When it comes to the problem statement, program objectives, methods and activities, budget, and other sections of the grant proposal, it is important for the thought process behind the proposal to be well-planned. To convince funders to support a new or existing program, you must demonstrate that it is already backed by in-depth research, planning and goal-setting initiatives. 

To display a strong understanding of your organizational needs… 

  • Get feedback from members of the organization. Staff and volunteers who are directly involved can ensure the grant writer has an accurate understanding of the program, its needs, and its objectives.
  • Demonstrate transparency. When asking for financial support, financial transparency is important to avoid misleading funders. Be clear in your budget planning resources and processes .
  • Create a narrative. Narrative storytelling not only demonstrates your own understanding but also assists readers in following your line of logic.

Double-check your work

While everyone makes mistakes, a grant proposal is never a good place to put that learning process on display. Errors such as spelling mistakes, inaccurate information or grammatical errors aren’t just embarrassing — they often mean the difference between receiving funding or leaving empty-handed. A 2016 study consistently found that people who make written spelling and grammatical errors are perceived as less intelligent, friendly and trustworthy than those who did not make the same errors. In a grant proposal where traits like these are under a microscope, there could be nothing worse.

To keep your work free of errors, try… 

  • Getting a second pair of eyes. After spending hours looking at a piece of writing, it can be difficult to find the errors. Get a second reader to find what you missed. 
  • Fact-checking as you go. It will still be necessary to check again, but fact-checking on the first try will ultimately save time during the revision process. 
  • Using a spell-checker. Automated spell-checkers are a writer’s best friend and many are capable of more than just catching basic errors. Consider using one while you write or during your revisions.

Grant writing is a critical process for an organization, and it should take the input of many to ensure the results are compelling and deliberate. While there is no one way to write a grant proposal, and much of the selection process is down to subjective opinion, following these guidelines may be the key to winning your next grant.

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Find out more with our grant writing courses

Securing funding for nonprofit organizations can be extremely competitive. Nonprofits need compelling proposals to receive the grants they need to achieve their missions. Whether you are a student or working professional, you will benefit from instruction by an experienced grant writer with real-world experience as they guide you through the step-by-step processes for a state and foundation proposal. During the Grant Development: State and Foundation Proposals certification program, the knowledge specialist will use interactive exercises, lectures, and discussions to demonstrate how to research and write your specific project.

Once the State and Foundations course is complete, we invite you to take the  Advanced Grant Development: Federal Proposals , designed to provide the participant with the resources, expert-guided practice, and mentoring to be able to write a competitive federal grant proposal, with a personalized proposal review by the knowledge specialist prior to submission for a federal grant, as well as packaging a professional grant submission, grants management, and grants.gov.

  • How to be on solid ground financially as a nonprofit

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Writing a Research Proposal in Memo Form of  How to Developing...

Writing a Research Proposal in Memo Form of  How to Developing Strong Business Relationships

  • begin with an introduction that states the subject and purpose of  proposal.
  • what research  are proposing;  describe your methods and timetable;How will  research? Where  look for sources? Will  primary research, such as interviews with people familiar with the situation? Give a brief overview of when  do what, and be specific.
  • Conclude the proposal with a request for approval and feedback, being sure to include contact information such as your e-mail address.

Answer & Explanation

hope this information is helpful!

To: Research Committee

From: [Your Name]

Date: 2023-11-12

Subject: Research Proposal: How to Develop Strong Business Relationships


In today's competitive business environment, strong relationships are essential for success. Businesses that can forge and maintain strong relationships with customers, partners, and suppliers are more likely to achieve their goals. This research proposal outlines a plan to investigate the factors that contribute to the development of strong business relationships.

Research Objectives

The primary objective of this research is to identify and analyze the critical factors that contribute to the development of strong business relationships. Specifically, the research will seek to:

Define the key characteristics of strong business relationships.

Identify the behavioral and communication patterns that foster strong business relationships.

Examine the impact of strong business relationships on business outcomes, such as customer satisfaction, loyalty, and profitability.

Research Methods

The research will employ a mixed-methods approach, utilizing both qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques. The specific methods include:

Literature Review: Conduct a comprehensive review of existing literature on business relationships, including academic journals, books, and industry reports.

In-Depth Interviews: Conduct in-depth interviews with business professionals from various industries to gather insights into the factors that contribute to strong business relationships.

Case Studies: Analyze case studies of successful businesses to identify and examine the practices they employ to develop and maintain strong business relationships.

Survey: Conduct a survey of business professionals to collect quantitative data on the prevalence and impact of strong business relationships.

Research Timeline

The research will be conducted over a period of six months, with the following timeline:

Month 1-2: Literature Review

Month 3-4: In-Depth Interviews

Month 4-5: Case Studies

Month 5-6: Survey and Data Analysis

Data Analysis Plan

The qualitative data collected from interviews and case studies will be analyzed using thematic analysis, a method for identifying and interpreting patterns in qualitative data. The quantitative data collected from the survey will be analyzed using statistical methods to identify relationships between variables.

Dissemination Plan

The findings of the research will be disseminated in a variety of formats, including:

Research Report: A comprehensive report summarizing the research findings and recommendations.

Academic Presentations: Presentations at academic conferences to share research findings with the broader research community.

Industry Publications: Articles in industry publications to disseminate practical insights to business professionals.

Request for Approval and Feedback

I respectfully request approval to conduct this research. I believe that the findings of this research will have a significant impact on the business community by providing valuable insights into the development of strong business relationships. I am confident that the research team has the expertise and experience to conduct this research to a high standard.

