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How to Write a Research Proposal – [Steps & Components]

Student's Assignment Help August 31, 2019 286 Views

Definition of a research proposal:

Research proposals are the documents crafted by the scientists or students as an assignment which is written with the aim to give the description of the information from research on any particular topic. A research proposal is the complete process of an assignment from starting to the conclusion.

They are used for any or all of the following:

  • A compulsory project to be completed at the starting of college academics.
  • Certification for conducting any particular aspects of the research.
  • Apply for financing for the assignment.

It is the brief and lucid summary of the research work done by any individual. The research proposal is written focussing on the main idea of your research work.

Your research proposal should contain the following;

  • Outline of the main focus or your research work.
  • Your recent knowledge about the topic.
  • Any latest debates performed on the topic.
  • Explain the reality of your research.

The research proposal is also written to show your ability for doing the postgraduate level research. It is also an opportunity for you to show that you can solve the most critical questions precisely and accurately.

With the help of the research proposal, you can also match up your research interest with a reliable administrator. While submitting your application, your research proposal is the major aspect which helps the administrator to decide whether they should support your research or not.

The key ideas that are addressed in the research proposal are:

  • Which research question you are addressing and how you will address them?
  • What amount of time and expense, you will need to complete your research?
  • Are there any previous researches accomplished on the topic?
  • How can you assess the outcomes of the research?
  • What are the benefits of particular research on the sponsoring organization and other parties?

The main purpose or significance of a research proposal:

The purpose of academics to write a research proposal is to get funds for their project. Whereas the purpose of students to write a research proposal is to gain approval for your college theses or dissertation project.

The main purpose of doing any form of a research proposal is to convince someone, either to get funds from the funding body or to convince your institute or administrator about the worthiness of your project.

The purpose of the research proposal include:

  • Achievability: Confirming the feasibility or achievability of your project.
  • Approach: Prepare a case containing the approach you have adopted to conduct your research work. And you have carefully selected all the tools that are required for your project.
  • Context: To depict your familiarity with your subject area of research. You are aware of the ongoing aspect of the research and your ideas contain a strong viewpoint.
  • Consequence: To make the reader feel that the research work you are doing is fascinating, significant and real.

The length of the research proposal:

How long your research proposal would be, changes depending on certain aspects. If you are doing a research proposal for your bachelor’s or master’s degree program, its length would be of a few pages.

Whereas if you are doing a research proposal with the purpose of research funding and PhD dissertation, it would be written very lengthy and with detailed information.

write a research proposal just before starts doing your research work.

14 Steps to writing a research proposal:

The structure and requirements to write a research proposal may vary depending on the institute or you need from that.

here are common steps to follow to write a research proposal:

Steps Explained with Components of a research proposal:

  • Step 1- Choose a suitable title for your research proposal:  You can choose the title of your research proposal on the basis of your research. But it should be brief and explanatory. Your title should give the overall knowledge to the reader about what they will see in your proposal and is it fascinating for them or not.

Always pick a precise and informative title for your research work. Always try to avoid the use of phrases such as “A Review of the…”, “An investigation of” etc.

  • Step 2- Prepare a title page: The title page of your research proposal should contain the following information:
  1. Title of the research proposal.
  2. The institute you are adjourned with.
  3. Your name

The format for the title page is normally specified by the sponsoring agency. If not, you should use the APA style.

  • It is recommended to put a running head in the left corner of the top of the page.  And it should be displayed on each of the pages of the document by using an acronym version of the title.
  • The page number should be displayed in the right corner of the top of the page. It is necessary to display the page number on each and every page of your research proposal.
  • The complete title of your research proposal should be centre-aligned roughly 1/3 of the way down the page.
  • The title should be double spaced and mention your name just beneath the title.
  • Mention the name of the institution beneath your name. sometimes you can also add the contact information.
  • Step 3- Make a summary of your abstract proposal:  The abstract is a summary of the problem you have discussed in the research proposal.

In the abstract, apart from the projected funding requirements, you should also include the solution for your problem and purpose of your research proposal.

