Research Proposal Tips

Published under Tips on writing On 22 Sep 2015

To graduate in your field of study, you must successfully write a research proposal ! To further your education, say to Ph.D. level, your admission application will most likely be attached to your research proposal! This is a very essential document! It may be intended to request for a research grant or sponsorship, or for academic purposes. The proposal should portray your competence to undertake the research. It should also have a work plan that proves that you will manage to complete the study in time and as per the expectations. If you are requesting for sponsorship to undertake a defined research project, the proposal must be well prepared to convince the sponsor that you have both the potential, and a research project that is worth the grant. Most importantly, a research proposal should clearly demonstrate that the project you intend to undertake is original and will contribute to knowledge in the field and context of the research study. By carefully following the guidelines below, you will be able to develop a competitive research proposal .

1. Title

It should be both informative and captivating. The title should also be brief and concise. It will either persuade or deter the reader from going through your research proposal. It will also instill in him or her either a positive or negative attitude towards your application. The title should not look obvious; remember your research topic should be original!

2. Abstract

Under this section, you should be explicit in stating the research gap you wish to address. It should be brief, say several sentences or not more than a hundred words. Take time to develop such a short, informative section!

3. Table of Contents

This section is not compulsory especially with very brief or short proposals. However, for a detailed research proposal, the table of contents, a list of figures and a list of tables are necessary. The three sections should follow in the order listed here, and their pages numbered with lower case Roman numbers.

4. Introduction/ Background Information

This section should contain the research context in which your research is based. Briefly give a description of the research field. This demonstrates that you are conversant with the area of study you intend to conduct your research. Recent debates on your research topic should also be included.

5. Literature Review

For a research proposal, this section can be combined with the previous introduction section. Remember that a research proposal should be brief. However, a review of literature can never be omitted in a research proposal. It should contain an overview of what other researchers have already done, that is directly related to your research topic. All the contributions of other researchers, used in the proposal must be cited. Be brief and precise!

The reviewed literature should automatically ‘coerce' you to indicate the existing research gap, that which you are up to fill!

6. Research Questions

These are also the objectives of the proposed research. The questions will describe how you intend to approach and cover the entire research topic.

7. Research Design/ Research Methods

Outline how you plan to conduct specific activities within set timelines. Some possible questions you should answer in this section are; which methods will use in data collection and analysis? What data sources are you expecting to consult and how reliable are they? Will you conduct interviews? Will you perform laboratory experiments? Which laboratories do you intend to use?

8. Research Significance and Expected Results

You should explain how your expected outcomes will contribute to knowledge. This will prove the importance of your research and why your application should be granted. Uphold confidence while convincing your reader the expected overall impact of the research you proposed.

9. References

All the in-text citations used in this proposal should be listed here using the recommended referencing styles.