I would appreciate your feedback on the proposed research plan. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Contact Information

[Your Name]

[Your Email Address]

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Doctoral Project Research Methodologies-DM8990-01-2023-2024 AY-Summer-Charlotte

This online course will assist the student to understand the required components of the DMin Project and to prepare an acceptable Project Proposal. As an outcome of the course, students will write the first draft of a Project Proposal with bibliography and be prepared to launch into the research and writing of the Project itself. The course has two parts: The first will include online instruction and interaction with the DMin Director. This portion of the course will assist the student to focus the Project topic, and create a research model and preliminary bibliography for the chosen topic. The second part will pair each student with a faculty advisor who will guide the student in refining the bibliography. The required writing component of this section will be a first draft DMin Project Proposal. Prerequisite: Student must have completed 7 DMin courses prior to enrolling in 03DM8990.

proposal writing of research


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    Published on October 12, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on June 13, 2023. A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it's important, and how you will conduct your research. The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements: Title page Introduction

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    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.

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    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.

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

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    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;

  10. 11.2 Steps in Developing a Research Proposal

    Key Takeaways. 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 ...

  11. Research proposal

    Quick tips for writing a research proposal. 1. Write a descriptive title that directly describes the intended research. 2. Write an introduction which summarises the proposed research directions in the present tense. 3. Write a literature review which positions your proposed research in the field. It should show how the work of other scholars ...

  12. How to write a research proposal?

    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.

  13. How to Write a Research Proposal (with Pictures)

    Include the page number in the upper right corner. The page number should appear on all pages of the proposal. Center the full title of your research proposal roughly 1/3 of the way down the page. Double space it, and immediately below the title, insert your name.

  14. Writing a Research Proposal

    Explain what kind of results will justify or disprove your hypothesis. Budget: Explain how much money you need. Explain the details of the budget (how much you want to spend for what). Conclusion: Describe why your research is important. References: List the sources you have used for writing the research proposal, including a few main citations ...

  15. Writing a research proposal

    Introduction Provides background information for the research (i.e. the problem being addressed) and is typically structured from general information to narrow or focused ideas with your research question/s or hypotheses at the narrow end. The Introduction should be about 10% of your proposal.

  16. How to Write a Research Proposal: Structure, Examples & Common Mistakes

    Research Proposal Writing Revisions and Proofreading Skills Required for a Research Proposal Common Mistakes to Avoid in Proposal Writing Some Good Examples of Research Proposals I. Starting the Proposal Process A. Preliminary Considerations

  17. Writing a Research Proposal

    A research proposal is a roadmap that brings the researcher closer to the objectives, takes the research topic from a purely subjective mind, and manifests an objective plan. It shows us what steps we need to take to reach the objective, what questions we should answer, and how much time we need. It is a framework based on which you can perform ...

  18. How to Write a Research Proposal: Template, Format, Tips

    Writing a research proposal can be hard and feel like a never-ending process. It really isn't much different from writing an actual thesis or dissertation. Yup, this is my roundabout way of saying: don't get disheartened. Allow yourself a few months up to half a year to complete your proposal, follow the steps outlined in this guide and ...

  19. Proposal

    Definition: Proposal is a formal document or presentation that outlines a plan, idea, or project and seeks to persuade others to support or adopt it. Proposals are commonly used in business, academia, and various other fields to propose new initiatives, solutions to problems, research studies, or business ventures. Proposal Layout

  20. What Is a Research Proposal? (Plus How To Write One)

    You may write research proposals for several reasons, including: Applying for a position at a research institute or company Convincing a research supervisor or university that your research can satisfy the requirements of a degree program Showing the importance of your research to organizations that may financially sponsor your endeavors

  21. How to write your research proposal

    A key part of your application is your research proposal. Whether you are applying for a self-funded or studentship you should follow the guidance below. If you are looking specifically for advice on writing your PhD by published work research proposal, read our guide.

  22. How to Write a Successful Research Proposal

    Are you writing a research proposal to get funding or approval for your project? In this video, you'll learn the four aims of a research proposal, and how to...

  23. Writing A Research Proposal: 5 Critical Dos & Don'ts

    Writing Your Research Proposal 5 Essentials You Need To Keep In Mind By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewer: Eunice Rautenbach (DTech) | June 2023 Writing a high-quality research proposal that "sells" your study and wins the favour (and approval) of your university is no small task.

  24. PDF The Art of Writing Proposals

    Writing proposals for research funding is a peculiar facet of North American academic culture, and as with all things cultural, its attributes rise only partly into public consciousness. A proposal's overt function is to persuade a committee of

  25. Free Tutorial

    Enroll in our in-depth courses from top-rated instructors. How to Write an Effective Research Paper. Learn how to write award-winning research papers with easy steps. Includes examples and a research paper template.Rating: 4.4 out of 52079 reviews2.5 total hours32 lecturesAll LevelsCurrent price: $84.99.

  26. A beginner's guide to grant writing for nonprofits

    A beginner's guide to grant writing for nonprofits. Wednesday, November 15, 2023. In many ways, the hallmarks of a strong grant proposal are the same as the hallmarks of any good piece of writing. Factors like conciseness, voice, emotional appeal, strong subject matter and more will serve just as well in a grant proposal as they would in a ...

  27. Writing a Research Proposal in Memo Form of How to Developing

    To: Research Committee From: [Your Name] Date: 2023-11-12 Subject: Research Proposal: How to Develop Strong Business Relationships Introduction. In today's competitive business environment, strong relationships are essential for success. Businesses that can forge and maintain strong relationships with customers, partners, and suppliers are more likely to achieve their goals.

  28. Doctoral Project Research Methodologies-DM8990-01-2023-2024 AY-Summer

    This online course will assist the student to understand the required components of the DMin Project and to prepare an acceptable Project Proposal. As an outcome of the course, students will write the first draft of a Project Proposal with bibliography and be prepared to launch into the research and writing of the Project itself.