  • The word abstract should be written at the top of the page and centre-aligned.
  • The information for the abstract should be written just beneath the word abstract.
  • There is no need to indent the paragraph.
  • The abstract should be 150 to 200 words lengthy.
  • Step 4- Prepare a list of the keywords that will be used in your proposal:  Select 4 to 5 keywords focusing on the main idea of your research. It should the overall idea of your topic. The keywords refer to the phrases that are being put by many people in Google with the aim of searching.

Putting the right keywords can increase the probability that the reader will get your paper while searching and take benefit from it. You can use the keyword either of a single word or of the phrases containing 2 to 4 words.

  • Step 5- Add the table of contents: When you are writing a longer research proposal, you should incorporate a table of contents on the third page. The table of contents comprises of each and every important sections of your assignment.

But in case of short research proposals, there is hardly any need to include the page for a table of contents. Including a table of contents also depends on your institute and the type of research work you are engaged in.

While writing lengthy research proposals, there is also a need to include the list of tables, figures, illustrations, etc. In the table of contents, including all the important parts and divisions of your research proposal.

  • Step 6- Prepare an introductory paragraph: The introductory paragraph should contain the following sections:
  1. Background and importance
  2. Importance of research
  3. The goal of the research
  4. A statement containing the problem

Before jumping to the introduction of your research proposal, again write the statement related to your research problem or title. Write a quick note about whatever you are going to discuss and also define the theory on the basis of your proposed research.

Before writing the detailed description of your problem, include a statement related to the problem. This portion of the introduction should carry answer of certain questions such as what is the need to conduct this research and new issues which can arise from this research?

The heading of the introductory paragraph should be “Purpose of study”. After writing the paragraph for the introduction, write the importance of research in the below paragraph. Write the answers for depicting the importance of your research and identify the type of research or analysis proposed.

  • Step 7- Include background information in the introduction: Recognize your problem related to the research and illustrate what is the need to continue the work.

You can also break this section into many if required. Give a heading ‘research question’ or ‘research hypothesis’ and give a description to relate different variables of your research. This step is necessary to identify your research problem.

Now give a heading definition of terms and describe the main ideas used in the research proposal. Also, write the evidence in the support of your competence and expertise in the particular field.

  • Step 8- Include a literature review section in order to conceptualize your research: In the literature review portion of your research proposal, provide knowledge to the readers about your present and past research awareness related to the topic.

And your further research will only add up to this. It should not be written as a summary or a list but it should be written in the form of a described story to increase the reader’s knowledge.

  • Step 9- Provide a description of the proposed research: This portion of your research proposal acts as the heart or the main idea and should contain all the information related to your research methodology. ‘Methodology’ can be taken as the title of this section. Completely describe your proposed methodology.

The explanation should be dedicated to the experts of the particular subject area but not to the laymen. What information you need to include in this section is totally depends on the type of research you are doing (qualitative or quantitative).

This section can be further divided into subsections and that is:

  1. Data gathering and estimation procedures.
  2. Instrumentation
  3. Research design
  4. Protection of human rights (if any information your research proposal contains for the protection of human rights)
  5. Applicability
  6. Reliability
  7. Neutrality
  8. Rigour

To show the flexibility of your approach to handle the research question, you can also explain your knowledge related to other approaches to solve the question.

Don’t feel hesitated and stay clear to describe hope from the particular research proposal. Explain every single fact related to your research.

Also, write the description of the detailed schedule consumed in your research work and all the information needed to accomplish it. If needed, add the information related to target readers and the size of the sample.

  • Step 10- Provide a description of the significant institutional resources:  I the aim of your research is related to the institutional background, write a section by giving the heading ‘explanation of relevant Institutional resources’ to explain what can be offered by your institution. This section should contain information such as
  1. Past proficiency of the institute
  2. Contribution of the research in the particular subject area,
  3. The supportive services of the institute.
  4. The facilities are given by the Institute for the research.
  • Step 11- List the references:  You should add a separate page for describing the references and give its title as “References”. This section is dedicated to the research hypothesis.
  • Step 12- Recognition of the personnel:  This section of the research proposal consists of all the biographical information related to the major contributors towards the research. It is not necessary to include this section in the shorter research proposals. Give a brief to the specialty and responsibilities of each and every contributor.
  • Step 13- If required, include the appendices: This section is commonly used in many forms of research proposals. It contains the documents in support of the research proposal to let it understood by the readers clearly.

