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How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

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

Structure of a research proposal

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

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

Introduction

Literature review.

  • Research design

Reference list

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

Table of contents

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

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

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

Research proposal aims
Show your reader why your project is interesting, original, and important.
Demonstrate your comfort and familiarity with your field.
Show that you understand the current state of research on your topic.
Make a case for your .
Demonstrate that you have carefully thought about the data, tools, and procedures necessary to conduct your research.
Confirm that your project is feasible within the timeline of your program or funding deadline.

Research proposal length

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

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

Download our research proposal template

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

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

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

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

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

Your introduction should:

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

To guide your introduction , include information about:

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

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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.

Building a research proposal methodology
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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

Example research schedule
Research phase Objectives Deadline
1. Background research and literature review 20th January
2. Research design planning and data analysis methods 13th February
3. Data collection and preparation with selected participants and code interviews 24th March
4. Data analysis of interview transcripts 22nd April
5. Writing 17th June
6. Revision final work 28th July

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

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

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

To determine your budget, think about:

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

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

Methodology

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

 Statistics

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

Research bias

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

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

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

I will compare …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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17 Research Proposal Examples

17 Research Proposal Examples

Chris Drew (PhD)

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

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research proposal example sections definition and purpose, explained below

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

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

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

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

Watch my Guide: How to Write a Research Proposal

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

Research Proposal Sample Structure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research Proposal Examples

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

1. Education Studies Research Proposals

See some real sample pieces:

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

Consider this hypothetical education research proposal:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Psychology Research Proposals

See some real examples:

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

Consider this hypothetical psychology research proposal:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Sociology Research Proposals

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

Consider this hypothetical sociology research proposal:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Nursing Research Proposals

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

Consider this hypothetical nursing research proposal:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Social Work Research Proposals

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

Consider this hypothetical social work research proposal:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research Proposal Template

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

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

SectionChecklist
Title – Ensure the single-sentence title clearly states the study’s focus
Abstract (Words: 200) – Briefly describe the research topicSummarize the research problem or question
– Outline the research design and methods
– Mention the expected outcomes and implications
Introduction (Words: 300) – Introduce the research topic and its significance
– Clearly state the research problem or question
– Explain the purpose and objectives of the study
– Provide a brief overview of
Literature Review (Words: 800) – Gather the existing literature into themes and ket ideas
– the themes and key ideas in the literature
– Identify gaps or inconsistencies in the literature
– Explain how the current study will contribute to the literature
Research Design and Methods (Words; 800) – Describe the research paradigm (generally: positivism and interpretivism)
– Describe the research design (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods)
– Explain the data collection methods (e.g., surveys, interviews, observations)
– Detail the sampling strategy and target population
– Outline the data analysis techniques (e.g., statistical analysis, thematic analysis)
– Outline your validity and reliability procedures
– Outline your intended ethics procedures
– Explain the study design’s limitations and justify your decisions
Timeline (Single page table) – Provide an overview of the research timeline
– Break down the study into stages with specific timeframes (e.g., data collection, analysis, report writing)
– Include any relevant deadlines or milestones
Budget (200 words) – Estimate the costs associated with the research project
– Detail specific expenses (e.g., materials, participant incentives, travel costs)
– Include any necessary justifications for the budget items
– Mention any funding sources or grant applications
Expected Outcomes and Implications (200 words) – Summarize the anticipated findings or results of the study
– Discuss the potential implications of the findings for theory, practice, or policy
– Describe any possible limitations of the study

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

Chris

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8 thoughts on “17 Research Proposal Examples”

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Very excellent research proposals

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

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

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Thank you so much sir! ❤️

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How to write a research proposal

writing a research proposal sample

What is a research proposal?

What is the purpose of a research proposal , how long should a research proposal be, what should be included in a research proposal, 1. the title page, 2. introduction, 3. literature review, 4. research design, 5. implications, 6. reference list, frequently asked questions about writing a research proposal, related articles.

If you’re in higher education, the term “research proposal” is something you’re likely to be familiar with. But what is it, exactly? You’ll normally come across the need to prepare a research proposal when you’re looking to secure Ph.D. funding.

When you’re trying to find someone to fund your Ph.D. research, a research proposal is essentially your “pitch.”

A research proposal is a concise and coherent summary of your proposed research.

You’ll need to set out the issues that are central to the topic area and how you intend to address them with your research. To do this, you’ll need to give the following:

  • an outline of the general area of study within which your research falls
  • an overview of how much is currently known about the topic
  • a literature review that covers the recent scholarly debate or conversation around the topic

➡️  What is a literature review? Learn more in our guide.

Essentially, you are trying to persuade your institution that you and your project are worth investing their time and money into.

It is the opportunity for you to demonstrate that you have the aptitude for this level of research by showing that you can articulate complex ideas:

It also helps you to find the right supervisor to oversee your research. When you’re writing your research proposal, you should always have this in the back of your mind.

This is the document that potential supervisors will use in determining the legitimacy of your research and, consequently, whether they will invest in you or not. It is therefore incredibly important that you spend some time on getting it right.

Tip: While there may not always be length requirements for research proposals, you should strive to cover everything you need to in a concise way.

If your research proposal is for a bachelor’s or master’s degree, it may only be a few pages long. For a Ph.D., a proposal could be a pretty long document that spans a few dozen pages.

➡️ Research proposals are similar to grant proposals. Learn how to write a grant proposal in our guide.

When you’re writing your proposal, keep in mind its purpose and why you’re writing it. It, therefore, needs to clearly explain the relevance of your research and its context with other discussions on the topic. You need to then explain what approach you will take and why it is feasible.

Generally, your structure should look something like this:

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Research Design
  • Implications

If you follow this structure, you’ll have a comprehensive and coherent proposal that looks and feels professional, without missing out on anything important. We’ll take a deep dive into each of these areas one by one next.

The title page might vary slightly per your area of study but, as a general point, your title page should contain the following:

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

Tip: Keep in mind any departmental or institutional guidelines for a research proposal title page. Also, your supervisor may ask for specific details to be added to the page.

The introduction is crucial   to your research proposal as it is your first opportunity to hook the reader in. A good introduction section will introduce your project and its relevance to the field of study.

You’ll want to use this space to demonstrate that you have carefully thought about how to present your project as interesting, original, and important research. A good place to start is by introducing the context of your research problem.

Think about answering these questions:

  • What is it you want to research and why?
  • How does this research relate to the respective field?
  • How much is already known about this area?
  • Who might find this research interesting?
  • What are the key questions you aim to answer with your research?
  • What will the findings of this project add to the topic area?

Your introduction aims to set yourself off on a great footing and illustrate to the reader that you are an expert in your field and that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge and theory.

The literature review section answers the question who else is talking about your proposed research topic.

You want to demonstrate that your research will contribute to conversations around the topic and that it will sit happily amongst experts in the field.

➡️ Read more about how to write a literature review .

There are lots of ways you can find relevant information for your literature review, including:

  • Research relevant academic sources such as books and journals to find similar conversations around the topic.
  • Read through abstracts and bibliographies of your academic sources to look for relevance and further additional resources without delving too deep into articles that are possibly not relevant to you.
  • Watch out for heavily-cited works . This should help you to identify authoritative work that you need to read and document.
  • Look for any research gaps , trends and patterns, common themes, debates, and contradictions.
  • Consider any seminal studies on the topic area as it is likely anticipated that you will address these in your research proposal.

This is where you get down to the real meat of your research proposal. It should be a discussion about the overall approach you plan on taking, and the practical steps you’ll follow in answering the research questions you’ve posed.

So what should you discuss here? Some of the key things you will need to discuss at this point are:

  • What form will your research take? Is it qualitative/quantitative/mixed? Will your research be primary or secondary?
  • What sources will you use? Who or what will you be studying as part of your research.
  • Document your research method. How are you practically going to carry out your research? What tools will you need? What procedures will you use?
  • Any practicality issues you foresee. Do you think there will be any obstacles to your anticipated timescale? What resources will you require in carrying out your research?

Your research design should also discuss the potential implications of your research. For example, are you looking to confirm an existing theory or develop a new one?

If you intend to create a basis for further research, you should describe this here.

It is important to explain fully what you want the outcome of your research to look like and what you want to achieve by it. This will help those reading your research proposal to decide if it’s something the field  needs  and  wants,  and ultimately whether they will support you with it.

When you reach the end of your research proposal, you’ll have to compile a list of references for everything you’ve cited above. Ideally, you should keep track of everything from the beginning. Otherwise, this could be a mammoth and pretty laborious task to do.

Consider using a reference manager like Paperpile to format and organize your citations. Paperpile allows you to organize and save your citations for later use and cite them in thousands of citation styles directly in Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or LaTeX.

Paperpile reference manager

Your project may also require you to have a timeline, depending on the budget you are requesting. If you need one, you should include it here and explain both the timeline and the budget you need, documenting what should be done at each stage of the research and how much of the budget this will use.

This is the final step, but not one to be missed. You should make sure that you edit and proofread your document so that you can be sure there are no mistakes.

A good idea is to have another person proofread the document for you so that you get a fresh pair of eyes on it. You can even have a professional proofreader do this for you.

This is an important document and you don’t want spelling or grammatical mistakes to get in the way of you and your reader.

➡️ Working on a research proposal for a thesis? Take a look at our guide on how to come up with a topic for your thesis .

A research proposal is a concise and coherent summary of your proposed research. Generally, your research proposal will have a title page, introduction, literature review section, a section about research design and explaining the implications of your research, and a reference list.

A good research proposal is concise and coherent. It has a clear purpose, clearly explains the relevance of your research and its context with other discussions on the topic. A good research proposal explains what approach you will take and why it is feasible.

You need a research proposal to persuade your institution that you and your project are worth investing their time and money into. It is your opportunity to demonstrate your aptitude for this level or research by showing that you can articulate complex ideas clearly, concisely, and critically.

A research proposal is essentially your "pitch" when you're trying to find someone to fund your PhD. It is a clear and concise summary of your proposed research. It gives an outline of the general area of study within which your research falls, it elaborates how much is currently known about the topic, and it highlights any recent debate or conversation around the topic by other academics.

The general answer is: as long as it needs to be to cover everything. The length of your research proposal depends on the requirements from the institution that you are applying to. Make sure to carefully read all the instructions given, and if this specific information is not provided, you can always ask.

