If you work in a scientific or academic field, chances are that, sooner or later, you will need to write a research proposal. Typically, people who write research proposals are experts in their respective fields, but most of them aren’t good writers.
Let’s start this guide with a simple question: What is a research proposal?
Research or thesis proposal is a scientific or academic dissertation used to propose a research project containing around 2500 worlds. These proposals are very important as they are usually used to ask for a budget for your research project from an individual or an institution. A research proposal is supposed to convince the funding body that the knowledge you’ll acquire using this method will be an important asset to the scientific community.
Regardless of the methodology and tools you use or the topic or objective of your research, your proposal should answer the following question: What is your objective and how and why you wish to accomplish it?
So how to write a research proposal and what should it contain?
When thinking of a title for your research proposal, make sure it is short. It should briefly explain the topic and content of your research. Think of something that is catchy and captures the attention of your supervisors, and try to make them interested in the topic. They should approach your dissertation eagerly.
The abstract is a short review of the project. It should include the reason for the study, research questions, methodology, and results you wish to obtain. The method includes the research design and any samples and tools that will be used. The length should be around 300 words.
The introduction should cover the context and background of your research problem. The framing of this problem is especially important as it should appear interesting and important.
There are no strict rules about presenting your research problem — it all depends on your creativity. Try to present the case in a way that is most likely to gain approval from your supervisors.
This section of the proposal should include the following:
- The purpose of the study
- Context and background
- Significance and rationale of the study
- Problems and issues covered by the study
- Key variables or phenomenon you study
- Hypothesis or theory you might have
- Determined boundaries of the research that will narrow down the research field
The Method section is very important for a simple reason — it tells the committee reviewing your proposal about the approach you will use to conduct your study. All you need to do is list your work plan and describe how you will conduct the project.
You need to decide whether your research will be qualitative or quantitative. Qualitative analysis is expressed through words and is used to show concepts, experiences, and thoughts.
Quantitative analysis is expressed in numbers, graphs, and tables and is used to confirm or test assumptions or theories. Think about which analysis type suits you better and then choose one or the other.
The next step is to show how you collected your datum — this depends on the research type. For quantitative research, you need to use content analysis, observational, and experimental research and survey, while qualitative research is done through case studies, focus groups, discourse analysis, and interviews of the participants.
It is required of you to show knowledge of alternative methods and explain why your approach is the best one for the study type you are doing. The Method section of your proposal should include enough information about the study for the reader to determine if it is appropriate and even for another researcher to recreate or implement the study in their future projects.
The following sections should be included in the Method section:
- The type of research design you’ve selected for your project
- A description of participants or samples used to collect the datum
- Tools and questionnaires used for data collection
- The description of the procedure
Since you are still in the proposal stage, you won’t have any conclusive results, which means you will need to describe your own predictions about the results you expect to obtain.
If you are applying for budget approval, you will need to provide a table of projected costs. This is done to justify the funding for the research.
If you are using literature for references, it is very important to provide the citation list for the sources you collected the data from.
Citation is important for several reasons:
- It shows the validity of your research project as you are basing it on something real.
- Gives credits to the authors of the literature you used.
- Referencing the sources protects you from being accused of plagiarism.
- Demonstrates your knowledge of the research problem and issues related to it.
- Shows how good you are at research and critical analysis of existing data.
- Convinces the reader that your research is an important asset to the scientific community.
Provide a list of issues and problems related to your research. This shows that you were thorough in your prior research and are open to discussion. Also, it might help you answer some of the questions during interviews later on.
Even though you now know how to write a research proposal, it is always a good idea to proofread and give your draft to someone knowledgeable in the field since feedback is extremely valuable.
Your professors and online professional writing services can be of great help. Proofreading and receiving feedback can help you gain valuable knowledge that will enable you to avoid mistakes in the process of writing a research proposal.