You’ll often refer to your appendices throughout the proposal, giving readers a chance to flip to them and read them over.

  • Step 14- Estimate your budget:  Mention the estimated cost for your project that you need from the different funding source. Also, mention the items to be paid. You need to include explanatory information with each cost.

Constructing a Sample timeline for research proposal:

  • Consume months of time to complete your research proposal: It needs up to six months of time to accomplish a research proposal. So don’t wait too long to work for your research proposal.
  • Prewrite during phase (la): The perfect time to accomplish this section is before 14 to 26 weeks of the deadline.
  1. As 26 weeks are left, review administrative requirements for the foundations and organizations you plan to submit your proposal to. Verify for the date of submission and need for the submission to avoid mistakes.
  2. As 23 to 25 weeks are left, create a preliminary statement consisting of 1 or 2 pages, with the aim to define your proposed research.
  3. In case you are working with an advisor or colleagues, the brief version of proposal should be presented at the 23rd If you get any feedback related to the research, invest 22nd week to work on that.
  4. As 21 weeks are left, invest the time to accomplish research about the background, history, and context for your research.
  5. As 19 weeks are left, craft a document consisting of 2 or 3 pages to discover the questions and possible procedural approaches.
  6. As 17 weeks are left, connect with the experts of the particular subject area to understand the possibility and significance of each and every potential research methodology.
  7. During week 16, provide the continuity with your research and during week 14, improve your research question.
  • Conduct early administrative tasks in-phase (lb):  It is needed to complete this section of the research proposal between 13 to 20 weeks prior to the date of submission.
  1. As 20 weeks are left, search for the significant information sources that might be organizations, archives, experts etc and contact them.
  2. During the 18 weeks, start the research process for the requirements of your budget. And accomplish the protocol process when 14 weeks are left.
  3. As 13 weeks are left, ask for any relevant transcripts.
  • Stay focused on your writing and administration in-phase (ii):  This section of the research proposal needs to be accomplished before the 8 to 13 weeks of the date of submission.
  1. As 13 weeks are left, craft a document containing 5 pages that consist of the design and framework of the proposed research and its research question.
  2. As 12 weeks are left, collect all the extra information required to finish the draft.
  3. Again contact with the organizations and the collaborators. And recognize the one which is more useful for your research.
  4. Include all the additional information required to finish your draft. This should be accomplished between 10 to 12 weeks left for the date of submission.
  5. When the 9 weeks of time is left, contact with your advisor or colleagues to get more feedback.
  6. During the 8 weeks, modify your draft. Prepare an estimated budget and request the advisors to write a recommendation letter for them.
  • Editing and submitting the proposal during phase ii: This section of the research proposal should be started before 5 weeks left for the date of submission.
  1. During this time, review all the requirements given for your research proposal and revise in case any of the requirement is not meeting in the proposal.
  2. Take rest for the duration when 4 weeks are left.
  3. When the 3 weeks of time is left, remind your advisor about the letter of recommendation.
  4. When 2 weeks of time is left, gather all your material, review the proposal and complete your research proposal.
  5. When 10 days are left for the date of submission, ask your colleagues to help for the copy and edit of your document.
  6. Take out the print of the final copy and gather all the materials before 3 to 4 days of the date of submission.
  7. It will be good if you submit the research proposal before 2 to 3 days of the date of submission.

Constructing the Title page of the research proposal:

The research proposal also contains the title page, just as your theses or dissertation.

The title page of the research proposal contains the following information:

  • The projected title of your research proposal.
  • Your name
  • Name of the supervisor who is supervising you.
  • Name of institution or department.

Verify with the funding department if there required any particular formatting requirements for your research proposal.

In the case of writing a lengthy research proposal, also mention an abstract and table of contents so that the readers can navigate easily throughout the research proposal document.

Suitable Introduction of research proposal:

The introduction is always the beginning paragraph of any assignment writing. So here as well. Your introduction for research proposal should contain what will you get and why you want to do this research proposal.

The best introduction should contain the following information:

  • Write the introduction of the topic.
  • Write about the background information and context of the topic.
  • Prepare an outline of the problem statement and research question.