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8 Research Proposal Examples & Template to Use

8 Research Proposal Examples & Template to Use

Written by: Raja Mandal

8 Research Proposal Examples & Template to Use

So you have a groundbreaking research idea you've spent months or even years developing, and now you're ready to take the next step.

How do you get funding for your research, and how should you approach potential funders? The answer is to create a convincing research proposal.

Unfortunately, most research proposals often get rejected. According to the European Research Council, the success rate for repeat proposal applications was only 14.8% in 2023 .

Pitching a novel research concept isn’t enough. To increase your chances of securing funding, your research proposal must check the right boxes in terms of clarity, feasibility, aesthetic appeal and other factors.

If you’re looking for inspiration to create a persuasive and feasible proposal, you’re in the right place. In this article, we have compiled a list of research proposal examples to help you create yours.

These examples will help you understand how to organize your proposal, what information to include and how to present it in a way that encourages others to support your project.

Let's dive in!

Table of Contents

What is a research proposal, what to include in a research proposal, 8 research proposal examples & templates, research proposal faqs.

  • A research proposal is a document that outlines your proposed research project, explaining what you plan to study, why it's important and how you will conduct your research.
  • A well-structured research proposal includes a title page, abstract and table of contents, introduction, literature review, research design and methodology, contribution to knowledge, research schedule, timeline and budget.
  • Visme's research proposal examples and templates offer a great starting point for creating engaging and well-structured proposals.
  • Choose a template from Visme's research proposal examples and customize it to fit your needs.
  • With Visme’s proposal maker , you can create a research proposal that stands out. Access a drag-and-drop editor and advanced features like AI tools , collaboration features, brand wizard and more.

A research proposal is a structured document that outlines the core idea of your research, the methods you intend to use, the required resources and the expected results.

Think of it as a sales pitch for your research. It answers some big questions: What are you planning to explore? Why is it important to conduct the research? What are your research objectives and the methods you’ll use to achieve them? What are the potential outcomes or contributions of this research to the field?

A research proposal serves two primary purposes. First, it convinces funding bodies or academic committees to support your research project expected to bring new ideas and insights. Second, it provides a roadmap for your research journey, helping you stay focused, organized and on track.

Now, we'll discuss what to include in a research proposal. You'll learn about the important parts of a research proposal template and how they help present your research idea clearly.

Here’s an infographic that you can use to understand the elements of a research proposal quickly.

What Should a Research Proposal Include Infographic

1. Title Page

Start your research proposal with a title page that clearly states your research. The title page is like a book cover, giving the first impression of your project. Therefore, you must ensure the design is engaging enough to attract your audience at first glance.

Include the following details on your title page:

  • Title of your research
  • Contact Details
  • Name of the department or organization
  • Date of submission

General Funding Research Proposal

2. Abstract and Table of Contents

After the title page comes the abstract and the table of contents.

The abstract is a concise summary of your project that briefly outlines your research question, the reasons behind the study and the methods you intend to use. It is a quick way for readers to understand your proposal without reading the entire document.

The table of contents is a detailed list of the sections and subsections in your proposal, with page numbers. It helps readers navigate through your document and quickly locate different parts they're interested in.

Product Research Proposal

3. Introduction

The introduction of your research proposal sets the tone for the rest of the document. It should grab the reader's attention and make them want to learn more. It's your chance to make a strong case for why your research is worth investigating and how it can fill a gap in current knowledge or solve a specific problem.

Make sure that your introduction covers the following:

  • Background Information: Set the stage with a brief snapshot of existing research and why your topic is relevant.
  • Research Problem: Identify the specific problem or knowledge gap that your study will address.
  • Research Questions or Hypotheses: Present the central question or hypothesis that guides your research focus.
  • Aims and Objectives: Outline your research's main goal and the steps you'll take to achieve it.
  • Significance and Contribution: Explain how your research will add value to the field and what impact it could have.

4. Literature Review

A literature review is a list of the scholarly works you used to conduct your research. It helps you demonstrate your current knowledge about the topic.

Here's how this part works:

  • Summary of Sources: Talk about the main ideas or findings from your research materials and explain how they connect to your research questions.
  • Finding Gaps: Show where the current research falls short or doesn't give the full picture—this is where your research comes in!
  • Key Theories: Tell the readers about any theories or ways of thinking that help shape your research.
  • Learning from Methods: Discuss what previous researchers worked on and how their methods might guide your research.
  • Recognizing Authors and Studies: Honor the pioneers whose work has had a major influence on your topic.

5. Research Design and Methodology

This section outlines your plan for answering your research question. It explains how you intend to gather and analyze information, providing a clear roadmap of the investigation process.

Here are the key components:

Population and Sample

Describe the entire group you're interested in (the population). This could be all teachers in a specific state or all social media platform users. After that, you will need to explain how you will choose a smaller group, known as a sample, to study directly. This sample should be selected to accurately represent the larger population you are interested in studying.

To choose the right sampling method, you need to assess your population properly. For instance, to obtain general insights, you can use random sampling to select individuals without bias. If the population consists of different categories, such as professionals and students, you can use stratified sampling to ensure that each category is represented in the sample.

Other popular sampling methods include systematic, convenience, purposive, cluster, and probability sampling techniques.

Research Approach

There are three main approaches for the research: qualitative (focusing on experiences and themes), quantitative (using numbers and statistics), or mixed methods (combining both). Your choice will depend on your research question and the kind of data you need.

Data Collection

This section details the specific methods you'll use to gather information. Will you distribute surveys online or in person? Conduct interviews? Perhaps you'll use existing data sets. Here, you'll also explain how you'll ensure the data collection process is reliable and ethical.

Data Analysis

Once you have collected your data, the next step is to analyze it to obtain meaningful insights. The method you choose depends on the available data type.

If you have quantitative data, you can employ statistical tests to analyze it. And if you're dealing with qualitative data, coding techniques can help you spot patterns and themes in your collected data.

Tech Research Proposal

6. Contribution to Knowledge

In this section, you need to explain how your research will contribute to the existing knowledge in your field. You should describe whether your study will fill a knowledge gap, challenge conventional ideas or beliefs or offer a fresh perspective on a topic.

Clearly outline how your work will advance your field of study and why this new knowledge is essential.

7. Research Schedule and Timeline

Create a timeline with important milestones, such as finishing your literature review, completing data collection and finalizing your analysis.

This shows that you've carefully considered the scope of your project and can manage your time effectively. Furthermore, account for possible delays and be prepared to adapt your schedule accordingly.

To create this timeline, consider using a visual tool like a Gantt chart or a simple spreadsheet. These tools will help you organize individual tasks, assign deadlines, and visualize the project's overall progress.

Choose a Gantt chart template from Visme's library and customize it to create your timeline quickly. Here's an example template:

General Project Timeline Gantt Chart

The budget section is your opportunity to show them that you've carefully considered all necessary expenses and that your funding request is justified.

Here's how you can approach this part:

  • Understand the Rules: Before making calculations, thoroughly review the funding agency's guidelines. Pay attention to what types of expenses are allowed or excluded and whether there are any budget caps.
  • Personnel: Salaries and benefits for yourself, research assistants, or collaborators.
  • Equipment: Specialized tools, software, or lab supplies.
  • Travel: Transportation, lodging and meals if data collection requires travel.
  • Dissemination: Costs for publishing results or presenting at conferences.
  • Provide Justifications: Don't just list a cost. Briefly explain why each expense is crucial for completing your research.
  • Be Thorough and Realistic: Research prices for specific items using quotes or online comparisons. Don't underestimate expenses, as this can raise troubles about the project's feasibility.
  • Don't Forget Contingencies: Include a small buffer (around 5% of your total budget) for unexpected costs that might arise.

Environmental Research Proposal

Using these research proposal examples and templates, you can create a winning proposal in no time. You will find templates for various topics and customize every aspect of them to make them your own.

Visme’s drag-and-drop editor, advanced features and a vast library of templates help organizations and individuals worldwide create engaging documents.

Here’s what a research student who uses Visme to create award-winning presentations has to say about the tool:

Chantelle Clarke

Research Student

Now, let’s dive into the research proposal examples.

1. Research Proposal Presentation Template

writing a research proposal sample

This research proposal presentation template is a powerful tool for presenting your research plan to stakeholders. The slides include specific sections to help you outline your research, including the research background, questions, objectives, methodology and expected results.

The slides create a coherent narrative, highlighting the importance and significance of your research. Overall, the template has a calming and professional blue color scheme with text that enables your audience to grasp the key points.

If you need help creating your presentation slides in a fraction of the time, check out Visme's AI presentation maker . Enter your requirements using text prompts, and the AI tool will generate a complete presentation with engaging visuals, text and clear structure. You can further customize the template completely to your needs.

2. Sales Research Proposal Template

Sales Research Proposal

Sales research gives you a deeper understanding of their target audience. It also helps you identify gaps in the market and develop effective sales strategies that drive revenue growth. With this research proposal template, you can secure funding for your next research project.

It features a sleek and professional grayscale color palette with a classic and modern vibe. The high-quality images in the template are strategically placed to reinforce the message without overwhelming the reader. Furthermore, the template includes a vertical bar graph that effectively represents budget allocations, enabling the reader to quickly grasp the information.

Use Visme's interactive elements and animations to add a dynamic layer to your research proposals. You can animate any object and add pop-ups or link pages for a more immersive experience. Use these functionalities to highlight key findings, demonstrate trends or guide readers through your proposal, making the content engaging and interactive.

3. General Funding Research Proposal Template

General Funding Research Proposal

This proposal template is a great tool for securing funding for any type of research project. It begins with a captivating title page that grabs attention. The beautiful design elements and vector icons enhance the aesthetic and aid visual communication.

This template revolves around how a specific user group adopts cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. The goal is to assess awareness, gauge interest and understand key factors affecting cryptocurrency adoption.

The project methodology includes survey design, data collection, and market research. The expected impact is to enhance customer engagement and position the company as a customer-centric brand.

Do you need additional help crafting the perfect text for your proposal? Visme's AI writer can quickly generate content outlines, summaries and even entire sections. Just explain your requirements to the tool using a text prompt, and the tool will generate it for you.

4. Product Research Proposal Template

Product Research Proposal

Creating a product that delights users begins with detailed product research. With this modern proposal template, you can secure buy-in and funding for your next research.

It starts with a background that explains why the research is important. Next, it highlights what the research is set to achieve, how the research will be conducted, how much it will cost, the timeline and the expected outcomes. With a striking color scheme combining black, yellow, and gray, the template grabs attention and maintains it until the last page.

