A research proposal is written in order to give an overview of the planned research in scientific or academic fields. It has the same objective in both cases – to include details of the project, but it can have different structure across different areas. It is designed to inform the interested parties about what to expect from the research. In academic circles, the research proposal is written to get admission to a PhD or other similar degrees.
What does a research proposal include?
What do you want to do and why?
Without any doubt, every research begins with a goal in mind. These goals include solving issues faced by communities, contributing to science, etc. The researcher needs to justify why it is essential to carry out the proposed research and how it can affect the issue. A clear, detailed research proposal is a critical factor in getting the project green-lighted by the individuals, companies, organizations or academic institutions that fund the project. In other words, the proposal should convince them. Bringing examples to similar projects and proposing why yours will be different and more effective than the others are helping factors in their decision-making.
How do you plan to conduct the research?
This part of the proposal includes information about the research design, such as the theories about the topic, what data collection methods and techniques the researcher intends to use, data analysis, report and potential distribution channels. All these details should be logical and carefully thought.
Time and resources needed
Although it is not always possible to predict the time and money the research project will require, it is a good idea to give information about the estimated time and resources it requires. Of course, the numbers should be logical and reflect reality as much as possible. The researcher should state why it takes that much time and money and if there are potential extra costs.
In academic fields, students write a research proposal for their dissertation topic. The length of the proposal varies depending on why it is written. For instance, it can be for a master’s or PhD dissertation. In the second case, the proposal is usually longer and includes more details. All the proposal papers should include the research topic name, student’s name, tutor’s name, department name and other relevant information on the title page. Longer papers usually include a table of contents so readers can easily navigate through it. The next parts are the introduction and body, where students talk about why they chose the topic, what it can bring to a specific field, information sources, literature the students will use, etc.
Common mistakes while writing research proposals
- The research project should have a clear objective and should not deviate from it. It should demonstrate the target clearly. Some researchers highlight minor issues/details rather than key factors.
- It should be well-written, grammatically correct, especially if it is a thesis or dissertation proposal. Proofreading is important, for that matter. Writing and sending it without editing and proofreading can be a deciding factor in its rejection, no matter how convincing the details are.
- It should show that the researcher is really interested in the topic. If the researcher is not able to show it with the proposal paper, there is little chance it will be accepted.