Few questions to keep in mind while structuring a perfect introduction:

  • What is the worthiness of this research?
  • The new aspects and contribution of your research.
  • Is there anything missing from your latest knowledge?
  • What are the already known facts about the problem?
  • What type of readers has an interest in the topic?

In the case of writing a lengthy research proposal, you can add more sections containing more explanatory information.

Importance of Literature review in writing a research proposal:

It is necessary to show your awareness for all the relevant research for the topic. A perfect literature review should have the power to convince readers that your assignment matches up with active knowledge and theory. It should also depict that you are not simply copying other people, but following your own thoughts and knowledge.

This section mainly contains your contribution to the particular field:

  • Comparing and contrasting the controversies, debates, methods, and main theories?
  • The strengths and weaknesses of various approaches used in the method.
  • Show how your research fits in: how will you build on, challenge, or synthesize the work of others?

Research design and methods:

It is very beneficial to restate the main objectives of your proposal here to bring reverse the focus into your own project. This portion should contain all the necessary methodologies and steps to provide answers to your research questions.

The essential methodologies to write a research proposal:

  • What is the research type?
  1. Your focus for the research type is qualitative or quantitative?
  2. Do you use the primary source or secondary source for the gathering of original data?
  3. Your focus in terms of research design, experimental, co relational or descriptive?
  • What are the sources used?
  1. What or who is the focus of your study?
  2. How you are going to pick up sources or subjects?
  3. From where and when will you gather the data?
  • What are the methods used?
  1. What are the tools and procedures you are going to use in this research proposal?
  2. What makes the methods best to answer your research questions?
  • What are the practicalities used in your research?
  1. The amount of time required to gather data?
  2. How will you gain access to participants and sources?
  3. If you encounter any potential obstacle, how you will solve them?

Implications and contribution to knowledge:

To complete the research proposal on a challenging way, it is necessary to focus on practical implications and contribution to knowledge and that may be;

  • Improvement of processes in a particular place or field.
  • Information on policy objectives.
  • To strengthen the theory or model.
  • To challenge the on-demand and latest assumptions.
  • To create a foundation for further future research.

Reference list or bibliography:

The research proposal should also contain an appropriate citation for each and every source you used to complete your research work.

also, you should include complete publication details in your reference list. Sometimes the mentors also might ask the student to include a bibliography in the research proposal.

The bibliography is the list of prepared by including all the sources you have used to complete your research proposal. The main purpose of writing a bibliography is to showcase the complete list of literature that you used in support of your research project.

Research schedule:

Sometimes, your project might need a complete schedule of your project to explain the time consumed at each stage and what you contributed at each. Here check again with your requirements to complete the proposal. Here you need to include the time taken by you to complete each step.

Budget:

You also need to include the complete budget or your project in case you are doing it with the purpose of research funding. You need to describe how much each part of your proposal cost:

First, make sure that to include only the important items in your budget and the one that your funding body will agree to pay.

You should include the following for each item:

  • Cost: The amount of money you need to for the particular item.
  • Justification: what is the necessity of this item in your research project?
  • Source: how you calculated the amount?

Also consider the following things, to estimate your budget:

  • Time: Is there a need for an extra amount of time and need to take off from regular work or duties?
  • Assistance: is there any requirement to hire the research assistants for the research proposal to complete?
  • Materials: is there any requirement to get access to new tools and technologies.
  • Travel costs: Is there any need to visit any particular location to gather data? How can you reach there? The time needed to spend there? And how will you collect the data?

Revisions and proofreading:

The proofreading and editing of any document are very necessary before submitting to make your academic work free of flaws. To get rid of any flaws, you should stay careful about the grammar, spelling etc while writing the research proposal.

You can also ask your mentor or colleague for the feedback, if possible, that will be really helpful. Proofreading is a very important part of any assignment writing.

Conclusion:

We have gone through every important aspect of writing a research proposal. It is very important for students when it comes to writing an assignment, also it is essential for scientists and other professionals to write the research proposal to get funding for their research work.

We have tried the best to clear all the doubts of students when it comes to crafting a perfect research proposal.

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