What we love about this template is the smart use of visuals. You'll find a flowchart explaining the methodology, a bar graph for the budget, and a timeline for the project. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg regarding the visual elements you’ll find in Visme.

Visme offers data visualization tools with 30+ data widgets, such as radial gauges, population arrays, progress bars and more. These tools can help you turn complex data into engaging visuals for your research proposal or any other document.

For larger data sets, you can choose from 20+ types of charts and graphs , including bar graphs , bubble charts , Venn diagrams and more.

5. Tech Research Proposal Template

Tech Research Proposal

If you’re a tech researcher, we’ve got the perfect template for you. This research proposal example is about predictive analytics in e-commerce. However, you can customize it for any other type of research proposal.

It highlights the project's objectives, including the effectiveness of predictive analysis, the impact of product recommendations and supply chain optimization. The methods proposed for achieving these objectives involve A/B testing and data analysis, a comprehensive budget and a 12-month timeline for clear project planning.

The title page has a unique triptych-style layout that immediately catches the reader's attention. It has plenty of white space that enhances readability, allowing your audience to focus on the critical points.

Submitting to different funding agencies? You don’t have to manually make changes to your document. Visme's dynamic fields can help save time and eliminate repetitive data entry.

Create custom fields like project names, addresses, contact information and more. Any changes made to these fields will automatically populate throughout the document.

6. Marketing Research Proposal Template

Marketing Research Proposal

Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking the world by storm and the marketing niche isn’t left out. With this eye-catching template, you can attract attention to your proposed marketing research project for an AI-driven platform.

The main goal of the research is to evaluate the platform's feasibility and marketing potential. To achieve this goal, the scope of work includes a comprehensive analysis of the market and competitors and pilot testing. The proposal also contains a budget overview that clearly outlines the allocation of funds, ensuring a well-planned and transparent approach.

Using Visme's Brand Design Tool , you can easily customize this template to suit your branding with just one click. Simply enter your URL into the brand wizard, and the tool will automatically extract your company logo, brand colors, and brand fonts . Once saved, you or your team members can apply the branding elements to any document. It's that simple!

7. Environmental Research Proposal Template

Environmental Research Proposal

The environmental research proposal example focuses on carbon emissions, identifies their contributing factors, and suggests sustainable practices to address them. It uses an appropriate sample size and data collection techniques to gather and evaluate data and provide sustainable recommendations to reduce industrial carbon footprints and waste.

From a design standpoint, the green and white color combination matches the theme of nature and environmental friendliness. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the proposal includes relevant images that support ecological advocacy, making it informative and visually aligned with its purpose.

A key feature of this template is its detailed breakdown of the project's timeline. It uses a Gantt chart to clearly present stages, milestones and deadlines.

Collaborate with your team members to customize these research proposal templates using Visme’s collaborative design features . These features allow you to leave feedback, draw annotations and even make live edits. Invite your teammates via email or a shareable link and allow them to work together on projects.

8. General Approval Research Proposal Template

General Approval Research Proposal

This research proposal template is a total game-changer - you can use it for any research proposal and customize it however you want. It features a modern and refreshing color scheme that immediately makes it stand out, providing a contemporary look that can adapt to any project's needs.

The template's layout is thoughtfully designed with primary fields that users can easily personalize by changing text, adjusting colors, or swapping images. No matter the research topic, you can tailor the template to fit your specific needs.

Once you're done customizing your research proposal template on Visme, you can download, share and publish it in different ways. For offline usage, you may download the proposal in PDF, PNG, or JPG format. To share it online, you can use a private or public link or generate a code snippet that you can embed anywhere on the web.

Want to create other types of proposals? Here are 29 proposal templates that you can easily customize in Visme.

Q. What Are the Five Steps of Writing a Research Proposal?

Follow these steps to write a solid research proposal:

  • Choose a topic within your field of study that can be explored and investigated.
  • Research existing literature and studies to build a foundational understanding and prepare your research question.
  • Outline your research proposal: introduction, literature review, proposed methodology, budget and timeline.
  • Conduct more detailed studies to strengthen your proposition, refine your research question and justify your methodology.
  • Follow your outline to write a clear and organized proposal, then review and edit for accuracy before submitting.

If you want to learn more about creating an expert research proposal , we highly recommend checking out our in-depth guide.

Q. How Long Is a Research Proposal?

Research proposals can range from 1,000 to 5,000 words. For smaller projects or when specific requirements aren't provided, aim for a concise and informative proposal that effectively outlines your research plan.

However, the ideal length depends on these factors:

  • Projects with complex methodologies or multiple phases may require longer proposals to explain the scope and procedures in detail.
  • Universities, academic institutions and funding agencies often have guidelines of a specific length. Always check their requirements beforehand.
  • When writing a proposal, adjust the level of study based on the audience. Academic proposals may require comprehensive explanations, while business or non-profit proposals require a more streamlined approach.

Q. How Long Does It Take to Write a Research Proposal?

The time it takes to write a research proposal depends on a few factors:

  • Complex research with extensive data collection or analysis will naturally take longer to plan and write about.
  • If you're new to writing research proposals, expect to spend more time learning the format and best practices.
  • If you've already conducted some research or a thorough literature review, the writing process might go faster.
  • Funding applications often have strict deadlines that will dictate your timeline.

Set aside several weeks to a couple of months for researching, writing, and revising your proposal. Start early to avoid stress and produce your best work.

Q. What Not to Do for a Research Proposal?

There are several factors that can make a research proposal weak. Here are some of the most common errors that you should avoid while preparing your research proposal:

  • Don’t choose a topic that’s too broad. Focus on a specific area you can thoroughly explore within your proposal’s limits.
  • Don’t ignore the rules for formatting and submitting your proposal. Always adhere to the requirements set by your institution or funding body.
  • Don’t forget to conduct a thorough literature review. It's crucial to show your grasp of existing research related to your topic.
  • Don't be vague about your methods. Ensure they're clearly defined and suitable for answering your research question.
  • Don't overlook errors in grammar, typos or structure. A well-proofread proposal reflects professionalism, so review it carefully before submitting it.

Craft Professional & Engaging Proposals with Visme

Writing a compelling research proposal takes effort, but with the right tools, the process becomes a breeze. Use the research proposal examples and templates in this article as a launching point to write your own proposal.

The best part? Visme provides easy-to-use tools with a vast collection of customizable templates, design elements and powerful features.

Whether you're a seasoned researcher or a student, Visme has the resources to help you create visually appealing and well-structured research proposals. In addition to research proposals, Visme helps you create many other document types, such as presentations , infographics , reports and more.

Ready to create your own research proposal? Check out Visme's proposal maker and start crafting professional and engaging proposals in minutes!

Create professional research proposals with Visme

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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?
  • 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.
  • 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.

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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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Examples of research proposals

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

Research proposals

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

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

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

When you write your proposal you need to:

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

Subject specific guidance

  • Writing a Humanities PhD Proposal (PDF, 0.1MB)
  • Writing a Creative Writing PhD Proposal (PDF, 0.1MB)
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Research Paper Guide

Writing Research Proposal

Last updated on: Nov 20, 2023

Writing a Research Proposal - Outline, Format, and Examples

By: Nathan D.

13 min read

Reviewed By: Rylee W.

Published on: Mar 24, 2023

Research Proposal

Ready to take on the world of research, but feeling a bit intimidated by the proposal-writing process? You're not alone! Writing a research proposal can seem like a daunting task, especially if you're new to the game. 

But don't worry – we're here to help make the process as easy and exciting as possible!

Think of your research proposal as a sales pitch for your ideas. It's your chance to convince others that your project is worth their time and investment. And just like with any great sales pitch, the key is to show passion and enthusiasm for your work.

In this guide, we'll demystify the proposal-writing process. We'll cover everything from defining your research question to outlining your methodology to presenting your budget. 

So get ready to rock this proposal writing journey!

Research Proposal

On this Page

What is a Research Proposal?

As per the research proposal definition, it is a concise summary of your research paper. It introduces the general idea of your research by highlighting the questions and issues you are going to address in your paper.

For writing a good and ‘acceptance worthy’ proposal, demonstrating the uniqueness and worthiness of your research paper is important.

Below is a detailed definition that will help you understand it better.

‘A research proposal is a document that is written to present and justify your interest and need for researching a particular topic.’

Similarly, a good proposal must highlight the benefits and o utcomes of the proposed study, supported by persuasive evidence.

Purpose of Research Proposal 

Knowing what the goal of writing a research proposal is can make the process easier and help you get your project approved by faculty. 

Let’s break down what makes up a good research proposal. 

Filling Gaps in Existing Knowledge 

Crafting a research proposal is an opportunity to explore the depths of your topic and uncover unturned stones. 

By identifying areas previously unexamined, you can open up new perspectives which could provide substantial value to your project. This demonstrates your contribution to knowledge. 

With such insights in hand, faculty will quickly recognize that there's something special about this study – setting it apart from others on the same subject!

Underscoring Existing Knowledge 

A research proposal is a chance for you to show how good you are at analyzing things and understanding past studies. 

With evidence-based data, you can demonstrate how these studies relate to each other - which agrees or disagrees with current theories about the topic. 

Whether it's presenting meaningful insights or uncovering new ones, this exercise will challenge your ability to think critically!

Adding New Original Knowledge 

To create a compelling research proposal, you must demonstrate your understanding of the existing body of knowledge on your topic. 

You should also bring something new to the table. You can explore primary sources like interviews or surveys with experts or members involved in this study. 

Showcase how this proposed project adds value and moves conversations forward; make sure that it is relevant to today's context!

In conclusion, the purpose of a research proposal is to identify gaps in existing knowledge and provide new, original perspectives on the topic. By doing this, you'll be able to craft an impactful study that faculty will find hard to ignore! 

How to Create a Research Proposal Outline?

Sometimes students don’t realize how important a research paper proposal is and end up putting all the information together without following the basic outline or thinking this through.

Before starting with the outline, you need to understand the basic components. A clear outline is important when it comes to presenting the literature review and writing the entire paper.

Here is a basic format you can follow while writing your proposal.

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Research Methodology

It might seem like a dreadful task and especially for the students who are new to this. It requires good writing as well as research skills.

Here is a sample template to further explain the outline.

Research Proposal Template

RESEARCH PROPOSAL TEMPLATE

Need help with creating an outline for your research paper? Check out this in-depth read on how to create an effective research paper outline !

How to Start a Research Proposal?

