Learn How to Write a Research Proposal - Expert Guide
Do you need to write a research proposal? You are not alone.
Research proposals are often required for academic pursuits, especially for master and doctoral-level students.
If this is the case for you, don't fret!
Starting your research can be scary. You need to submit a proposal before researching, which makes it harder if you don't know how to write one well. Luckily, there are ways that will teach you this skill and help us craft the perfect proposal for our work!
Here is how you can write a good research proposal.
What is a Research Proposal?
A research proposal is a kind of request made to get your research idea approved. In your research proposal, you present and justify the reasons why you want to do your research project.
You give a bit of an overview of the research project, how much time you will take to complete it. What value will it bring to the community, and how can it help future researchers further their research in this field.
You also provide a little overview of the background work to make the committee understand that there is a need for proposed work. Moreover, you need to give a short description of the methodologies used for conducting the research work. And lastly, the explanation of the contribution you want to make with your research project.
Why is a Research Proposal Important?
The research proposal aims to present and justify the need to work on a particular research problem. It is essential to explain your research’s importance and what you can do by crafting a perfect research proposal.
It is a pre-research task that lets you communicate with the supervisor, educational institute, or sponsors. By interacting with them, you tell them that you are worth being part of this research field, and you can add a considerable chunk of the research into this area.
In some cases, your scholarship also becomes dependent on your research proposal, i.e., Ph.D. If your supervisor accepts your proposal, then you get the acceptance letter and scholarship grant.
Research Proposal Outline
For the best research proposal, start with your proposal outlines. Outlines will put your proposal into the best structure required. It will make your journey very easy as you know all the steps to reach the destination of your perfect research paper proposal.
You can follow the following format and write the same content in the table of contents.
- Research Title
- Literature review
- Aims and objectives
- Research methodology
- Ethical Considerations
- Research Results
How to Write a Research Proposal?
Before you start writing your research paper, you have to have a basic knowledge of the structure of the research paper proposal.
Here is a complete guide where you can learn to prepare a research proposal.
The very first page of your proposal will be your title page. It should be catchy yet academic. Craft a title that grabs the reader’s attention and also reflects how important your project is.
Your research topic is the very first impression that falls on the reader. That means boring and hard-to-understand titles can push the reader to pay less attention.
The abstract is the crux or the summary of the complete research paper. It gives the entire idea of the whole research project. It allows you to elaborate on each significant aspect of your research work and help readers understand whether they want to read further or not.
It is one of the key elements of the research proposal. Some boards and research groups prefer to read the abstract only to understand your research standard.
Your proposal abstract summarizes your research in less than 250 words. You need to talk about the research question, its objectives, the methodology you will follow, i.e., how you will tackle the research problem. However, there is no need to go into extra details. The purpose of the abstract is to let the reader know about the target findings and the results.
The introduction is the first pitch of your research project that sets the scene and puts the research in context. It introduces your topic to the reader and gives a little background and context to your research project. It forms the backbone for the research and hence becomes the most important step.
Most people confuse the introduction with the abstract part. They mix up the content of both sections. But they both are different and serve a different purpose.
Basically, the introduction is the first part of your proposal. It discusses statements of the problem, the research subject, and the background information.
It also talks about your proposed research hypothesis and discusses the hurdles expected in the research project. Unlike the abstract, the introduction also provides knowledge about the importance of the research you will conduct.
The literature review is a relatively simpler and easier part. In this section, you will talk about the background study you have done to reach this point. In general, an extensive study is being done before writing a proposal. It is important to understand the subject and let the reader know that you have thoroughly studied the topic.
A literature review helps to connect to the background and context of your research study. This section’s main purpose is to put your study into a whole of what has already been explored.
Here you review the existing work that has been done in your particular field. This helps you realize what questions other researchers may have asked. It also allows you to know the different methodologies they have used to conduct the research.
