Posted on: 10th Apr 2020

How to Write Research Proposal

The research proposal is a detailed and concise summary of the research. Students studying research subject in college at the time of writing the research proposal has certain questions. They have questions related to format, objective and elements of the research proposal. In this article our research paper writing expert for helping students is providing the complete guideline for writing a good proposal for research.

How to Write Research Proposal

Research Proposal

The research proposal is a document containing an idea about the way an investigation will be performed on a specific topic. It mainly outlines a procedure of beginning to the end of the research. You can utilize the research proposal for requesting investors for financing projects. The structure of the research proposal is dependent on the field for which you are performing research. But you should make sure that the research proposal consists of various elements such as :

  • Cover page
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Research design
  • Reference list

Based on the difference in fields, there could be changes in the way different chapters or section is a research paper is categorized. But the main aim of the research paper is always the same. In this article, we will develop an understanding of the basic research proposal.

Before gaining knowledge about How to write a research proposal, let’s first develop an understanding of the objective of the research proposal.

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Purpose of the research proposal

Academic people generally write a research proposal for seeking funds for their research projects. Students are often asked to write a proposal for their research. They have to write a research proposal for getting the approval for a research paper, dissertation or thesis. The most common purpose of all types of research proposals is to positively influence someone such as professors in an educational institution, financers for financing research projects, etc. The different aims of writing proposal for research are :

Relevance The main objective of writing the proposal is to influence the reader that your research project is original and crucial.
Context Another intention is to demonstrate that you have some knowledge about a particular field. The main aim is to demonstrate that you have an understanding of the present state of research.
Approach The key aim is to demonstrate that you have properly think about information, a methodology that you are using for performing an investigation.
Feasibility The main aim is to ensure that the research project is possible in the constraint of the program.

How long is Research Proposal?

The length of the research proposal is completely based on the type, of course, you are pursuing. For instance, if you are pursuing Masters or Bachelors then you need to write a proposal in a few pages for your thesis. You need to write a proposal in detail for the dissertation. If you are writing a proposal for funding then also you need to provide great detail about the research process.

You need to write a proposal before starting the research. The structure of the research proposal looks like a shorter version of the dissertation or thesis. But research proposal does not contain results and discussion section.

How to write a research proposal?

The 10 steps of writing a proposal for the research paper are:

Step1: Include a title page

Like in the dissertation or thesis, you need to first insert the title page. The title page of the research proposal should include the following :

  • Proposed title of the research
  • Name of researcher
  • Name of supervisor
  • Name of institution and department

Before proceeding further, you should review the guidelines. This technique will help you in determining the further requirement of formatting a research proposal.

Step 2: Write an abstract and include a table of contents

If in case you are writing a lengthy proposal for your dissertation then you need to write an abstract and table of contents for helping the reader in navigating a document.

Step 3: write an introduction

It is an initial part of the research proposal. In this section of the proposal for research, you need to clearly define what you intend to achieve and provide the reason for the same. At the beginning of the introduction you need to provide the overview and background information about the topic. You also need to write a problem statement and draft research questions. Before writing an introduction in research proposal you need to consider the following such as:

  • Who has an interest in the topic ?
  • The information which you already have about the topic?
  • Gap in knowledge
  • What new aspects of the issue you can address by performing investigation
  • Why performing research on a particular topic is crucial?

In case your proposal of research is lengthy then you can include a separate section for providing background information. When writing the introductory part in the research proposal you should also clearly state the significance of the study, aims, and objectives, research questions, etc.

Step 4: Review of literature

At the time of writing a research proposal you must demonstrate that you know about the topic on which you are performing an investigation. You should write a strong literature review as this will help you in convincing readers that the research project has a strong foundation in existing knowledge. It will also help you in demonstrating that you are not repeating the activities which are already being performed by other researchers.

In the introduction section of a proposal for research, you just need to represent how investigation performs on a specific topic will contribute to the development of a specific field.

  • Comparing and contrasting: you need to highlight the important theories, methodologies, and debates.
  • Be critical: You should clearly state the strength and weaknesses of different theories.
  • Demonstrate how your research fits in: How you built on the challenge and synthesize the work of others.