Many students think that starting a research proposal is the same as creating an outline. No, it is not, and knowing how to start with your research proposal on the right track is like getting done with half of it.

Below are the important steps to start a research proposal.

  • Begin working on it as soon as possible.
  • Conduct thorough and in-depth research.
  • Instead of forming the title first, find the main theme or problem that you would like to discuss in your research.
  • Collect and save the research information with proper and complete citation and reference information.
  • Divide the collected details into the sections of the proposal and stick to them.

Writing a research proposal is tricky, but when you start it beforehand then you will have enough time to understand your main topic’s different aspects.

Procrastinating and leaving it for the last few days before submission will only land you in trouble.

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How to Write a Research Proposal

Now you have the basic outline you can follow. Let’s discuss how to write it by following the format mentioned above.

1. Choose the Title Carefully

Your proposal title should be concise and clear to indicate your research question. Your readers should know what to expect in the paper after reading the title. Avoid writing titles in a general perspective or phrases like “An investigation of …” or “A review of …” etc. Make it concise and well-defined.

2. Add a Concise Abstract

‘How to write an abstract for a research proposal?’

The abstract is a short summary that is around 100-250 words. The abstract should include the research question, the hypothesis of your research (if there is any), the research methodology, and the findings.

If the proposal is detailed, it will require a section of the contents after the abstract. It, knowing how to write an abstract  will be helpful and can save you from making any blunders.

3. Add a Strong Introduction

You need to start with a strong introduction. The introduction is written to provide a background or context related to your research problem. It is important to frame the research question while writing the proposal.

Start the introduction with a general statement related to the problem area you are focusing on and justify your study.

The introduction usually covers the following elements.

  • What is the purpose of your research or study?
  • Mention the background information and significance before you introduce your research question.
  • Introduce your research question in a way that its significance is highlighted by setting the stage for it.
  • Briefly mention the issues that you are going to discuss and highlight in your study.
  • Make sure that you identify the independent and dependent variables in the title of your study.
  • If there is a hypothesis or a theory related to your research, state it in the introduction.

Have a very clear and concise idea about your research, and make sure that you do not deviate from the main research question. A clear idea will help you craft a perfect thesis. Here is how you can create a crisp and interesting  thesis introduction  along with a basic guideline.

4. Clarify the Research Objectives

Your research objectives will explain what the writer is trying to achieve. Moreover, these aims and objectives must be achievable. It means that it must be framed according to the:

  • Available time
  • Infrastructure
  • Other important resources.

However, it is beneficial to read all the developments in the field and find research gaps before deciding your objective. It will help you come up with suitable aims for your projects.

5. Add Relevant Literature Review

A separate section dedicated to the literature review will allow you to conduct extensive background research and support your research question with credible sources and research.

The following are the basic purposes of the literature review.

  • To give reference to the researchers whose study has been a part of your research.
  • To help you construct a precise and clear research question.
  • To critically evaluate previous literature information related to your research.
  • To understand research issues relevant to the topic of your research.
  • To convince the reader that your research is an important contribution to the relevant niche.

A literature review is an important component. Learning  how to write a literature review  will help you compose an engaging and impressive literature review easily.

Keep your literature review organized by adding a subheading to maintain a smooth flow in the content. Try not to bore your readers and your instructor or the committee. Write it in an engaging manner.

6. Mention the Significance of the Research

The significance of your research will identify the importance of your work. It should be mainly stated in the introductory paragraph.

You must highlight how your research is beneficial for the respective field of study. Similarly, you can also state its contribution to the field in both the broader and narrow sense.

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7. Explain the Research Methodology

‘How to write a methods section of a research proposal?’

This section explains how you are going to conduct your research. Explain why the specific method is suitable for your research and how it will help you attain your research goals. Your research methodology will give you an organized plan for the research.

Mention sufficient information regarding your research methodology for readers to understand how you are conducting your research. It must contain enough information regarding the study for another researcher to implement it.

i.) Types of Research Methodology

Choose the type of research methodology that is suitable for your research.

a.) Qualitative type is used in a theoretical type of research like that in literature.

Some research involves both; if your research topic also involves analyzing both the statistical data and theory, then make sure that you use them appropriately.   For a qualitative approach, the method section of your proposal needs to be more detailed and elaborate compared to the one in the quantitative approach. How you will collect your data and analyze it according to the qualitative approach should be described with great care.

b.) Quantitative research is suitable for projects involving collecting and analyzing statistical data like that in social sciences, medicine, and psychology.    When you choose a quantitative approach for your research, the method section should contain answers to the following elements.

  • Design – Is it a laboratory experiment or a survey?
  • What are the sample size and the subject of your study?
  • What is the procedure of your study, and how will you carry out the activities involved in it?
  • Describe your questionnaire or the instruments you will be using in the experiment.

Have detailed knowledge of all the research methodologies to justify your approach toward the research problem.

8. Present the Hypothesis or the Expected Research Results

In the research proposal, this section will contain the results of the research, but since this is a research proposal, you do not have the results yet. This is why you will add the expected research results here. These results are those that you aim to obtain from the research.

Sometimes the researcher gets the same kind of results, but sometimes, the results could differ from the expected ones.

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9. Mention the Ethical Considerations

It is an essential part of your outline. Researchers need to consider ethical values while conducting research work. Furthermore, you also have to be very careful in the data collection process and need to respect the rights of the participants.

They should not harm them in any way, and full consent should be obtained from them prior to the study.

Lastly, the writer’s moral duty is to promise complete confidentiality to feel comfortable while sharing information.

10. Discuss the Research Limitations

The research limitations indicate the flaws and shortcomings of your research. These may include:

  • Unavailability of resources
  • Small sample size
  • Wrong methodology

Listing the limitations shows your honesty and complete understanding of the topic.

11. Add Proper References and Citation

Don’t forget the references section. You don’t want to get blamed for plagiarism. Always give references to the authors and the literature you have studied for your research.

There are two ways to cite your sources.

  • Reference –  List the literature that you have used in your proposal.
  • Bibliography –  List everything that you have studied, cited, or not while doing your study or while writing.

Follow a specific format for the citation section as instructed by your supervisor. It can be written in APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard style. Both references and a bibliography are included in it.

12. Edit and Proofread

Many students prefer not to proofread the proposal after completion, which is a grave mistake. If you proofread the paper on your own, you may fail to identify the mistakes. Use online tools or have a helping hand from your friend to give it a good read.

In the end, edit the document as per the needs.

Why Do Research Proposals Get Rejected?

An analysis of 500 rejected proposals allowed us to identify the common blunders made in them. These blunders caused the rejection of otherwise promising research. Therefore, to maximize the chances of acceptance, you must avoid these mistakes.

Here are some of those mistakes.

  • The proposal stated a flawed hypothesis.
  • The professor doubts the research will not bring new or useful results.
  • The plan mentioned in the proposal lacks details and is unrealistic.
  • It lacks coherence.
  • The results obtained, or the hypothesis from the chosen method will be inaccurate.
  • The review of the literature is not done correctly.
  • Sufficient time was not devoted to writing the proposal.
  • The proposal is copied or has been used by many other students in the past.

These are the common mistakes that result in rejection.

If you desire to make it shine, stick to your instructor’s guidelines and stay away from committing these mistakes. 

Research Proposal Examples

Looking for some helpful and detailed research proposal examples to get you started? Examples are great for a quick understanding of how something works or is written, in our case.

Here are some complete research paper proposal samples to help you write your own.

RESEARCH PROPOSAL SAMPLE

RESEARCH PROPOSAL EXAMPLE - APA

HOW TO WRITE A RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL

NSF RESEARCH PROPOSAL SAMPLE

MARKET RESEARCH PROPOSAL SAMPLE

PH.D. RESEARCH PROPOSAL SAMPLE

Research Proposal Topics

You can take ideas for your topic from books, journals, previously done research, and dissertations.

Here are a few topics you can choose from.

  • How has technology evolved the English language over the last ten years?
  • What are the effects of individualism on British literature?
  • How has Feminism helped women get their rights over the last decade?
  • What caused the fall of the Roman empire, and what are its effects?
  • What factors caused World War II?
  • What are the effects of World War II on diplomacy?
  • Can cultural differences affect social interactions?
  • How have violent video games affected brain development among children?
  • How does alcohol affect aggression among a few people?
  • How effective is the death penalty?

If you want to know more about finding a topic for your research paper and research paper topic examples, here is a list of interesting  research paper topics .

Research proposals can be critical because they require great attention. If you are inexperienced, you are likely to suffer. In a worst-case scenario, your proposal may get rejected.

Your dedicated professional and experienced essay writer at  5StarEssays.com is always here to help you. Being a professional essay writing service , we know how to craft a compelling research proposal and help you get it accepted.

Or, try using our AI powered paper writer to get quick writing help and sample citations. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a strong research proposal.

Your proposal must explain why your research is important in addition to explaining the methods that you will use. You should also position yourself within your field of study and give an overview of why this specific topic could be significant.

How many pages a research proposal should be?

Research proposals typically range between three and five pages in length. Research proposal formats vary across disciplines.

You should follow the format that is standard within your field, with special attention to what your faculty mentor prefers.

What tense should a research proposal be written in?

In a research proposal, use future tense for actions to be undertaken in the study. For example: A survey method will be employed , and a close-ended questionnaire will be used .

How long is a research proposal?

When writing a research proposal, it is best, to begin with, what you want to know more about. There is no set length for these proposals so they can be anywhere from 2,500 words up or down depending on the topic and scope of your study.

Does a research proposal have chapters?

Like a research paper, the introduction and conclusion of your proposal should be brief. In every chapter you include in your proposal, begin with an informative intro paragraph that captures what will follow in each section.

Similarly, for chapters near their end, conclusions summarize points discussed throughout the sections but also highlight what is most important about them overall.

What are the 7 parts of the research proposal?

The 7 parts of a research proposal include 

  • Problem statement
  • Literature review 
  • Methodology

Each of these sections is key in order to craft an effective research proposal that will be approved by faculty members! 

Nathan D.

PhD Essay, Literature

Nathan completed his Ph.D. in journalism and has been writing articles for well-respected publications for many years now. His work is carefully researched and insightful, showing a true passion for the written word. Nathan's clients appreciate his expertise, deep understanding of the process, and ability to communicate difficult concepts clearly.

