How to Write a Research Proposal?
Undoubtedly, before writing this important work, one needs to know what is a research proposal. Research proposals are the academic papers that are usually written before the work on the lengthy research papers with the aim to identify what the further research paper will address, as well as which timeline the researcher is going to follow. The exact requirements and format of every research proposal may vary depending on the type of research, as well as the specific guidelines of the institution you are going to submit your proposal to. However, the basic requirements for writing a research proposal are the same – the author should focus on some relevant problems in a particular discipline, analyze it from different perspectives with the help of in-depth research and other methods, and present their findings in a well-structured proposal.
How to Prepare a Research Proposal?
- Define a good title for your proposal. Yes, it greatly depends on the topic of further research but can differ a bit. It should be concise and descriptive to provide your readers with a basic understanding of the problem you discuss.
- Create a title page. Apart from the full topic of your research, a title page should include your name, the name of your instructor, and the name of the educational institution. The formatting style should be specified in your instruction. If it is not, you may choose the APA format.
- The title page is always followed by the abstract in which the author summarizes the lengthy work and its main findings in a short paragraph. The abstract should also include the objectives of the study and proposal solution. The length of the abstract is usually between 150 and 250 words and depends on the length of the whole proposal. Finally, list the six-seven keywords at the end of your abstract. Selecting the appropriate keywords will ensure that your paper will be found by popular search engines.
- If you are writing a brief proposal, you should write an introduction right after an abstract. However, if your proposal is rather lengthy, we recommend you to write a table of contents to make your paper easy-to-navigate. In your table of contents, list the key chapters of your proposal with the corresponding numbers of pages and it will help your reader find the necessary data without any problems.
- Then, move to your introduction. The primary purpose of the introduction is to identify the topic of the proposal, point out its relevance, and provide background information. In particular, you need to indicate a statement of the problem and the purpose of research, which should help the audience understand your goals clearly. If your paper contains some unknown concepts or terms, make sure to explain them. Finally, the introduction of your research proposal should include a research hypothesis – a controversial idea that will be proved throughout the whole proposal.
- To contextualize your research, you need to provide a good literature review section. Make sure to pick up the relevant and credible sources that contain accurate data about your topic. In this section, you need to show to your reader that you are aware of the key findings of other researchers about your topic, thus, you find it reasonable to develop this topic further. So, do not hesitate to give credit to other scholars, evaluate and synthesize their work, and explain in which way your research is different. However, do not turn this section into a summary of the works, as you need to evaluate the material critically, compare these works, and find out the essential differences in these approaches.
- The next section is called “methodology” and explains what methods will be used in research. When working on your methodology, you need to explain whether your research is qualitative or quantitative. No matter if your methods were effective or ineffective, you need to discuss all of them. Try to be realistic about what you want to accomplish in your research proposal and pick up the methods that will help you reach your goals.
- The following part should present your project itself. Explain why did you decide to work on this project. What is the relevance of this project and how it can be helpful to people or companies? How do you define your role in the development of this project? In other words, to bring you the best outcome, your research proposal should be as detailed as possible.
- In your conclusion, do not forget to restate your hypothesis and address the key points presented in your research proposal. Keep in mind that your research proposal is not the place for presenting new information. It is just the final touch that should persuade the grant committee that your proposal is worth attention.
- When you want to write a research proposal for a grant, you need to identify the budget that will define the anticipated cost for everything you may need including the materials, instruments, salaries, travel costs, additional costs, etc. Usually, the budgets of the projects are written in the form of a table to enable the committee to find the necessary information easily. When presenting the budget, you need to justify it step-by-step explaining why do you need this money.
- The main thing you should know about the budget section of your proposal is that you should ask for the exact sum of money you need. Some people underestimate the importance of calculating the right budget for their projects ignoring the fact that a lot of programs provide their grants with a certain monetary value. It is essentially important to get the right sum of money because getting less than you need, you will be unable to work on your project and all your efforts will be in vain. It is unlikely that you will be able to obtain money from this funding agency in the nearest future, so use your chance and try to do everything well.
- Finally, list your references. In this section, you need to present all references that were used in your paper in alphabetical order. We highly recommend you to follow the requirements and if your instruction says you need to work with thirty references, follow it. Each source you use for writing your research proposal should be carefully cited in accordance with the formatting style requested. As such, if you are writing your proposal in APA, make sure to format your citations per this formatting style.
- Identify the personnel. In this section of your research proposal, you need to provide brief information about the main contributors to your research. Please, note that when it comes to producing short proposals, this section is not required.
- Curriculum Vitae (CV). It is not a secret that many funding agencies ask the applicants to present their CVs to understand better the personalities of the investigators. Curriculum vitae is an academic form of a resume. This document aims to provide the funding committee about the previous experiences and accomplishments of the applicant, as well as his/her expertise, research productivity, and education. Try not to embellish your accomplishments and always keep in mind your purpose.
- If you have some secondary information to add, make sure to include it in the appendix section. For instance, if you are collaborating with another investigator, it would be great if you could include his/her letter confirming your collaboration.
Writing a research proposal may take several months. We highly recommend you to recognize its importance and not to wait until the last few days to work on the proposal. When it comes to creating a research proposal, too much is at stake – your project, your future, and of course, your reputation. We recommend you treat this assignment very seriously since by writing a good example of a research proposal you make a serious investment in your future. Thus, you have to dedicate enough attention to the prewriting stage gathering credible sources and picking accurate data. If you would like to read the copies of the successfully presented research proposals, do not hesitate to ask your supervisor for that. No doubt, learning from the great examples, you will be able to increase your competency and enhance your writing and research skills. In particular, you will see how such an important paper should be structured and formatted to reach the expected outcome.
Before you start your writing process, map out your project. Having a map of all stages you are going to accomplish, you will stay focused and result-oriented.
When your research proposal is written, read it and re-read several times to make sure it contains no mistakes and logical inconsistencies. It would be great if you could find a professional proofreader, who would polish your proposal until perfection. Having an objective analysis of your work, you will be able to fix the controversial parts and improve the overall project`s quality.
If you did not receive funding, make sure to ask for feedback. Do not take the failure personally but try to turn it into the lesson that will help you grow into a skilled proposal writer. Remember that only practice makes perfect. After all, perseverance and dedication will definitely help you reach the desired goals!
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