After reviewing the papers, discuss your observation of their findings, their limitations, and future recommendations. It enables the reader to grasp the key argument underpinning your proposed study concerning the other research work.
Aims and Objectives
This section gives a broad indication of what you wanted to achieve in your research. The hypothesis of the research is basically the aim of the study. The objectives related to the tools and parameters are usually categorized as primary or secondary objectives.
You can keep this section relatively short. Here you only talk about the main objectives and aims of your research. Your proposal reviewers can directly jump into this section, as it answers your research’s core questions.
This section is where you provide detailed information about your research design, i-e, how you would conduct your research. It discusses the methods that you will use to conduct your research. There are different research methodologies i.e.
These tools and procedures are used to collect and analyze the data. Suppose you are pursuing a technical degree; therefore, your research can contain simulations and emulation, so you will use the ‘experiment’ methodology. On the other hand, in non-technical degrees, you can conduct surveys and for the rest of everything in between.
Whatever methods you will follow, explain it here so that your proposal reviewer may find out what exactly you will do to reach your results.
Fields like medical research and few others need to take into consideration ethical values. The reason is, different aspects of people’s lives and rights come in between your research collecting the data required for your findings.
So you have to be careful in data collection. You should take permission and let the research participants know that their data can be used for research purposes. In short, you need to respect the rights of the participants.
Just because you are not actually conducting the research yet, doesn't mean you don't have to discuss the results and potential implications of your research work. Depending on the aims and objectives, you need to discuss how your work results will impact future scholarly research, practice, or policymaking, etc.
Therefore, in this section, you mention the proposed research and its desired results. Also, you can talk about how you would process the existing data and tackle the problems. This section’s basic purpose is to elaborate on how and in what way your research will extend, revise, and refine the existing knowledge in the subject area under investigation.
In every scholarly study, you must cite the sources you have used. As you get the information from the previous researcher’s work, you need to mention them to give them credit for their work.
Furthermore, to avoid plagiarism and follow research ethics, you cite their work to give them credits and authenticate the work that isn’t yours. It could take two forms:
- Reference : It contains only the literature that you have actually used.
- Bibliography : It contains everything you have used and other relevant sources required to understand the research problem.
In either case, this section should testify that you have done sufficient research work to complement and not just duplicate the existing work.
Research Proposal Examples
Writing difficult formal writing always gives us a tough time. And the next thing we do is run for a sample.
Research Proposal Template
Research Proposal Sample
Research Proposal Topics
If you are having trouble in selecting a topic, we have got your back covered.
Given below is a list of research paper topics you can choose from.
- Reducing Air Pollution
- Impact of Global Warming on Plants.
- Impact of Increased Immigration
- How Mainstream Media is Showing Selected Content and Why?
- Marijuana for medical purposes.
- The impact of Nuclear power plants on the environment.
- The future of fossil fuel and its impact on ozone in the next decade.
- The future of transportation: flying cars or The Boring Company?
Did you not find a good topic? Here is a long list of research paper topics you can choose from.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the research proposal?
A research proposal is a document to convince someone that your project is worth doing. You should show them that the topic of your project is important. You should show that you know what other people have done with it and why they did not do well. And you should also show how you will do the research.
How long is a research proposal?
The length of a research proposal varies, but the minimum words should be 2500. A long one for a Ph.D. dissertation is often very detailed, while a short one for a bachelor's or master's thesis can be just a few pages.
The outline of the proposal will look like the shorter version of your final thesis or dissertation, but without the results and discussion sections.
What is included in a research proposal?
You need to include the research question, the reason for doing the study, a hypothesis (if there is one), and the method. You also need to say what you did in detail.
For example, you might say what type of study it was and how many people were involved in it. If there are any instruments or procedures that were used, describe them too.
What is the format of the research proposal?
Proposals are generally organized in the following way: Introduction: A summary of what is being proposed, including the problem, solution, costs, and benefits Issue:
The main definition of an issue includes subject, purpose, main argument, and background information.