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Writing a Research Proposal

  • Purpose of Guide
  • Writing a Research Proposal
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • What Is Scholarly vs. Popular?
  • Is it Peer-Reviewed?
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism [linked guide]
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Grading Someone Else's Paper

The goal of a research proposal is 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 the research are governed by standards within the predominant discipline in which the problem resides, so 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/or 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 ensure a research problem has not already been answered [or you may determine the problem has been answered ineffectively] and, in so doing, become better at locating 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 doing 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 results. Finally, an effective proposal is judged on the quality of your writing and, therefore, it is important that your writing 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 research.
  • Why do you want to do it? 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 study. Be sure to answer the "So What?" question.
  • How are you going to do it? Be sure that what you propose is doable. If you're having trouble formulating a research problem to propose investigating, go here .

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Failure to be concise; being "all over the map" without a clear sense of purpose.
  • Failure to cite landmark works in your literature review.
  • Failure to delimit the contextual boundaries of your research [e.g., time, place, people, etc.].
  • Failure to develop a coherent and persuasive argument for the proposed research.
  • Failure to stay focused on the research problem; going off on unrelated tangents.
  • Sloppy or imprecise writing, or poor grammar.
  • Too much detail on minor issues, but not enough detail on major issues.

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 a regular academic paper, research proposals are generally organized the same way throughout most social science disciplines. Proposals vary between ten and twenty-five pages in length. 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!"

In general your proposal 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 or 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 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 one to three paragraphs that succinctly answers the following four questions :

  • What is the central research problem?
  • What is the topic of study related to that problem?
  • What methods should be used to analyze the research problem?
  • Why is this 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 section can be melded into your introduction or you can create a separate section to help with the organization and narrative flow of your proposal. This is where you explain the context of your proposal and describe in detail why it's important. 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 relevant to help explain the goals for your study.

To that end, while there are no hard and fast rules, you should attempt to address some or all of the following key points:

  • 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. Answer the "So What? question [i.e., why should anyone care].
  • Describe the major issues or problems to be addressed by your research. Be sure to note how your proposed study builds on previous assumptions about the research problem.
  • Explain how you plan to go about conducting your research. Clearly identify the key sources you intend to use and explain how they will contribute to your analysis of the topic.
  • Set the boundaries of your proposed research in order to provide a clear focus. Where appropriate, state not only what you will study, but what is excluded from the study.
  • If necessary, provide definitions of key concepts 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 demonstrating to your readers that your work is original and innovative. Think about what questions other researchers have asked, what methods they have used, and what is your understanding of their findings and, where stated, their recommendations. Do not be afraid to challenge the conclusions of prior research. Assess what you believe is missing and state how previous research has failed to adequately examine the issue that your study addresses. For more information on writing literature reviews, GO HERE .

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 study in relation to that of other researchers. A good strategy is to break the literature into "conceptual categories" [themes] rather than systematically 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 read 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.

To help frame your proposal's literature review, here are 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: what are the major areas of disagreement, controversy, or debate?
  • Critique the literature: Which arguments are more persuasive, and why? Which approaches, findings, 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 it is 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 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 operations you will undertake and the way you will interpret the results of these operations 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 a methodology is not just a list of tasks; it is an argument as to why these tasks 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 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 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 reader.

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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Home » Research Proposal – Types, Template and Example

Research Proposal – Types, Template and Example

Table of Contents

Research Proposal

Research Proposal

Research proposal is a document that outlines a proposed research project . It is typically written by researchers, scholars, or students who intend to conduct research to address a specific research question or problem.

Types of Research Proposal

Research proposals can vary depending on the nature of the research project and the specific requirements of the funding agency, academic institution, or research program. Here are some common types of research proposals:

Academic Research Proposal

This is the most common type of research proposal, which is prepared by students, scholars, or researchers to seek approval and funding for an academic research project. It includes all the essential components mentioned earlier, such as the introduction, literature review , methodology , and expected outcomes.

Grant Proposal

A grant proposal is specifically designed to secure funding from external sources, such as government agencies, foundations, or private organizations. It typically includes additional sections, such as a detailed budget, project timeline, evaluation plan, and a description of the project’s alignment with the funding agency’s priorities and objectives.

Dissertation or Thesis Proposal

Students pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree often need to submit a proposal outlining their intended research for their dissertation or thesis. These proposals are usually more extensive and comprehensive, including an in-depth literature review, theoretical framework, research questions or hypotheses, and a detailed methodology.

Research Project Proposal

This type of proposal is often prepared by researchers or research teams within an organization or institution. It outlines a specific research project that aims to address a particular problem, explore a specific area of interest, or provide insights for decision-making. Research project proposals may include sections on project management, collaboration, and dissemination of results.

Research Fellowship Proposal

Researchers or scholars applying for research fellowships may be required to submit a proposal outlining their proposed research project. These proposals often emphasize the novelty and significance of the research and its alignment with the goals and objectives of the fellowship program.

Collaborative Research Proposal

In cases where researchers from multiple institutions or disciplines collaborate on a research project, a collaborative research proposal is prepared. This proposal highlights the objectives, responsibilities, and contributions of each collaborator, as well as the overall research plan and coordination mechanisms.

Research Proposal Outline

A research proposal typically follows a standard outline that helps structure the document and ensure all essential components are included. While the specific headings and subheadings may vary slightly depending on the requirements of your institution or funding agency, the following outline provides a general structure for a research proposal:

  • Title of the research proposal
  • Name of the researcher(s) or principal investigator(s)
  • Affiliation or institution
  • Date of submission
  • A concise summary of the research proposal, typically limited to 200-300 words.
  • Briefly introduce the research problem or question, state the objectives, summarize the methodology, and highlight the expected outcomes or significance of the research.
  • Provide an overview of the subject area and the specific research problem or question.
  • Present relevant background information, theories, or concepts to establish the need for the research.
  • Clearly state the research objectives or research questions that the study aims to address.
  • Indicate the significance or potential contributions of the research.
  • Summarize and analyze relevant studies, theories, or scholarly works.
  • Identify research gaps or unresolved issues that your study intends to address.
  • Highlight the novelty or uniqueness of your research.
  • Describe the overall approach or research design that will be used (e.g., experimental, qualitative, quantitative).
  • Justify the chosen approach based on the research objectives and question.
  • Explain how data will be collected (e.g., surveys, interviews, experiments).
  • Describe the sampling strategy and sample size, if applicable.
  • Address any ethical considerations related to data collection.
  • Outline the data analysis techniques or statistical methods that will be applied.
  • Explain how the data will be interpreted and analyzed to answer the research question(s).
  • Provide a detailed schedule or timeline that outlines the various stages of the research project.
  • Specify the estimated duration for each stage, including data collection, analysis, and report writing.
  • State the potential outcomes or results of the research.
  • Discuss the potential significance or contributions of the study to the field.
  • Address any potential limitations or challenges that may be encountered.
  • Identify the resources required to conduct the research, such as funding, equipment, or access to data.
  • Specify any collaborations or partnerships necessary for the successful completion of the study.
  • Include a list of cited references in the appropriate citation style (e.g., APA, MLA).

———————————————————————————————–

Research Proposal Example Template

Here’s an example of a research proposal to give you an idea of how it can be structured:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Adolescent Well-being: A Mixed-Methods Study

This research proposal aims to investigate the impact of social media on the well-being of adolescents. The study will employ a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews to gather comprehensive data. The research objectives include examining the relationship between social media use and mental health, exploring the role of peer influence in shaping online behaviors, and identifying strategies for promoting healthy social media use among adolescents. The findings of this study will contribute to the understanding of the effects of social media on adolescent well-being and inform the development of targeted interventions.

1. Introduction

1.1 Background and Context:

Adolescents today are immersed in social media platforms, which have become integral to their daily lives. However, concerns have been raised about the potential negative impact of social media on their well-being, including increased rates of depression, anxiety, and body dissatisfaction. It is crucial to investigate this phenomenon further and understand the underlying mechanisms to develop effective strategies for promoting healthy social media use among adolescents.

1.2 Research Objectives:

The main objectives of this study are:

  • To examine the association between social media use and mental health outcomes among adolescents.
  • To explore the influence of peer relationships and social comparison on online behaviors.
  • To identify strategies and interventions to foster positive social media use and enhance adolescent well-being.

2. Literature Review

Extensive research has been conducted on the impact of social media on adolescents. Existing literature suggests that excessive social media use can contribute to negative outcomes, such as low self-esteem, cyberbullying, and addictive behaviors. However, some studies have also highlighted the positive aspects of social media, such as providing opportunities for self-expression and social support. This study will build upon this literature by incorporating both quantitative and qualitative approaches to gain a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between social media and adolescent well-being.

3. Methodology

3.1 Research Design:

This study will adopt a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews. The quantitative phase will involve administering standardized questionnaires to a representative sample of adolescents to assess their social media use, mental health indicators, and perceived social support. The qualitative phase will include in-depth interviews with a subset of participants to explore their experiences, motivations, and perceptions related to social media use.

3.2 Data Collection Methods:

Quantitative data will be collected through an online survey distributed to schools in the target region. The survey will include validated scales to measure social media use, mental health outcomes, and perceived social support. Qualitative data will be collected through semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of participants. The interviews will be audio-recorded and transcribed for thematic analysis.

3.3 Data Analysis:

Quantitative data will be analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis to examine the relationships between variables. Qualitative data will be analyzed thematically to identify common themes and patterns within participants’ narratives. Integration of quantitative and qualitative findings will provide a comprehensive understanding of the research questions.

4. Timeline

The research project will be conducted over a period of 12 months, divided into specific phases, including literature review, study design, data collection, analysis, and report writing. A detailed timeline outlining the key milestones and activities is provided in Appendix A.

5. Expected Outcomes and Significance

This study aims to contribute to the existing literature on the impact of social media on adolescent well-being by employing a mixed-methods approach. The findings will inform the development of evidence-based interventions and guidelines to promote healthy social media use among adolescents. This research has the potential to benefit adolescents, parents, educators, and policymakers by providing insights into the complex relationship between social media and well-being and offering strategies for fostering positive online experiences.

6. Resources

The resources required for this research include access to a representative sample of adolescents, research assistants for data collection, statistical software for data analysis, and funding to cover survey administration and participant incentives. Ethical considerations will be taken into account, ensuring participant confidentiality and obtaining informed consent.