If in case you do not confirm where to start then you can read our article on How to write a literature review.

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Step 5: Research design and methodology

Before start writing the methodology section of your research proposal, it is very much important for you to restate your objectives. In the research design and methodology section of the research proposal, you need to provide a description of techniques, procedure, and design which you will utilize for performing research or answering research questions. Methodology section in the research proposal include the following:

Type of research Will you do Qualitative or Quantitative research?

Would you gather original information or work with primary or secondary sources?

Which research design you will use descriptive, experiment or correlation.

Sources Exactly what or who will you study

How you will select subjects or sources?

When or from where you will collect information?

Research methods What tools and processes will utilize?

Which technique you will utilise for collecting and analyzing data?

Why these are the best techniques for answering research questions?

Research Practicalities How much time you will use for the collection of information?

How you will gain access to participants and sources?


When writing a proposal for research you should include a list of methodologies. While writing the research methodology section you should include an argument for stating why it is the most appropriate, reliable and valid approach of answering research questions.

Step 6: Prove Implication and contribution of knowledge

At the end of your research proposal you can write potential implications of research for theory. At this step, you still need to focus on the aim of your research. You should demonstrate how your knowledge can contribute to existing knowledge on a specific topic. For instance, Your research results may have certain implications such as:

  • It might help in improving procedures in a particular location
  • Inform policy objectives
  • Strengthen a theory
  • Challenge scientific assumption
  • Develop a foundation for further researches

Step 7: Reference list

This is the last step of the research proposal you just need to do citations for every source you are using. It is very much important to provide complete publication detail in your reference list. You can utilize the APA citation generator for creating a citation quickly and easily. In some cases, you might need to include the bibliography. You should include only relevant sources. Your main aim of writing a literature review section is research proposal should be to demonstrate the complete range of literature for supporting research paper.

Step 8: Present research schedule

At this step, you need to present the schedule. Here, you need to prepare and present the proper timeline for your research project. It is very much essential for you to provide what exactly you want to do at each step. You should also mention the duration of each activity. Before preparing and presenting the research schedule you need to review the guidelines for checking the requirements.

Research schedule: example

In few cases, you may have to provide detail timeline for research project. You provide explanation of exactly what you will do at each phase and how length it will take. It will check the requirements of your program.

Research Stage Objectives Deadline
Background of research and literature review · Meeting with supervisor

· Execution of more extensive review

· Refining the research questions

· Developing a theoretical framework

Research design planning Designing of questionnaire

Identification of online and offline channel for recruiting participants

Finalizing sampling technique and data analysis technique

Data collection and preparation Recruitment of participants and sending a questionnaire

Execution of semi-structured with selected participants


Transcribing and coding interviews and cleaning survey data.

Analysis of data Statistically analyzing the survey data.

Execution of thematic analysis of interview transcripts

Drafting the outcomes and discussion chapter

Writing Completing a full thesis draft

Meeting with supervisor to discuss feedback and revisions

Revision Redrafting based on feedback

Getting supervisor approval for the draft


Printing, binding and submitting

Step 9: Design Budget

If you are making an application for research funding, you detail budget which demonstrates how much every part of the research project will cost. You must ensure to check the type of costs the funding body will agree to cover and include relevant items in the budget. Each item, include:

  • Cost: It exactly How much money do you need?
  • Justification: Why is this cost necessary to complete the investigation?
  • Source: How you will compute the amount?

At the time of preparing the budget you need to consider the different types of costs such as travel expenses, material costs, assistance and time.

Step10. Revision and proofreading

In the context of academic writing, it is very much important for you to draft and proofread the proposal which you have created for your research. By submitting the draft of the proposal you can obtain the feedback from your tutor.


It has been concluded from the above that writing a good research proposal is very much essential to accomplish the desired objective. Another fact which has been discovered is that by including the implications and contribution of knowledge you can easily convince investors for funding your project.

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Author Bio:

Angela Wong

Hi Guys, Happy to help you in research paper writing. I am post graduate from SUSS and now involved in providing assistance to Singapore students for making research projects during masters and Phd scholars. You can consult me for marketing, management, finance, accounting or any kind of research paper writing query