7. References

Research Proposal Writing Guide

Writing a research proposal can be a complex task, but with proper guidance and organization, you can create a compelling and well-structured proposal. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  • Understand the requirements: Familiarize yourself with the guidelines and requirements provided by your institution, funding agency, or program. Pay attention to formatting, page limits, specific sections or headings, and any other instructions.
  • Identify your research topic: Choose a research topic that aligns with your interests, expertise, and the goals of your program or funding opportunity. Ensure that your topic is specific, focused, and relevant to the field of study.
  • Conduct a literature review : Review existing literature and research relevant to your topic. Identify key theories, concepts, methodologies, and findings related to your research question. This will help you establish the context, identify research gaps, and demonstrate the significance of your proposed study.
  • Define your research objectives and research question(s): Clearly state the objectives you aim to achieve with your research. Formulate research questions that address the gaps identified in the literature review. Your research objectives and questions should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • Develop a research methodology: Determine the most appropriate research design and methodology for your study. Consider whether quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods approaches will best address your research question(s). Describe the data collection methods, sampling strategy, data analysis techniques, and any ethical considerations associated with your research.
  • Create a research plan and timeline: Outline the various stages of your research project, including tasks, milestones, and deadlines. Develop a realistic timeline that considers factors such as data collection, analysis, and report writing. This plan will help you stay organized and manage your time effectively throughout the research process.
  • A. Introduction: Provide background information on the research problem, highlight its significance, and introduce your research objectives and questions.
  • B. Literature review: Summarize relevant literature, identify gaps, and justify the need for your proposed research.
  • C . Methodology: Describe your research design, data collection methods, sampling strategy, data analysis techniques, and any ethical considerations.
  • D . Expected outcomes and significance: Explain the potential outcomes, contributions, and implications of your research.
  • E. Resources: Identify the resources required to conduct your research, such as funding, equipment, or access to data.
  • F . References: Include a list of cited references in the appropriate citation style.
  • Revise and proofread: Review your proposal for clarity, coherence, and logical flow. Check for grammar and spelling errors. Seek feedback from mentors, colleagues, or advisors to refine and improve your proposal.
  • Finalize and submit: Make any necessary revisions based on feedback and finalize your research proposal. Ensure that you have met all the requirements and formatting guidelines. Submit your proposal within the specified deadline.

Research Proposal Length

The length of a research proposal can vary depending on the specific guidelines provided by your institution or funding agency. However, research proposals typically range from 1,500 to 3,000 words, excluding references and any additional supporting documents.

Purpose of Research Proposal

The purpose of a research proposal is to outline and communicate your research project to others, such as academic institutions, funding agencies, or potential collaborators. It serves several important purposes:

  • Demonstrate the significance of the research: A research proposal explains the importance and relevance of your research project. It outlines the research problem or question, highlights the gaps in existing knowledge, and explains how your study will contribute to the field. By clearly articulating the significance of your research, you can convince others of its value and potential impact.
  • Provide a clear research plan: A research proposal outlines the methodology, design, and approach you will use to conduct your study. It describes the research objectives, data collection methods, data analysis techniques, and potential outcomes. By presenting a clear research plan, you demonstrate that your study is well-thought-out, feasible, and likely to produce meaningful results.
  • Secure funding or support: For researchers seeking funding or support for their projects, a research proposal is essential. It allows you to make a persuasive case for why your research is deserving of financial resources or institutional backing. The proposal explains the budgetary requirements, resources needed, and potential benefits of the research, helping you secure the necessary funding or support.
  • Seek feedback and guidance: Presenting a research proposal provides an opportunity to receive feedback and guidance from experts in your field. It allows you to engage in discussions and receive suggestions for refining your research plan, improving the methodology, or addressing any potential limitations. This feedback can enhance the quality of your study and increase its chances of success.
  • Establish ethical considerations: A research proposal also addresses ethical considerations associated with your study. It outlines how you will ensure participant confidentiality, obtain informed consent, and adhere to ethical guidelines and regulations. By demonstrating your awareness and commitment to ethical research practices, you build trust and credibility in your proposed study.

Importance of Research Proposal

The research proposal holds significant importance in the research process. Here are some key reasons why research proposals are important:

  • Planning and organization: A research proposal requires careful planning and organization of your research project. It forces you to think through the research objectives, research questions, methodology, and potential outcomes before embarking on the actual study. This planning phase helps you establish a clear direction and framework for your research, ensuring that your efforts are focused and purposeful.
  • Demonstrating the significance of the research: A research proposal allows you to articulate the significance and relevance of your study. By providing a thorough literature review and clearly defining the research problem or question, you can showcase the gaps in existing knowledge that your research aims to address. This demonstrates to others, such as funding agencies or academic institutions, why your research is important and deserving of support.
  • Obtaining funding and resources: Research proposals are often required to secure funding for your research project. Funding agencies and organizations need to evaluate the feasibility and potential impact of the proposed research before allocating resources. A well-crafted research proposal helps convince funders of the value of your research and increases the likelihood of securing financial support, grants, or scholarships.
  • Receiving feedback and guidance: Presenting a research proposal provides an opportunity to seek feedback and guidance from experts in your field. By sharing your research plan and objectives with others, you can benefit from their insights and suggestions. This feedback can help refine your research design, strengthen your methodology, and ensure that your study is rigorous and well-informed.
  • Ethical considerations: A research proposal addresses ethical considerations associated with your study. It outlines how you will protect the rights and welfare of participants, maintain confidentiality, obtain informed consent, and adhere to ethical guidelines and regulations. This emphasis on ethical practices ensures that your research is conducted responsibly and with integrity.
  • Enhancing collaboration and partnerships: A research proposal can facilitate collaborations and partnerships with other researchers, institutions, or organizations. When presenting your research plan, you may attract the interest of potential collaborators who share similar research interests or possess complementary expertise. Collaborative partnerships can enrich your study, expand your resources, and foster knowledge exchange.
  • Establishing a research trajectory: A research proposal serves as a foundation for your research project. Once approved, it becomes a roadmap that guides your study’s implementation, data collection, analysis, and reporting. It helps maintain focus and ensures that your research stays on track and aligned with the initial objectives.

When to Write Research Proposal

The timing of when to write a research proposal can vary depending on the specific requirements and circumstances. However, here are a few common situations when it is appropriate to write a research proposal:

  • Academic research: If you are a student pursuing a research degree, such as a Ph.D. or Master’s by research, you will typically be required to write a research proposal as part of the application process. This is usually done before starting the research program to outline your proposed study and seek approval from the academic institution.
  • Funding applications: When applying for research grants, scholarships, or funding from organizations or institutions, you will often need to submit a research proposal. Funding agencies require a detailed description of your research project, including its objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes. Writing a research proposal in this context is necessary to secure financial support for your study.
  • Research collaborations: When collaborating with other researchers, institutions, or organizations on a research project, it is common to prepare a research proposal. This helps outline the research objectives, roles and responsibilities, and expected contributions from each party. Writing a research proposal in this case allows all collaborators to align their efforts and ensure a shared understanding of the project.
  • Research project within an organization: If you are conducting research within an organization, such as a company or government agency, you may be required to write a research proposal to gain approval and support for your study. This proposal outlines the research objectives, methodology, resources needed, and expected outcomes, ensuring that the project aligns with the organization’s goals and objectives.
  • Independent research projects: Even if you are not required to write a research proposal, it can still be beneficial to develop one for your independent research projects. Writing a research proposal helps you plan and structure your study, clarify your research objectives, and anticipate potential challenges or limitations. It also allows you to communicate your research plans effectively to supervisors, mentors, or collaborators.

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Examples

Article Proposal

Ai generator.

writing a research proposal sample

Writing a proposal could be one of the most essential tool in business because it helps cultivate relationships between the organization and the project to be implemented. It talks about the plan itself that gives thorough information about the exact intention of the proposal. You should be able to know about ways on how to manage and the results that will be delivered from it. A proposal is indeed a very important document that has a framework which establishes ideas to provide a better understanding with regards to the project. This article will help you know and learn about article proposals and its components.

What is an Article Proposal?

An article proposal is a document submitted to a publication to pitch a potential article. It includes a relevant topic, a strong title, a compelling introduction, the article’s purpose and scope, its relevance to the audience, an outline, research sources, a writing sample, and the author’s credentials. The proposal aims to convince editors of the article’s value.

Article Proposal Format

An article proposal helps you effectively pitch your article idea to editors and publishers. Here is a structured format to guide you:

  • Create a clear and engaging title that encapsulates the essence of your article.
  • Introduction
  • Hook the reader with an intriguing opening.
  • Provide a brief overview of the article’s topic.

Purpose and Scope

  • State the main purpose of the article.
  • Outline the key points you will discuss.
  • Explain the importance and relevance of your topic to the publication’s audience.
  • Use facts, statistics, or quotes to support your claims.

Article Structure

  • Main Points/Sections

Research and Sources

  • Mention any research or sources you will use.
  • Highlight any original research, interviews, or unique perspectives .

Writing Sample

  • Include a sample paragraph or section from the article to showcase your writing style.

Author Credentials

  • Introduce yourself briefly.
  • Highlight your relevant experience or expertise .
  • Mention any previous publications or related work .

Conclusion and Call to Action

  • Conclude with a call to action , inviting the editor to contact you.
  • Thank the editor for considering your proposal.

Article Proposal Sample

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Teen Mental Health Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of teenagers’ lives. This article explores the positive and negative impacts of social media on teen mental health. Purpose and Scope: The article will discuss how social media influences teen behavior, self-esteem, and mental health. It will provide strategies for parents and educators to mitigate negative effects. Relevance: With the rising use of social media among teens, understanding its impact is crucial for parents, educators, and policymakers. Structure: Introduction to Social Media Usage Among Teens Positive Effects of Social Media Negative Effects of Social Media Case Studies and Research Findings Strategies for Mitigation Conclusion Research and Sources: The article will reference studies from the American Psychological Association, interviews with psychologists, and surveys conducted among teens. Writing Sample: [Include a sample paragraph here] Author Credentials: I am a freelance writer with a Master’s degree in Psychology. I have written for publications like Psychology Today and The Huffington Post. Conclusion and Call to Action: I look forward to your feedback and am excited about the possibility of contributing to your publication. Thank you for considering my proposal.

Examples of Article Proposal

Example of article proposal for students.

Title: The Impact of Online Learning on Student Performance Introduction: Online learning has become increasingly prevalent, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This article explores the impact of online learning on student performance, focusing on academic outcomes, engagement, and mental health. Purpose and Scope: The article will examine how online learning affects students’ academic performance, engagement levels, and mental health. It will also discuss the benefits and challenges of online learning and provide strategies for improving online education. Relevance: With the shift towards online education, understanding its impact on students is crucial for educators, parents, and policymakers. This article will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of online learning and ways to enhance it. Structure: Introduction to Online Learning Academic Outcomes Student Engagement Mental Health Effects Benefits of Online Learning Challenges of Online Learning Strategies for Improvement Conclusion Research and Sources: The article will reference studies from educational journals, surveys conducted among students and teachers, and interviews with education experts. It will also include data from institutions that have successfully implemented online learning programs. Writing Sample: Online learning offers flexibility and accessibility, but it also presents challenges in maintaining student engagement and ensuring effective communication. Research indicates that students in well-structured online programs can perform as well as their peers in traditional classrooms, provided they have the necessary support and resources. Author Credentials: I am an education major with a focus on technology in education. I have conducted research on online learning platforms and have experience in both online and in-person teaching environments. Conclusion and Call to Action: I look forward to your feedback and am excited about the possibility of contributing to your publication. Thank you for considering my proposal.

Example of Article Proposal for Research

Title: The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Modern Healthcare Introduction: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various industries, with healthcare being one of the most impacted. This article explores the role of AI in modern healthcare, focusing on diagnostic accuracy, treatment personalization, and administrative efficiency. Purpose and Scope: The article will examine how AI technologies are enhancing diagnostic processes, personalizing treatment plans, and improving administrative operations in healthcare settings. It will also address ethical considerations and potential challenges. Relevance: With the increasing integration of AI in healthcare, understanding its benefits and limitations is crucial for medical professionals, policymakers, and technology developers. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of AI applications in healthcare. Structure: Introduction to AI in Healthcare Enhancing Diagnostic Accuracy Personalizing Treatment Plans Improving Administrative Efficiency Ethical Considerations and Challenges Case Studies of Successful AI Implementations Future Prospects and Innovations Conclusion Research and Sources: The article will reference studies from medical journals, interviews with healthcare professionals and AI experts, and reports from institutions that have successfully integrated AI technologies. Additionally, it will include data from recent advancements and clinical trials involving AI. Writing Sample: AI technologies, such as machine learning algorithms and natural language processing, are significantly improving diagnostic accuracy by analyzing vast amounts of medical data quickly and accurately. For instance, AI-driven tools can detect early signs of diseases like cancer, enabling timely intervention and improving patient outcomes. Author Credentials: I am a researcher with a background in computer science and a focus on healthcare technologies. I have published articles on AI applications in peer-reviewed journals and have collaborated with healthcare professionals on AI integration projects. Conclusion and Call to Action: I look forward to your feedback and am excited about the possibility of contributing to your publication. Thank you for considering my proposal.

Example of Article Proposal for Business

Title: The Future of Remote Work: Trends and Predictions for 2025 Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote work, leading to significant changes in business operations worldwide. This article explores the future of remote work, focusing on emerging trends, technological advancements, and predictions for 2025. Purpose and Scope: The article will examine the key trends shaping the future of remote work, the technological tools facilitating this shift, and the potential challenges businesses may face. It will also provide actionable insights for business leaders to adapt to these changes. Relevance: With remote work becoming a permanent fixture in many industries, understanding its future implications is crucial for business leaders, HR professionals, and employees. This article aims to equip readers with the knowledge needed to navigate the evolving remote work landscape. Structure: Introduction to the Rise of Remote Work Key Trends Shaping Remote Work Technological Advancements Enabling Remote Work Benefits and Challenges of Remote Work Case Studies of Successful Remote Work Implementations Predictions for Remote Work in 2025 Actionable Insights for Business Leaders Conclusion Research and Sources: The article will reference studies from business journals, surveys conducted among remote workers and employers, and interviews with industry experts. It will also include data from companies that have successfully transitioned to remote work models. Writing Sample: Remote work is no longer just a temporary solution but a long-term strategy for many companies. Advancements in collaboration tools, such as video conferencing platforms and project management software, are enabling teams to work efficiently from any location. However, businesses must also address challenges such as maintaining company culture and ensuring cybersecurity. Author Credentials: I am a business analyst with expertise in workplace trends and organizational behavior. I have published articles in business magazines and have consulted with companies on implementing remote work strategies. Conclusion and Call to Action: I look forward to your feedback and am excited about the possibility of contributing to your publication. Thank you for considering my proposal.

Example of Journal Article Proposal

Title: Exploring the Effects of Climate Change on Coastal Ecosystems Introduction: Climate change is profoundly impacting coastal ecosystems, leading to significant ecological and socio-economic consequences. This article examines the effects of climate change on coastal ecosystems, focusing on biodiversity loss, habitat degradation, and community resilience. Purpose and Scope: The article will analyze how rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, and ocean acidification are affecting coastal ecosystems. It will also discuss mitigation and adaptation strategies to enhance the resilience of these ecosystems. Relevance: Understanding the impacts of climate change on coastal ecosystems is critical for developing effective conservation and management strategies. This article aims to provide comprehensive insights for environmental scientists, policymakers, and conservationists. Structure: Introduction to Climate Change and Coastal Ecosystems Impact on Biodiversity Habitat Degradation Community Resilience Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies Case Studies of Affected Regions Future Research Directions Conclusion Research and Sources: The article will reference peer-reviewed studies from environmental science journals, reports from international organizations such as the IPCC, and interviews with marine biologists and ecologists. Additionally, it will include data from field studies and climate models. Writing Sample: Rising sea levels are causing significant habitat loss for many coastal species, leading to declines in biodiversity. For example, mangrove forests, which provide critical nursery habitats for fish, are being submerged, resulting in a decrease in fish populations and affecting local fisheries. Author Credentials: I am an environmental scientist with a Ph.D. in Marine Biology. I have published multiple articles in peer-reviewed journals and have conducted extensive research on the effects of climate change on marine and coastal ecosystems. Conclusion and Call to Action: I look forward to your feedback and am excited about the possibility of contributing to your journal. Thank you for considering my proposal.

More Article Proposal Samples & Examples

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Article Proposal Cover Letter

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Components of a Article Proposal

Every writer should be knowledgeable about the components of a proposal. It helps in getting the interest of the readers more.

Abstract – this is considered to be the most important part of a proposal. Develop the best title and use bold subheadings. You should also include the highlights in your topic sentence and discuss what should be done, what is the problem and what will be the benefit?

Statement of the need – you have to start preparing for answers to these questions: “what is the issue?”, “why does the issue matter?”, “who can benefit?”, “who else is working in this field?”, and “what have they done?”

Methodology – state why you choose to address this matter and what approach you used that you think is applicable and appropriate for the situation. Also state the activities that are involved in the process and the outcomes that needs to be achieved.

Evaluation – you should provide an evaluation of your report and if feasible, do it in qualitative or quantitative manner.

Dissemination – this should be linked into your project goals. Don’t forget to describe your communication strategy and be creative. When you are to send an article, you may consider engaging yourself in community outreach activities, conference presentations, interviews, launch a blog post, create papers and press releases and the like.

Budget or Funds – present your budget in a graphic organizer . A table is best to use. Explain each one of them. Take note that you should only include the source of your budget if it is being mandated. Also indicate how a particular project is being funded after the funds have run out.

These components are necessary to the writing process of your article proposal. Your proposal wouldn’t be called a proposal and will be considered lacking if one of these components are missing.

How to write an Article Proposal

How to write an Article Proposal

Writing an article proposal is a crucial step in getting your work published. It helps you organize your ideas, demonstrate the relevance of your topic, and convince editors or publishers of your article’s value. Follow these steps to craft a compelling article proposal.

1. Understand the Guidelines

Before you start, review the submission guidelines of the publication to which you are pitching. Different publications have varying requirements regarding word count, style, and format.

2. Choose a Relevant Topic

Select a topic that is timely, relevant, and interesting to the publication’s audience. Ensure it aligns with the publication’s focus and style.

3. Craft a Strong Title

Create a clear and engaging title that captures the essence of your article. The title should grab attention and provide a snapshot of your topic.

4. Write a Compelling Introduction

Begin with a hook that draws the reader in. Introduce the main topic and provide a brief overview of what the article will cover. Highlight the importance and relevance of the topic.

5. State the Purpose and Scope

Clearly state the purpose of your article . What is the main argument or point you want to convey? Outline the scope by mentioning the key points you will discuss.

6. Explain the Relevance

Explain why your article is important and relevant to the publication’s audience. Use facts, statistics, or quotes to support your claims.

7. Outline the Structure

Provide a brief outline of the article . Mention the main sections or points you will cover. This helps the editor understand the flow and organization of your article.

8. Showcase Your Research

Mention any research or sources you will use to back up your points. Highlight any original research, interviews, or unique perspectives you will bring to the article.

9. Provide a Writing Sample

If possible, include a sample paragraph or section from the article. This gives the editor a taste of your writing style and the quality of your work.

10. Highlight Your Credentials

Briefly introduce yourself and highlight your relevant experience or expertise. Mention any previous publications or related work.

11. Conclude with a Call to Action

End with a call to action , inviting the editor to contact you if they are interested in your proposal. Thank them for considering your pitch.

How do I choose a topic for my article proposal?

Select a topic that is relevant, timely, and aligns with the publication’s focus and audience interests.

What should be included in the introduction of an article proposal?

The introduction should hook the reader, provide a brief overview, and highlight the topic’s importance and relevance.

How detailed should the article structure be?

Provide a clear outline with main sections and key points to help the editor understand the article’s flow and organization.

What type of research should I include in my proposal?

Include references to studies, interviews, and data relevant to your topic to showcase thorough research and credibility.

What tone should I use in my article proposal?

Maintain a professional and respectful tone throughout, ensuring clarity and conciseness in your writing.

How long should an article proposal be?

Keep the proposal concise, ideally one to two pages, focusing on clarity and relevance.

Why is the author’s credentials section important?

It establishes your expertise and credibility, showing why you are qualified to write on the proposed topic.

What is the purpose of the writing sample in the proposal?

It showcases your writing style and quality, giving editors a glimpse of what to expect in the final article.

How do I address potential challenges in my article proposal?

Acknowledge possible challenges related to the topic and briefly suggest how you will address or overcome them.

How important is the title in an article proposal?

A strong, engaging title is crucial as it captures attention and provides a snapshot of the article’s content.

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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.

INTRODUCTION

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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BASIC REQUIREMENTS OF A RESEARCH PROPOSAL

A proposal needs to show how your work fits into what is already known about the topic and what new paradigm will it add to the literature, while specifying the question that the research will answer, establishing its significance, and the implications of the answer.[ 2 ] The proposal must be capable of convincing the evaluation committee about the credibility, achievability, practicality and reproducibility (repeatability) of the research design.[ 3 ] Four categories of audience with different expectations may be present in the evaluation committees, namely academic colleagues, policy-makers, practitioners and lay audiences who evaluate the research proposal. Tips for preparation of a good research proposal include; ‘be practical, be persuasive, make broader links, aim for crystal clarity and plan before you write’. A researcher must be balanced, with a realistic understanding of what can be achieved. Being persuasive implies that researcher must be able to convince other researchers, research funding agencies, educational institutions and supervisors that the research is worth getting approval. The aim of the researcher should be clearly stated in simple language that describes the research in a way that non-specialists can comprehend, without use of jargons. The proposal must not only demonstrate that it is based on an intelligent understanding of the existing literature but also show that the writer has thought about the time needed to conduct each stage of the research.[ 4 , 5 ]

CONTENTS OF A RESEARCH PROPOSAL

The contents or formats of a research proposal vary depending on the requirements of evaluation committee and are generally provided by the evaluation committee or the institution.

In general, a cover page should contain the (i) title of the proposal, (ii) name and affiliation of the researcher (principal investigator) and co-investigators, (iii) institutional affiliation (degree of the investigator and the name of institution where the study will be performed), details of contact such as phone numbers, E-mail id's and lines for signatures of investigators.

The main contents of the proposal may be presented under the following headings: (i) introduction, (ii) review of literature, (iii) aims and objectives, (iv) research design and methods, (v) ethical considerations, (vi) budget, (vii) appendices and (viii) citations.[ 4 ]

Introduction

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

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

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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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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What’s Included: Research Proposal Template

Our free dissertation/thesis proposal template covers the core essential ingredients for a strong research proposal. It includes clear explanations of what you need to address in each section, as well as straightforward examples and links to further resources.

The research proposal template covers the following core elements:

  • Introduction & background (including the research problem)
  • Literature review
  • Research design / methodology
  • Project plan , resource requirements and risk management

The cleanly-formatted Google Doc can be downloaded as a fully editable MS Word Document (DOCX format), so you can use it as-is or convert it to LaTeX.

PS – if you’d like a high-level template for the entire thesis, you can we’ve got that too .

Research Proposal Template FAQS

What types of research proposals can this template be used for.

The proposal template follows the standard format for academic research projects, which means it will be suitable for the vast majority of dissertations and theses (especially those within the sciences), whether they are qualitative or quantitative in terms of design.

Keep in mind that the exact requirements for the introduction chapter/section will vary between universities and degree programs. These are typically minor, but it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalise your structure.

Is this template for an undergrad, Master or PhD-level proposal?

This template can be used for a research project at any level of study. Doctoral-level projects typically require the research proposal to be more extensive/comprehensive, but the structure will typically remain the same.

How long should my research proposal be?

The length of a research proposal varies by institution and subject, but as a ballpark, it’s usually between 1,500 and 3,000 words.

To be safe, it’s best to check with your university if they have any preferences or requirements in terms of minimum and maximum word count for the research propsal.

How detailed should the methodology of the proposal be?

You don’t need to go into the fine details of your methodology, but this section should be detailed enough to demonstrate that your research approach is feasible and will address your research questions effectively. Be sure to include your intended methods for data collection and analysis.

Can I include preliminary data or pilot study results in my proposal?

Generally, yes. This can strengthen your proposal by demonstrating the feasibility of your research. However, make sure that your pilot study is approved by your university before collecting any data.

Can I share this template with my friends/colleagues?

Yes, you’re welcome to share this template in its original format (no editing allowed). If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, we kindly request that you reference this page as your source.

What format is the template (DOC, PDF, PPT, etc.)?

The research proposal template is provided as a Google Doc. You can download it in MS Word format or make a copy to your Google Drive. You’re also welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.

Do you have templates for the other chapters?

Yes, we do. We are constantly developing our collection of free resources to help students complete their dissertations and theses. You can view all of our template resources here .

Can Grad Coach help me with my dissertation/thesis?

Yes, you’re welcome to get in touch with us to discuss our private coaching services .

Further Resources: Proposal Writing

The template provides step-by-step guidance for each section of your research proposal, but if you’d like to learn more about how to write up a high-quality research proposal, check out the rest of our free proposal-related resources:

  • Research Proposal 101
  • Examples of research proposals
  • How To Find A Research Topic
  • How To Find A Research Gap
  • Developing Your Golden Thread
  • How To Write A Research Proposal
  • 8 Common Proposal Writing Mistakes

You can also visit the Grad Coach blog for more proposal-related resources.

Free Webinar: How To Write A Research Proposal

If you’d prefer 1-on-1 support with your research proposal, have a look at our private coaching service , where we hold your hand through the research process, step by step.

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writing a research proposal sample

1. Introduction

2. literature review, 2.1. online communication through social media for educational purposes, 2.2. academic writing, 2.3. social media, academic writing, and the fourth goal of sustainable development, 3. research questions.

  • How do post-graduate students perceive the role of social media platforms in enhancing their academic writing?
  • What are the obstacles to the use of social media platforms that hinder enhancing academic writing?

4. Methodology

4.1. participants, 4.2. research approach, 4.3. research procedure, 4.4. data collection and analysis.

  • What social media tools were used by you in writing the research plan?
  • Which of these tools do you prefer to use? Why?
  • Describe your experience using your favorite tool in some detail.
  • What do you think of the use of these tools in terms of their usefulness in improving the quality of your writing of the research plan? Why?
  • From your point of view, what are the disadvantages of using these tools that may negatively affect the quality of your writing of the research plan? Why?
  • From your point of view, what are the obstacles to using these tools that may reduce their usefulness in improving the quality of your writing of the research plan? Why?
  • Do you prefer using social media tools or traditional methods of communicating with the supervisor regarding the development of the research plan? Why?
  • Familiarizing yourself with your data: The authors of the study were the interviewers. Therefore, they were very familiar with the data.
  • Generating initial codes: The initial interesting codes from the data were identified. The codes were then assessed in a meaningful way regarding the research questions.
  • Searching for themes: Here the analysis re-focused on the codes on a broader level, which is generating themes. In this phase, different codes are sorted into potential themes.
  • Reviewing themes: The initial list of themes was refined, and some candidate themes that did not have enough data to support them were ignored.
  • Defining and naming themes: In this phase, the data were defined by identifying the essence of what each theme was about and were refined by determining what aspect of the data each theme captured. Table 2 illustrates the themes and frequencies of the interview data revealed from the thematic analysis.
  • Producing the report: This phase involved the final analysis under the themes and write-up of the final report. The final report of the data analysis and the concluded findings will be reviewed in the following section.

5. Findings and Discussion

6. limitation, 7. conclusions, author contributions, institutional review board statement, informed consent statement, data availability statement, conflicts of interest.

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Click here to enlarge figure

Demographic DatanPercentages
GenderMales440%
Females660%
Age range22–27 years old880%
28–31 years old220%
Specialization in MastersEducational Technology10100%
Specialization in Bachelor’s degreeScience110%
Math220%
Computer Sciences440%
Arabic110%
Early Childhood110%
Social Studies110%
Main ThemesSub ThemesFrequencyPercentages
Social media toolsWhatsApp770%
Microsoft Teams440%
Zoom330%
Twitter220%
Telegram110%
Blackboard110%
BenefitsEasy communication770%
Transcending the limits of space660%
Instant feedback550%
Repeat review files550%
Interactive guidance550%
Save time and effort550%
File and resource sharing550%
Transcending the limits of time440%
Diverse file format330%
Communicate experienced researchers330%
Favorite method of holding meetingsDistance660%
Blended440%
ObstaclesTechnical problems550%
Poor face-to-face communication skills330%
Distracting330%
Lack of technical skills110%
Burden110%
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Share and Cite

Al Mulhim, E.N.; Ismaeel, D.A. Learning Sustainability: Post-Graduate Students’ Perceptions on the Use of Social Media Platforms to Enhance Academic Writing. Sustainability 2024 , 16 , 5587. https://doi.org/10.3390/su16135587

Al Mulhim EN, Ismaeel DA. Learning Sustainability: Post-Graduate Students’ Perceptions on the Use of Social Media Platforms to Enhance Academic Writing. Sustainability . 2024; 16(13):5587. https://doi.org/10.3390/su16135587

Al Mulhim, Ensaf Nasser, and Dina Ahmed Ismaeel. 2024. "Learning Sustainability: Post-Graduate Students’ Perceptions on the Use of Social Media Platforms to Enhance Academic Writing" Sustainability 16, no. 13: 5587. https://doi.org/10.3390/su16135587

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IMAGES

  1. How to Write a Research Proposal: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

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    As you write up your research proposal, remember the all-important core purpose: to convince. Your research proposal needs to sell your study in terms of suitability and viability. So, focus on crafting a convincing narrative to ensure a strong proposal. At the same time, pay close attention to your university's requirements.

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    Make sure you can ask the critical what, who, and how questions of your research before you put pen to paper. Your research proposal should include (at least) 5 essential components : Title - provides the first taste of your research, in broad terms. Introduction - explains what you'll be researching in more detail.

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    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."

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    Research proposals. Your research proposal is a key part of your application. It tells us about the question you want to answer through your research. It is a chance for you to show your knowledge of the subject area and tell us about the methods you want to use. We use your research proposal to match you with a supervisor or team of supervisors.

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    Hannah Skaggs. Hannah, a writer and editor since 2017, specializes in clear and concise academic and business writing. She has mentored countless scholars and companies in writing authoritative and engaging content. Write a research proposal with purpose and accuracy. Learn about the objective, parts, and key elements of a research proposal in ...

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    Mention any research or sources you will use to back up your points. Highlight any original research, interviews, or unique perspectives you will bring to the article. 9. Provide a Writing Sample. If possible, include a sample paragraph or section from the article. This gives the editor a taste of your writing style and the quality of your work.

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    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.

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  24. Sustainability

    Academic writing is a vital element in any post-graduate study. Therefore, it is crucial to harness all the tools and capabilities available to serve this purpose. These capabilities include the digital tools that characterize the current era. This paper aims to explore post-graduate students' perceptions of the use of social media platforms to enhance academic writing during the COVID-19 ...